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Grayson: Disappointing To Take

16 March 2013

North End manager Simon Grayson was full of praise for his players despite suffering his first defeat, thanks to a debatable penalty.

With the game destined to finish goalless, Brentford were handed the three points in the final minute of injury time, when John Mousinho was adjudged to have brought down Sam Saunders who then converted from the spot.

Speaking about the incident after the match, the gaffer said: “It is hard for me to comment because I have not seen it again on the TV screens or anything like that, but it looked a real soft penalty.

“I think over the course of the game one or two of the Brentford players were going down quite easily; one player had already been booked for diving already and one or two others had gone down really well.

“I am not quite sure if we would have got it down the other end so obviously it is very disappointing that we have lost the game in that manner, because I though in the second half we were the dominant team without really threatening in the final third.

“We played well in the middle third, so it is obviously very disappointing to lose to such a soft penalty like that.

“He just said [the referee] that two of our players came together with one of their players and he went down.

“John Mousinho said that they came together, but he got the ball first and it fell to somebody else and they cleared it, so, as I said, I am not quite sure if we would have got it at the other end. 

“Our players weren’t going down as easily as that so it is disappointing to take.”

Despite the cruel defeat, there were plenty of positives for the Lilywhites to take from the match, especially in the second period, when they dominated for long spells, attacking the magnificent Gentry following.

“I thought that we defended well,” added Simon.

“The shape of the team was good, they put a lot of balls into the box, a lot of set pieces and I thought that was probably the only way that they were going to score.

“In the second half we altered the shape of the team and matched them up with three in the middle of the park and we dominated for large parts of that without, as I said, really threatening, but saying that, in the first half Jack King has had one or two opportunities, so I think we can be pleased with how well we worked against a team that is up at the top of the division looking to get promoted.

“It was difficult because when you saw what we did last week at times against Stevenage at home it was a better surface.

“It is not easy to go out there, it was a real heavy and bobbly pitch, so when you get into that final third you want to be quick and incisive with passing and movement, but players are having to take that extra couple of seconds because of how difficult the pitch is and that has probably affected us just a little bit but it is the same for both teams.

“I think the players can be happy with the performance, we are just disappointed with the result.

“We said to the players you can be happy with your performances and how we controlled parts of the game.

“The result is the only sort of negative on today for us.”

Declan Rudd was called into action several times during the contest, making some crucial saves to show exactly why he is rated so highly.

“He is a good goalkeeper and Norwich think a lot of him and when you come to teams like this you have to make sure that he is brave and he made some good saves,” added Grayson.

“Everything he has done so far for myself, he has done really well so he is only going to get better.”

North End will need to assess the fitness of captain John Welsh over the coming days, after he was forced from the pitch in the first-half with a foot injury.

This allowed Mousinho to get more minutes under his belt as he continues to work his way back into the first team, with Keith Keane another who got the entire second half in a midfield role to show what he can do.

Speaking of Welsh’s injury and the substitutions, Grayson said: “He has took a bang on his foot again so he has got a boot on his foot at this moment in time and on crutches, so we’ll see where we are with him for next weekend now.

“We needed a bit of legs in there and we have had a busy week as well with the game that we have had, so we just needed to freshen up and those two have waited for an opportunity.

“They are good footballers, experienced players and I think the shape of the team helped us get a foothold in it and controlled it for large parts and we defended well when we had to defend because Brentford were getting it up to Donaldson quickly and getting other people round him to try and keep the second balls alive and try and get free kicks and set pieces around the 18 yard box.”

The Lilywhites now return to Deepdale next Saturday, for the first of back to back home matches, with Leyton Orient visiting followed by Portsmouth on Good Friday.

And the gaffer is looking forward to getting more game time at home, he continued: “In our first five games we have had four away and they have been Swindon, Milton Keynes, Notts County and Brentford who are all at the top end of the division so it has not been easy, but I think the players have showed we have got some good players who are a match for anybody in this division.

“I just wish the season would go on for another 15 or 20 games and we could be right in the mix because we have got good enough players to do that.”

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