Manager Simon Grayson felt his side showed a positive intent from the outset as they out in a positive performance to beat managerless Reading at Deepdale.
Joe Garner grabbed the only goal of the game to defeat the Royals, converting 52nd minute penalty after he had been upended by Paul McShane in the left hand corner of the box.
And the Lilywhites boss felt that it was a very good team performance that had earned the win: “Today, right from the first whistle I thought we were very positive,” he told PNE PlayerHD. “We defended really well, created some real good chances and put in some excellent individual performances that combined to make a really good team performance.
“We looked at the situation and tried to find the right formula to pick up victories at Deepdale. We wanted to keep the same personnel, but we have a flexible group who can play different formations. We started today with a 4-3-3, but we could have gone back to 3-5-2 at any time. We felt it was the right thing to do at home against a team like Reading.
“When you go so close and don’t get the break through you are always concerned about what a team like Reading could do to you, with the threats that they have got, so we knew we had to be on our toes, keep composed, be disciplined and we said at half-time that we had to take it to another level. Could we do better off the ball? Could we but a bit more ruthless with the ball? And we came up trumps with the goal and we came so close with many other opportunities to getting that second goal. At 1-0 you know you have to see things through and we did that well.”
Sponsors’ man of the match Adam Reach put in an excellent attacking display, playing on the left of front three and the gaffer felt it was his best game in the No.32 shirt of PNE.
“Adam Reach was positive right from the start,” he continued. “The first ball he got he was direct and ran at their defence and I think that was his best game for us today.
“He was outstanding, along with a lot of other players, and we asked them all to get around the edge of the box and shoot and his opening effort just went away at the last minute, but it deserved a goal.
“He kept his performance level up and I am sure there is a performance just around the corner for him.”
The winning goal, as previously mentioned, came from the penalty spot, but it was one of many chances created and after an 11th clean sheet of the season - the joint highest in all four divisions, with Middlesbrough – Simon believes there is plenty to build on.
“There might have been other players debating who was going to take the penalty, but there was only ever going to be one winner!
“Garns won it and we were delighted to see it hit the back of the net. We wanted the second to make it a bit more comfortable and we didn’t get it, but we created a lot of good chances as well as having the other side of the game, working hard, being disciplined and limiting them to few opportunities.
“It is not a bad formula to be winning matches and keeping clean sheets. The whole team worked extremely hard. The goalkeeper and the defence will get credit – they always do – but ultimately the lads in front of them also work hard for the tem limiting them to positions where they could fashion very few opportunities.
“They are nice ingredients to have, because if you keep clean sheets you have a chance of winning football matches,” he added.
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