Win over play-off rivals delights PNE boss

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson hailed his side's performance as they saw off fifth-place Reading at Deepdale.

Saturday, 11th March 2017, 5:03 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:11 am
Daryl Horgan scores PNE's second goal

Two goals from Tom Barkhuizen either side of Daryl Horgan finding the net, gave the Lilywhites a well-deserved victory over Jaap Stam's outfit.

Grayson said: "When you beat a side in the play-off positions by three goals, keep a clean sheet with some very good individual performances, it makes for a good afternoon.

"I'm really pleased with the team, we had to dig deep at times because Reading are a team who will try and dominate possession - we had to be patient.

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Preston skipper Tom Clarke challanges Reading's Garath McCleary

"We did feel we would get chances with the players we have in the team when we were breaking forward against them."

Reading were strong early on but North End kept their shape and fought their way into the game.

Barhuizen scored with a wonderful shot from the edge of the box in the 31st minute, a lead which Horgan doubled before the interval after Barkhuizen had run from deep inside his own half to set him up.

The third goal came four minutes into the second half, Barkhuizen flicking home a knock down from Andy Boyle.

Preston skipper Tom Clarke challanges Reading's Garath McCleary

Grayson said: "Reading are a good team with good players, they play a style of football where they will have large spells with the ball.

"We went to press them in the right areas and made sure we didn't get picked off by going in the wrong areas, sometimes that is a difficult balance to get but we found it.

"The first goal in any game is big one and it was a great goal by Tommy to set us on our way.

"From then we really kept going at the speed we wanted to play at.

"There was some good finishing for the goals but if I was being a little bit critical, there were lots of other chances we didn't take.

"But I can't complain about the quality of performance, there were some really good individual performances going forward and the lads at the back kept a clean sheet, they dug deep and were unsung heroes.

"When you look at our attacking force, they are a real handful when right at it."

Victory completed a busy week, it coming on the back of trips to Fulham and Derby.

"Fulham was always going to be a hard game - you saw what they did at Newcastle today - and Derby felt like a win when we scored in the last minute to equalise.

"We felt today was a good opportunity, we have had a strong home record recently, players enjoy playing here and the crowd enjoy watching the players do what they do.

"It had all the ingredients of a good game which it turned out to be."