Grayson’s side are rolling to play-offs
PRESTON manager Simon Grayson reckons the club is unrecognisable from a year ago after his side continued to build momentum for their playoff finale by beating Gillingham.
The Lilywhites led for most of the first half thanks to captain John Welsh’s early strike but Cody McDonald equalised for Gillingham just before the break.
However, North End struck twice in six second-half minutes through Paul Gallagher and sub Neil Kilkenny to climb to third in the table and leave Gills in 16th.
And after taking over a club that had gone backwards under ex-boss Graham Westley in February last year, Grayson believes they are on the up.
“When I came to the club it was a place that wasn’t a very nice place to be,” Grayson said.
“Now we’ve got a unity together. Anything we achieve this year will be for everybody, not just the players and the staff but for the whole football club.
“I can’t speak highly enough of them with the way that they’ve carried the team at times.
“We’ve been saying for the last few weeks that we want to be going into the play-offs with momentum.”
Preston took the lead in the eighth minute through captain Welsh who struck right-footed past Stuart Nelson.
Gallagher missed a golden opportunity to put the hosts two goals up in the 17th minute but sidefooted wide.
Gillingham equalised in the 44th minute through top scorer McDonald. Jack King miscued a headed clearance and Leon Legge nodded on to the unmarked McDonald who lashed home.
Preston regained the lead after 56 minutes as Beavon found Gallagher on the edge of the area, who curled right-footed into the far corner.
Substitute Kilkenny put Preston 3-1 up with his first touch just after the hour mark, bundling home after Joe Garner’s effort had been saved.
Preston almost made it four in the 89th minute, but the onrushing Chris Humphrey missed his kick at the far post. Despite defeat, Gillingham have secured their League One status thanks to help from other results – to the delight of boss Peter Taylor.
“That feels great and I think that the players have worked exceptionally hard,” Taylor said.
“The objective was to make sure we stayed in the division. There was one or two times where I thought this was going to be very close.We’ve all had a big test. I’m sure we can be better next season. There will be a lot of hard work in the summer.”
STAR MAN PAUL GALLAG