Simon Grayson and his team of legends and celebrities narrowly defeated a Preston North End fans XI on the club’s community day at Deepdale.
of the club’s community day, with thousands of pounds raised for Prostate Cancer UK on a wonderful afternoon at the home of PNE.centrepieceThe Lilywhites boss led his side to a 3-2 victory in the
Grayson was joined by assistant manager Glynn Snodin and fellow ex-professionals David Dunn, Brian O’Neil, Paul McKenna and Brett Ormerod in his side. The Kaiser Chief’s Simon Rix and Kasabian’s Chris Edwards, TV stars John ‘Fenners’ Fendley and Colson Smith and Preston-native Andrew Flintoff were also involved in the action.
Completing Grayson’s side was Gary Barker, John Oxley, physio Matt Jackson and professional stopper Mathew Hudson – the young goalkeeper kept busy all afternoon by a competitive fans XI made up of supporters who snapped up spots in the team via an eBay auction last week.
Hudson was in the heart of the action from the off as the fans team made an encouraging start. The young North End goalkeeper was forced to save fine efforts from Jack Burrows and Ollie King inside the first ten minutes.
However, the manager’s team went ahead in the 11th minute, as former Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Dunn rounded goalkeeper Chris Butcher to break the deadlock.
The gaffer helped to double his side’s advantage midway through the half. Grayson picked out McKenna in space on the left who unselfishly pulled it back for Coronation Street’s Smith to tap home in the 23rd minute.
The fans continued to cause some problems, though, and were unfortunate not to pull one back after 35 minutes when Sam Wilson struck the outside of the post.
However, the fans were rewarded for their efforts shortly before half-time, as another Wilson – this time Jack, Sam’s brother – volleyed past Hudson to reduce the deficit before half-time.
After the interval, the fans team came out the stronger as Danny Garratt shot just wide before Burrows forced an impressive double save from Hudson.
Grayson’s team were just as threatening in attack and hit the woodwork themselves on the hour, as Edwards poked McKenna’s perfect through ball against the bottom left hand post.
But in the 62nd minute, the fans equalised through an unlikely source. It was a moment to forget for assistant boss Snodin, who held his head in his hands as he converted Jack Wilson’s right-wing cross into his own goal!
The fans nearly turned things around three minutes later as Sam Wilson’s deflected volley struck the post from outside the box.
At the other end, Grayson was comically shown a yellow card for diving!
With just seven minutes remaining, the class of Grayson’s side told as Ormerod swooped in to take it around the goalkeeper and finish for the winning goal.
The supporters certainly gave Grayson’s men a run for their money but it was a fine afternoon all round as ticket sales on the day, combined with sales from the eBay auctions, means the current fundraising figure stands at over £7,000 with more set to be added to that total.