PNE’s Greg Cunningham had more than one reason to be cheerful this evening after North End marked his return from injury with an important victory over Cardiff City.
Tom Clarke’s goal in the 90th minute ensured Alex Neil’s side ended 2017 with a bang, securing three points and stretching the unbeaten run to nine.
Speaking after the game, Cunningham was unsurprisingly all smiles post-match.
“I didn’t think I’d last that long too be honest!” said Cunningham after managing 82 minutes before he was subbed for Calum Woods.
“But I gave everything I’ve got. I’ve been working hard on the training field and I think the adrenaline got me through.
You’re just focusing on the game; I got to half-time which gives me chance to recharge my batteries and I just managed to see it out.
“It’s all positive at the minute. Everybody’s coming back and fighting for each other and we know where we want to be come the first weekend in May.”
Tonight’s game live on Sky was far from a classic, with action in both boxes severely restricted. However, North End to their credit looked to control the game and frustrate their hosts from the minute go, and arguably got their just rewards when Clarke headed home the winner to send the 372 PNE fans into jubilation.
“It’s always nice to get a last minute winner” Cunningham added.
“We worked very hard throughout the game and we knew it was was going to be a physical match in that department and when we had the ball, we got it down and knocked it around really well. Clarkey took his goal really well and it’s good to rely on the skipper for that and get the three points.
“He reacts as if it was in our box. We had to keep picking up the second balls in and around the box and we’ve picked up that second goal at the right time and it’s happy days with three points.
“They’re (Cardiff) very hard to play against. We did our homework the last few days, watched videos and worked on them on the training field and it’s paid off tonight. They’ve had a good season so it’s great for us to do the double over them.”
After being a frustrated spectator for most of this season following his injury set back during the early stages of the season which saw him spend four months on the sidelines, Cunningham believes the current state of affairs bodes well for PNE going into the second half of the season from an individual and team point of view
The full back added: "Half the season is done with and we’ve got a nice win tonight which sets us up nicely for the New Year. It’s good to get us all back fit and the competition for places is fierce.
"I’ve been working very hard and it was touch and go whether I’d be available around the Christmas period. I was obviously on the bench against Barnsley and it’s good to be back in the mix again.
"You can’t replicate matchdays - travelling with the boys. It was a nice journey today and nice to play and hopefully I can keep my place and stay fit until the end of the season."
Watch Greg's interview on iFollow now.