Si­mon’s week to re­mem­ber

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alex Smith

THREE games un­beaten, three clean sheets and a point at the league lead­ers all in a week – but Si­mon Grayson was dis­ap­pointed his Pre­ston side didn’t leave the Amex Sta­dium with a vic­tory.

Grayson and North End’s frus­tra­tion was di­rected at referee Andy Davies af­ter he turned down a seem­ingly stonewall penalty.

Seag­ulls de­fender Lewis Dunk ner­vously looked over his shoul­der af­ter drag­ging down striker Jor­dan Hugill in the first half – ex­pect­ing to hear a whis­tle and see a red card flash­ing in his di­rec­tion.

But Davies kept his cards in his pocket, much to the vis­it­ing man­ager’s frus­tra­tion.

Grayson said: “I think they’re both tan­gling with each other and then he gets into the box and he’s still tan­gling and brought him down so maybe on an­other day you get that.

“It wasn’t to be but it would have been a per­fect start and prob­a­bly re­sulted in a send­ing off.

“We had the clear op­por­tu­ni­ties. At the end, Joe Gar­ner con­nected with one too well and had one cleared off the line.

“You cer­tainly can’t be dis­ap­pointed com­ing to the league lead­ers and draw­ing.

“We al­ways knew it would be a tough ask to come here and come away with any­thing be­cause of the play­ers they’ve got and where they are in the divi­sion.

“It’s been a good week for us, two away trips and three clean sheets with a makeshift defence.”

Is­raeli front­man Tomer Hemed blazed over when clean through af­ter a vel­vety touch and back heel from Sam Bal­dock as the hosts had the bet­ter of the first half.

The most eye catch­ing chance came from an in­ven­tive free-kick as Josh Mur­phy and Liam Rose­nior in­ter­changed be­fore the former smashed at Jor­dan Pick­ford.

Then the game’s po­lar­is­ing mo­ment, Hugill bul­lied Dunk for the ball, af­ter the de­fender let the ball drop over his shoul­der, be­fore he was bun­dled down.

And then the loud­est crescendo of the day came when Bobby Zamora en­tered the field on the hour with the vet­eran striker in the quest to be­come a hero for the third game in suc­ces­sion.

But it was a sub­sti­tute from the other side that came closer to a game changer.

Joe Gar­ner thought he had grabbed the lead when he looped a header across goal but Bruno Sal­ter scam­pered across the keep it goal­less.

David Stock­dale had to get down quickly to keep out Gar­ner’s smart shot and the livewire at­tacker should have had an in­jury-time win­ner but volleyed over on the twist.

The Seag­ulls didn’t look like a side un­beaten and top­ping the ta­ble and barely looked de­serv­ing of a point af­ter their timid sec­ond-half per­for­mance.

Chris Hughton’s side con­tinue to top the Cham­pi­onship and the former New­cas­tle man­ager was con­tent to move to 14 games with­out de­feat.

He said: “It was prob­a­bly a fair re­sult.

“On the bal­ance of play we were the bet­ter side es­pe­cially in the first half.

“We were get­ting into op­por­tu­ni­ties to score, get­ting crosses but we didn’t make enough of them un­for­tu­nately.

“There are go­ing to be so many ups and downs this sea­son, when we’re play­ing well and not play­ing well.

“We weren’t at our best but that was a game we would have lost last sea­son so we re­main un­beaten which is good.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

STALEMATE: Brighton's Liam Rose­nior looks de­jected dur­ing the game and, in­set, team-mate Bobby Zamora in ac­tion with Adam Reach

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