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Simon Grayson Hails Application Of His Players

17 December 2016

Manager Simon Grayson was full of admiration for his players after North End claimed three points at Ashton Gate.

Goals from Simon Makienok and Daniel Johnson saw the Lilywhites defeat Bristol City on their own patch for the third year in a row, and the gaffer praised North End's adaptability after constricting the hosts' blistering start to the encounter.

"Last couple of years we've had some good results here and we've claimed another fantastic result today," declared Grayson who spoke to PNEPlayerHD after the 2-1 win.

"It was a real good performance and we showed real different characteristics to win a game. We had to weather the storm in the first 15 minutes when they came at us very quickly but from then on in, we were composed and we created some really good chances and it's just a shame that we weren't two or three up.
 
"They equalised which was against the run of play and then we showed a huge amount of character, belief and confidence to get the next goal and win it."

It threatened to be a similar story from Wednesday night at Forest when North End couldn't convert their dominance into three points after Aaron Wilbraham cancelled out Simon Makienok's opener in the 77th minute, only for Johnson to recapture the victory by squeezing the ball home with five minutes left on the clock.

"If anything, we created better chances than Wednesday night and more of them," continued Grayson. "We played from our shape and broke quick and we've got people who carry the ball who can hurt the opposition.

"We've got energy and legs in the team, we just didn't finish it off when the chances came and these things happen but we showed a lot of character and started the second-half really well. They scored probably against the run of play when we were quite comfortable but a huge amount of credit to the players who kept going and got the winner."

Johnson's winner could have been considered as fortunate after it looked as though City had enough bodies back to block the shot, but the ball somehow squirmed into the net to the delight of the 500+ strong PNE fans who were in fine festive voice throughout.

On DJ's goal, the gaffer added:" It doesn't matter how you score, we want the players to be positive and shoot, even with your weaker foot because you never know what's going to happen. we had to be positive and we made the changes that we did and made sure that we were still able to win the game.

"It shows the strength in depth again as I made a couple of changes today because we wanted to freshen it up. I brought Hunts (Paul Huntington) in to the team because of the aerial threat of Flint and you pick players to come in at different stages."

The atmosphere inside the visitors changing room was in complete contrast to the one at Hillsborough a fortnight ago where Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle were both sent off. Since then, PNE have recorded seven points from a possible nine going in to the festive period, yet the gaffer had no doubts that his players would respond to a difficult period two weeks ago.

"I didn't have any worries about our future performances after that game," stated Grayson. "The incident was a one off and in the heat of the moment; I felt we dealt with it very quickly as a football club.

"The players have accepted the punishment but I never thought or anticipated whether it would affect the changing room. I said to the players at the time that they will serve a three match ban and we'll see if we're playing well enough for them to be back in to the team but we've got a couple of days now to reflect on our performance and prepare for the Christmas period."

For more reaction from Simon Grayson and goalscorer Simon Makienok, watch the full interview by logging in to PNEPlayerHD now.

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