Grayson’s side are rolling to play-offs

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Scott Hunt To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

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

HER Pre­ston

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