HOLDEN HIT BY PRO­LIFIC NORTH END

Dean is hum­bled in Lat­ics dugout

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Colin Hen­rys

LIFE af­ter Lee John­son got off to the worst pos­si­ble start for Old­ham, with care­taker boss Dean Holden ad­mit­ting his man­age­ment dream turned into a night­mare.

Paul Hunt­ing­ton scored just 72 sec­onds in and Daniel John­son, Joe Gar­ner and Jer­maine Beck­ford also net­ted.

Af­ter a week which saw John­son de­part for Barns­ley, with Paul Sc­holes touted as a pos­si­ble con­tender for the manager’s job, it was left to Holden to lead the in­jury-de­pleted Lat­ics.

But the care­taker boss cut a for­lorn fig­ure post-match and could not hide his dis­ap­point­ment at how his man­age­rial de­but played out.

“It was a bap­tism of fire,” he said. “I’m ab­so­lutely gut­ted at this point. I hate los­ing games, like all the lads do.

“I was ab­so­lutely buzzing to be in charge and I couldn’t have done any more prepa­ra­tion, but un­for­tu­nately it was a bad day all round.

“The early goal gave that feel­ing of ‘ here we go again’, and that’s what we need to sort out – that men­tal­ity. There has to be a re­sponse.

“Did we be­lieve we were go­ing to get some­thing from the game? Look­ing at it, prob­a­bly not.

“There were bad de­ci­sions be­ing made in the sec­ond half and you can’t press pause and go on and fix it. They were not mis­takes as such, but poor de­ci­sions be­ing made.

“That’s what I have to get to the bot­tom of if I’m manager or first-team coach. My job will be the same.”

Hunt­ing­ton rose high­est to power a header into the top cor­ner from Paul Gal­lagher’s cor­ner to get Holden’s reign off to the worst pos­si­ble start.

Chris Humphrey nearly added a sec­ond on 14 min­utes, un­leash­ing a dip­ping shot from seem­ingly noth­ing which can­noned clear off the cross­bar.

John­son did dou­ble the lead on 32 min­utes though, with a fierce strike high into the mid­dle of the net af­ter evad­ing Ti­mothee Dieng’s at­tempted tackle. Old­ham strug­gled to cre­ate chances at the other end, but it took a well-timed slid­ing block from Bai­ley Wright on 39 min­utes to stop Daniel Philliskirk turn­ing Do­minic Poleon’s cross in from close range.

Cal­lum Robin­son then teed up Gar­ner for the third on 52 min­utes, with the striker ghost­ing in com­pletely un­marked to de­flect the ball in from close-range.

Pre­ston con­tin­ued to ask ques­tions of the Lat­ics’ de­fence, with Robin­son’s low shot on the hour be­ing pushed clear by Jake Kean.

Robin­son was a con­stant men­ace in the sec­ond half and he danced in­side again on 80 min­utes, only for Kean to parry clear once more.

Two min­utes later Pre­ston had a fourth though, sub­sti­tute Syl­van Ebanks-Blake beat­ing Kean to a loose ball and squar­ing for Beck­ford to side-foot in.

It meant a fifth straight league win – and clean sheet – for the vis­i­tors, and boss Simon Grayson be­lieves the score­line and the per­for­mance show­cased the vis­i­tors’ de­sire.

“It was a fan­tas­tic all-round per- for­mance against a team who are up there in the ta­ble,” he said.

“We have been say­ing for a while that sort of per­for­mance was com­ing.

“We have been play­ing well and cre­at­ing chances so we thought there might be a game where we scored a few.

“The early goal was a bonus. It calmed every­body down against a team with a new manager in charge and we built from that.

“Even in the last five min­utes, though, we were closing down and keep­ing our dis­ci­pline. The play­ers wanted that clean sheet and it’s our fifth on the trot.

“The pitch was dif­fi­cult but we han­dled that well and the clean sheet shows the de­sire of all the play­ers.

“We de­fended as a team and were pro­fes­sional. When Old­ham couldn’t pick a way through we were look­ing to hit them on the break.

“It’s a tes­ta­ment to their de­sire that we’ve won five on the trot.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

BECK IN BUSI­NESS: Pre­ston’s Jer­maine Beck­ford cel­e­brates af­ter netting his side’s fourth

JOE JOY: Joe Gar­ner scores Pre­ston’s third goal on an easy day for the vis­i­tors

STAR MAN JOHN WELSH

Pre­ston

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