North End fly away with vital U’s victory
PRESTON North End’s promotion-chasing players flew down to Essex for their game at Colchester United.
And after registering an impressive away victory, Simon Grayson’s side gave further evidence that they are a team well and truly on the up in League One.
The Lilywhites’ journey took just 45 minutes by air and returned to Lancashire with a vital victory, courtesy of Brian Wilson’s own goal in the closing stages.
Grayson said:“It was a long trip for our fans but they can go home very happy.
“It was a lively pitch and Colchester have got some threats who can be a handful on the day.
“But I thought that we went about the game in a professional manner.
“You have to win matches in different ways and I thought we showed a lot of character.
“We had to stand up and be counted when we needed to be and I thought that we did that.”
Colchester manager Joe Dunne felt that Preston’s winner should not have stood, after Joe Garner appeared to be in an offside position when he found Chris Humphrey, whose cross hit Sam Walker and then Wilson before going in.
“The ball through was three yards offside,” said Dunne.
“The linesman’s got to make a decision and he’s made a poor one.
“I think it was a cruel result and our performance was good.
“I thought that we were excellent and we matched them and probably created as many chances as they did.
“I thought that we were good going forward and we were brave enough to try and win the match.
“We did well to get back into the game and don’t forget that we missed a penalty, too.
“I think we did really well and I was proud of our performance.”
Garner’s header clattered the crossbar for Preston early on before they went ahead just before the half hour through defender Tom Clarke, who headed home Paul Gallagher’s corner.
Colchester were awarded a penalty minutes later when Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd fouled Marcus Bean in the area.
Rudd saved Jabo Ibehre’s weak spot-kick but the Colchester striker redeemed himself nine minutes after half-time when he curled in a superb equaliser, after his long run from the halfway line had resulted in his initial shot being blocked.
Walker then denied Garner from close range as both sides went for a winner.
But Preston netted their controversial winner with eight minutes left, to seal victory.
STAR MAN CHRIS HUMPH