Man-of-the-match Joe Garner says the bad reception he received from Port Vale fans during Preston’s 3-2 win made him all the more determined to score.
The 25-year-old bagged a brace as the Lilywhites defeated Micky Adams’ side to earn themselves a third win in as many Sky Bet League One games.
A case of mistaken identity in the reverse fixture at Vale Park saw Garner stay on the field as Neil Kilkenny was wrongly sent off following an off-the-ball altercation.
The striker went onto score a double that evening as Preston won 2-0, prompting a negative response from the travelling Vale fans when they came to Deepdale on New Year’s Day.
“They gave me a bit of stick, I don’t think it was my fault what happened at their place but it made me want to score a little bit more really and I was just happy to do so,” Garner told PNE.Com in an exclusive interview following the victory.
Garner, a self-confessed Preston fan, got his second goal of the afternoon when Paul Gallagher squared the ball to him inside the box and he slotted into the top right hand corner.
Time froze as the striker weighed up his options and, luckily for the Lilywhites, he chose the right one.
“Time did stand still a little bit,” Garner said. “Gally slipped it to the side and all the defenders ran on the line.
“So I thought if I went high then they’d do well to stop it and then it went into the top corner.”
North End made hard work of their victory by conceding two goals in the last 21 minutes as Gavin Tomlin and substitute Jordan Hugill both scored for the Valiants to set up a tense finish.
“We did make hard work of it in the end, to be fair to them when they were 3-0 down they made a lot of changes and I think the changes made an impact on the game,” Garner said.
“They put a few big lads up front and went 4-2-4 and it obviously worked.”
He added: “I think for 70 minutes we were very strong and deserved to win the game.
“3-0 up, we probably should have seen it out a bit better but fair play to them really, they came out and had a go, but we’ve come away with three points and we’ll move onto the next game.”
The result against Port Vale leaves the Lilywhites just two points off second place in Sky Bet League One.
But North End's top scorer insists the squad are not getting ahead of themselves, saying: “We will just take each game as it comes, we’re a strong side, we’ve got a good manager, good staff and hopefully we’ll be right up there.”