David Nugent admitted that scoring for the first time since he rejoined Preston North End in the summer left him feeling relieved, after his goal helped Alex Neil’s side over the line to beat Fulham 2-1 at Deepdale.
The No.35 hit the target for the first time in his second spell at Deepdale, turning the ball over the line from close range in what proved to be the winner, having established himself as a firm fan favourite in his prolific first spell in PR1 over a decade ago.
When speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, ‘Nuge’ said he felt the goal had been coming for a while, but that it still came as a great relief to see the ball hit the back of the net.
“It’s been coming,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve not been playing the last few games, I’ve been coming on trying to make an impact in the game, which has been frustrating, but the gaffer has given me to go ahead today and I’ve managed to repay him by scoring the winner.
“I was relieved, it’s been 4,000 odd days since I last scored for Preston and here I am twelve years later, putting the shirt back on and scoring a goal again. It was a great moment for myself and I’m just happy we got the three points in the end.”
The game itself saw North End halt a four-match winless run by overcoming Scott Parker’s side with Sean Maguire having opened the scoring before Nugent doubled the lead, with Alexsander Mitrovic’s effort late on proving no more than a consolation.
And Nugent agreed it was an eventful game to be involved in.
“It was entertaining. Seani’s scored a great goal, swivelled on the ball, went through two players’ legs and went in the back of the net,” he added.
“Then they get a red card, we get a red card, we go 2-0 up, so there were a lot of events in the game that swung both ways.
“Towards the end we were hanging on, they were pumping balls into the box and I thought Hunts and Pat were different class up against Mitrovic all game. He got a bit of luck with his goal but we hung on in the end.
“We haven’t scored in the previous four games and once we scored here, they tended to open up a little bit more and it helped our game a little bit, trying to counter attack and get the second goal.
“Second half it was ten versus ten and they had to go for a little bit and that’s how we got our second goal, on a breakaway and we managed to hang on in the end and it’s a vital win after losing the last four games.”
The victory lifts the Lilywhites back into the play-off spots and Nugent is now hoping he and his team-mates can look to start making up ground on the automatic promotion places.
“The West Brom game was tough to take because we probably didn’t deserve to lose that game and it was a bit of a kick in the teeth.
“QPR we could have done better, Hull was a disaster, but today, we showed what we’re all about – hard work, pressing, working from the front and winning our battles in every area of the pitch.
“They’re the levels we’ve got to keep up, if we stay like that, I’m sure we can push, go on a run again and try to get in that top two and try to catch them because they’re starting to pull away at the moment. If we keep winning and stay in the play-offs, there’s always a chance you can catch them up.
“It’s vital for us to keep the pressure on, they’re all playing tomorrow, so it’s vital we keep winning our games and put the pressure on the teams above.
“Tonight, Bristol City got beat at home to Millwall, we didn’t expect that, [Nottingham] Forest drew as well at home. Results go for us sometimes and we’ve got to nullify that by winning our games and try to put a dent in their aspirations and more on us.”
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