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Grayson: “We Stuck At It”

29 March 2013

Manager Simon Grayson felt it was two points dropped after Keith Keane’s first goal for the Club earned a point against Pompey on Good Friday.

The North End boss was pleased that his side stuck to their task, but felt for the second week in a row his side created the opportunities to win comfortably, without really playing well.

“It’s two points dropped,” said the gaffer after the late kick-off. “Like last week against Orient, we had the chances to win the game quite comfortably. Jack King hit the bar and Joe Garner hit the post in the first half and we had more in the second half.

“We are obviously disappointed with the goal we conceded, but we got back into the game. 

“Sometimes you feel that it is just not going to be your day when you are not taking your opportunities and you get hit by a sucker punch, but credit to the players, we stuck at it and got a point when on another day we might not have done. 

“However, we really should have four more points than we have after the last two games.”

The opening goal came from a mistake from the Lilywhites, but Grayson was pleased with the reaction from the team in difficult conditions at Deepdale.

“Nobody makes mistakes on purpose , but we needed to bounce back quickly  and fortunately we got back on the front foot. 

“We didn’t really get a tempo in the first half.

“We had to be a bit more direct because the pitch was difficult and in the second half we got the ball up to the front men and won a few second balls to put their defence under more pressure and sometimes you have to do that and mix your game up. 

“We would like to be more fluent with our passing, but that wasn’t to be the case today. The players kept going though and got another point,” continued the PNE chief.

Two controversial moments in the first half came with loud penalty shouts for the Lilywhites and with it being 12 months this week since their last spot kick at Deepdale, it raised plenty of eye brows when referee Rob Lewis waved away both Lee Holmes and Will Hayhurst’s claims, especially when Pompey’s opening goal came from the former’s trip.

“It was a possibility,” he said of the penalty shouts. “It is very difficult this day and age; our players don’t go down deliberately, but others have and so referees are very aware of people diving. 

“We have not had a penalty at home for over a year now, so maybe we are saving them all for next year!”

The manager’s second half double-change, just after the hour mark, had a big effect on the game, with the goalscorer Keith Keane moving from full back to midfield, the manager admitting that the player is more than comfortable there.

“I was pleased that when we made the changes, that the players who came on, or moved around the pitch, had an impact on the game. Graham Cummins held the ball up well and Keith Keane gave us a base to play from and it was a magnificent goal, that was a bonus for us.

“Keano’s got a good ratio, something like one in 50! But it was a great strike and I was right behind it and it was in from the moment he hit it.

“If you ask Keith, he will say he’s a midfield player who has adapted to playing right back and his versatility is excellent for us. You need that flexibility, so you can play different formations during games,” he added.

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