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Simon Grayson: ‘We Could Have Nicked It’

29 January 2014

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson believes his side had the better chances to win the match against Bradford City.

Both sides were reduced to ten men in the first half, with Neil Kilkenny and Kyle Bennett both sent off after clashing in the centre of the pitch.

And as the game opened up, the Lilywhites hit the post twice and had a goal disallowed, denying them the three points in what turned out to be an entertaining 0-0 draw.

Speaking of the chances and the two red cards, Grayson said: “I thought there was nothing in it from both players, but that made it a more open game on a pitch with heavy conditions.

“I think we had the better chances, obviously you know they are going to be a threat from balls going in the box looking for James Hanson and flick-ons, but Josh Brownhill has hit the post, Joe Garner and Paul Gallagher have had some close opportunities, so I think we could have nicked it and we certainly looked the better team when it was 11 versus 11.

“I would have thought two yellows would have sufficed and both benches agreed with that.

“You don’t want to see players sent off; players get sent off for shocking tackles or someone punching someone, but they have pushed each other in the neck, chest area.

“I don’t know if that constitutes in the rules of sending’s off, but you have just got to use common sense sometimes.

“No player got hurt in the incident, both teams are very disappointed in the decision, but you accept it.

“You can’t fault the way both teams went about their job, we worked extremely hard on a real difficult night.

“I don’t think it was easy for both teams, we tried to play like a 3-4-2, that allowed them to get into the wide areas and then we changed it at half-time, but it probably allowed them to get to wide areas where they are very good and get balls into the box for Hanson who is obviously a threat, but I thought we marshalled that 18-yard-box very well tonight.”

Those chances Grayson talked about fell to Gallagher and Brownhill, who both hit the post respectively, with Garner having a late goal ruled out for being offside.

Describing those moments, the gaffer continued: “I think Gally probably expected Joe to get on to the ball first time and as it came past him about two yards away, it just hit him and has gone off the post.

“Declan Rudd was only called upon once throughout the night and he was alert to that opportunity for them.”

“At the time, it looked like Josh’s chance has just went on to the post, but the lads say that the goalkeeper has made a good save, Josh showed fantastic energy against two experienced players in Nathan Doyle and Gary Jones in there and he is showing what he is very capable of doing and I’m pleased with his performance tonight.

“I think Joe said that John Welsh got a flick-on and he didn’t need to flick it on, if it had gone straight to him he was in anyway, so I thought we created some half decent opportunities and you always know you have to defend well and we certainly did.

“We changed the shape at half-time to go 4-4-1, try and hit them on the counter attack, so we are disappointed not to have won the game, but it could be a valuable point come the end of the season.”

Something which will please the manager is another cleansheet chalked up by Rudd and Co. and Grayson thought the defenders done their jobs well over the course of the 90 minutes.

“We are pleased with the cleansheet,” added the gaffer.

“You have to be on your game tonight, you have to make sure that you get touch tight to people and deal with second balls and flick-ons from Hanson and they did.

“I thought the defenders defended well, I thought we passed it at times in a good manner and just that killer goal that you need to go and win games was missing.”

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