A brace from Tom Barkhuizen on his full home debut and another from Daryl Horgan saw the Lilywhites thrash Jaap Stam’s side in a game that could have in reality ended a cricket score.
And after the game when the gaffer spoke to PNE PlayerHD he felt his transfer window recruit from Morecambe was taking the opportunity given to him with both hands after four goals and an assist in his first three starts for the club.
“Everyone realises what Tom is capable of doing,” said Simon. “We are delighted how he has settled in with the team and how hard he has worked. He has earned his right to get a start and he has taken his opportunity.
“To get the goals he has got so far are a bonus, because it is all about the other stuff that he is doing as well. He is keeping everyone else on their toes and that is good from a squad perspective.
“Let’s hope he continues like that. He has realised he has been given an opportunity at a Championship club; he has waited for his opportunity, worked hard and taken his chance when it has come along and it is brilliant from his point of view.”
The display against the Berkshire side was top drawer from Grayson’s men, so it was no surprise that he was happy with what he had seen.
“When you beat a team that have been in the Play-Offs for a long time and beat them quite comfortably you can be really pleased; but I am also really happy with how we played, both collectively and individually, because that was a tough game for us,” he continued.
“They are one of the best teams in the division in terms of the possession they keep and they ask questions of you all the time, but we did what was needed to win the game today. Defensively we were very solid and on the attacking front we looked very good every time we went forward.
“They play a style of football when you have to be patient. You can press them at times and you can drop at the right times, but you can’t do that all the time because you are the home team and the emphasis is on you to take the game to them. The first game in any game is crucial and it was a great goal to get us going and we got a second, but the best goal from our point of view was the third one, because it really gave us a cushion.
“The third goal in any game can be crucial and today it deflated them and gave us a lot of belief and confidence to go and win the game – the only critical thing is we could have gone and scored a lot more goals than the ones we did.”
Whilst the No.29 and his fellow forwards will get the headlines and the plaudits, the defensive unit were in magnificent form as well and the PNE chief reversed praise for the back four.
“Defensively we were excellent today and when we went forward we looked a major threat.
“Tom Clarke has been superb ever since he has been at the club. If you ask him to play at right back he will do it and if you asked him to play in goal he would probably do it too! It allows me the opportunity to keep a solid back four.
“I thought Andy Boyle settled in very quickly and the defensive unit were unsung heroes today because they allowed the boys in front of them to go and express themselves, knowing they have some warriors behind them,” he added.
To watch the full interview with the manager and to hear from man of the moment Tom Barkhuizen, just click here now to log onto PNE PlayerHD.