The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Scott Hunt

PRE­STON manager Simon Grayson says he knew a big win was com­ing af­ter Joe Gar­ner’s four goals helped pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Pre­ston to a re­sound­ing win over strug­gling Crewe.

Gar­ner struck twice in each half and Jer­maine Beck­ford added a fifth while Oliver Tur­ton struck in vain for the vis­i­tors.

Victory stretched Pre­ston’s un­beaten run to eight games, win­ning seven of those and puts them two points clear of third-placed Swin­don with a game in hand.

Crewe have now won just one of their last six and are four places above the rel­e­ga­tion zone with the worst goal dif­fer­ence in the di­vi­sion.

Grayson says a thrash­ing like that has been com­ing from his side and sin­gled out match-win­ner Gar­ner.

“We did feel that over the last few weeks things have been com­ing to­gether and at some point we would have taken teams to the sword,” Grayson said.

“We’re de­lighted with the per­for­mance and the num­ber of goals we’ve scored.

“We stressed to the play­ers be­fore the game that you can’t take any­thing for granted and we had to start with a tempo which re­ally got us go­ing – 15 min­utes in both halves won us the game I think.

“I said that Joe has been look­ing sharper in re­cent weeks and he’s ad­mit­ted it as well. He’s a hand­ful for any de­fender.

“His third goal was some­thing spe­cial, how­ever. I was right be­hind it and we needed it to feel com­fort­able – af­ter that we showed what we could do.”

Pre­ston’s early pres­sure told in the 11th minute when Gar­ner fired them in front with his low right-footed shot from the edge of the area.

Gar­ner dou­bled Pre­ston’s lead af­ter 24 min­utes as he di­rected Paul Gal­lagher’s cross back across goal and past Paul Rachubka at the far post.

How­ever, against the run of play, Crewe pulled one back af­ter 34 min­utes through Tur­ton, who slot­ted in from 15 yards.

Gar­ner com­pleted his hat-trick af­ter 72 min­utes as he curled the ball right-footed into the far cor­ner from 15 yards and struck again seven min­utes later, tap­ping home af­ter Beck­ford’s strike came back off the post.

And Beck­ford made it five in the 82nd minute, slot­ting un­der Rachubka.

Crewe manager Steve Davis was dis­ap­pointed they had a goal ruled out at 2-1 but ad­mits his side must do bet­ter away from home.

“With the crowd and the play­ers at home the ref­eree didn’t fancy it and bot­tled it a lit­tle bit,” Davis said.

“Those de­ci­sions are im­por­tant and need to go for you in front of a par­ti­san crowd like this.

“The first 15-20 min­utes of the sec­ond half we had one or two chances and had the ball in the net which was un­for­tu­nate it was dis­al­lowed. I think that was a game-chang­ing mo­ment.

“For 70 min­utes we played rea­son­ably well. The third goal was a killer.

“We didn’t ca­pit­u­late but we found it dif­fi­cult to hold them. We made ba­sic mis­takes. The third and fifth goals are too easy for my lik­ing.

“Away from home we have a prob­lem.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

PRE­STON: (4-3-3): Johnstone 7, Clarke 7, Hunt­ing­ton 6, Wright 6, Laird 5, Welsh 6 (Kilkenny 76 6), Gal­lagher 8, John­son 7, Beck­ford 7 (Ebanks-Blake 82 6), Robin­son 6 (Humphrey 69 6), Gar­ner 9 Subs not used: Stuck­mann, Woods, Lit­tle, Davies

CREWE: (4-1-2-1-2): Rachubka 7, Tur­ton 7, Davis 7, Ray 6, Guthrie 6, Jones 5 (Atkin­son 74 5), Grant 6, Tate 5 (Cooper 65 6), Ness 5, Ajose 5 (Ik­peazu 65 6), Haber 4

Subs not used: Dalla Valle, Nolan, Bail­lie, Ste­wart STAR MAN JOE


Pre­ston FOUR­SOME: Joe Gar­ner scores the sec­ond of his four goals for Pre­ston

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