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‘We Did What We had To’

30 November 2013

Simon Grayson was pleased with his North End charges after they claimed three vital home points against Bristol City.

Jack King scored the only goal of the game in the first half as both teams finished with ten men, Paul Gallagher and Karleigh Osborne both ordered off late on after a tussle.

Speaking of the game, Grayson said: “We said to the players before the game and half-time, ‘do whatever it takes to win the game’.

“Today was the type of performance where we got the goal and we had to defend and work hard. 

“The quality wasn’t quite there today at times, but it was all about making sure we got the three points, because last week we battered a team and only drew, but today, we haven’t played as well as we can, but we have won the three points.

“You always think it could be another one of those days, because we have had so many games like this already this season, but we did what we needed to do.

“We played some real intricate football in the first half, passed it quickly and the combination play was good, but unfortunately we couldn’t get a couple of goals lead.

“We knew this was a tough game, but we’ve come out on top.

“They had a good result the other night and their system cancelled ours out at times today.”

Results at the top end of Sky Bet League One went in the Lilywhites’ favour today, meaning that PNE are now only six points off the top spot.

And Grayson believes that there is a real togetherness and belief amongst the squad heading into the festive period.

He continued: “There is a belief amongst the group that we can be successful this season.

“We had a tough game on Tuesday night and that was probably the reason we lost our legs a little bit at the back end of the game, but there is a desire to do as well as we can.

“We had to hang in there; they threw balls into the box, are a big team and set pieces were a threat, but everything they threw at us, we managed to cope with, which is a positive thing from a manager’s point of view.

“When you can’t win games passing it and with creativity, you have to grind results out and that is equally important.

Any win creates a fantastic buzz in the dressing room.

“There is a togetherness and a spirit and they are dragging each other along.

“When we are under pressure they do stick together, put bodies on the line and there were some moments where they threw things into the box, but they haven’t created too many chances.

“It would have been nice to get that second goal to kill the game off, but we have been in positions like this before when we have not got that second goal and we have gone on to draw games, but we are fortunate today that we have held on and won at home for the first time in quite a while.”

With North End’s second red card in as many games, Grayson will need to dig deep into the vaults of his squad over the coming weeks.

“And he had no complaints over Gallagher’s sending off based on what the referee told him post-match.

“In real time it happened very quickly.

“Their lad grabbed Paul Gallagher around the neck and he started it all off.

“I spoke to the referee and he says Gally has reacted to it after the lad has head-butted him twice; so if Paul Gallagher has done that, so then he deserves that, but if not we will look into it.

“We have already lost Joe Garner for a few games and now Gally is out for a few games, which is not ideal, but we have other players.

“Iain Hume came on today, we have Lee Holmes coming back and we were without Neil Kilkenny and John Welsh today.

“We have a good squad we can replace players with and hopefully we can keep getting the right results.”

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