The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Paddy Din­ham To com­ment on this match go to http://boards. footy­

AS­SIS­TANT man­ager Davie Irons apol­o­gised to Carlisle fans af­ter their thrash­ing at Pre­ston plunged them into the League One rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Stu­art Beavon, Alan Browne and Lee Holmes each scored while Craig Davies smashed in a sec­ond-half hat-trick as Pre­ston recorded a third-straight home win.

Gary Ma­dine had given the Cum­bri­ans hope of ex­tend­ing their un­beaten run to four games with a goal be­fore half-time to see the vis­i­tors go into the break 2-1 be­hind.

But Irons ad­mit­ted the col­lapse that fol­lowed was com­pletely un­ex­pected.

“It’s a ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment for us all. We cer­tainly didn’t see that re­sult or per­for­mance com­ing,” he said.

“We’ve been re­ally solid with four clean sheets in our last five games so we came with con­fi­dence but left with our tails firmly be­tween our legs.

“I ex­press our sin­cere apolo­gies on be­half of the play­ers and the man­age­ment, our per­for­mance cer­tainly wasn’t good enough on the day but we’ve still got a mas­sive job to do.

“We still firmly be­lieve we are good enough to get out of the po­si­tion we are in although I know it doesn’t look likely af­ter a per­for­mance like that.

“We’ll have to re­group and stick to­gether. We win as a team and lose as a team, no­body is get­ting blamed in­di­vid­u­ally.

“We came in at half-time re­ally back in the game and had a re­ally pos­i­tive dis­cus­sion we thought with Pre­ston com­fort­ably in the play-offs that they might not be up for it if we got at them.”

Pre­ston raced into a two-goal lead as Beavon headed Paul Gal­lagher’s free-kick home on ten min­utes be­fore Browne tapped in his first goal in English foot­ball af­ter a su­perb run by Holmes.

Ma­dine halved the deficit from Danny Red­mond’s cor­ner to score his sec­ond goal in as many games since re­join­ing Carlisle on loan.

But just min­utes af­ter the restart Carlisle goal­keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford spilled Davies’ cross to gift Holmes a sim­ple tap in.

Bolton-loa­nee Davies then helped him­self to quick-fire tre­ble, twice tap­ping into an empty net be­fore smash­ing a pow­er­ful ef­fort be­yond Pick­ford with seven min­utes left to leave North End boss Si­mon Grayson purring at his side’s all-round per­for­mance.

“There wasn’t a weak in­di­vid­ual,” Grayson said.“We’ve all said it’s about the squad ef­fort and what they do.

“As a team, when the third goal went in, you could then see the real high con­fi­dence lev­els com­ing through.

“We passed it around quickly and cre­ated some great op­por­tu­ni­ties and the keeper made two or three more out­stand­ing saves.

“Ob­vi­ously it could have been a few more but it was re­ally pleas­ing.

“We threw these play­ers in there be­cause we’ve seen what they’ve been do­ing over the last few weeks and months in


PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

FIVE STAR: Craig Davies scores a fifth for Pre­ston STAR MAN CRAIG DAVIES Pre­ston THREE AND EASY: Lee Holmes cel­e­brates scor­ing Pre­ston’s third

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