IT’S DOYLE AT THE DEATH FOR PRE­STON

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Scott Hunt

PER­HAPS fit­tingly in Chel­tenham week, Pre­ston grabbed a stop­page-time equaliser against QPR which keeps both sides po­si­tioned nicely back in the pack, ready to make a surge for the Cham­pi­onship play-offs should those above them stum­ble over the fi­nal fences.

Eoin Doyle’s 92nd-minute header snatched the point for Pre­ston af­ter QPR took an early lead thanks to Se­bas­tian Polter’s header.

Pre­ston, now un­beaten in five at Deep­dale, re­main tenth, two points clear of QPR, and nine points adrift of the top six.

Man­ager Si­mon Grayson says they are not dis­cussing the play-offs and praised the fight­ing spirit of his side.

“We’ve never talked about the play-offs, we just see where it goes af­ter ev­ery game,” Grayson said.

“No­body ex­pects us to get to that level but we’ll fin­ish where we de­serve to fin­ish. I thought a point was the least we de­served here.

“We played well, passed it well but just lacked that lit­tle bit of qual­ity in the right ar­eas. We maybe didn’t have the op­tions in the box at times and the de­ci­sion-mak­ing was a bit short of where we needed it to be.

“We’ve got good char­ac­ter and good spirit about us. Play­ers gave ev­ery­thing they’ve got and showed the spirit re­quired to get some­thing out of games.”

QPR went ahead in just the fifth minute when Ale­jan­dro Faurlin’s cor­ner from the right was on a plate for the on­rush­ing Polter, who thumped a header home from four yards.

The hosts dom­i­nated the ball af­ter go­ing be­hind and went close again on 16 min­utes when a de­ter­mined run into the area by Daniel John­son led to his poke at goal be­ing de­flected just wide.

In the 58th minute as Paul Gal­lagher’s cor­ner broke to Greg Cun­ning­ham but his strike from six yards was blocked by Karl Henry.

Set-pieces were prov­ing to be the ma­jor threat for both teams and Pre­ston should have equalised from a Gal­lagher cor­ner af­ter 70 min­utes, but Jor­dan Hugill headed well over from six yards. In the 81st minute, last-man Tom Clarke pulled back Tjaronn Ch­ery but was per­haps for­tu­nate to only re­ceive a yel­low card.

QPR’s top scorer Ch­ery then had two great op­por­tu­ni­ties to wrap the game up in the 83rd minute, first curl­ing a 30-yard free-kick just wide be­fore go­ing clean through on goal only to be de­nied by Anders Lin­de­gaard. In the se­cond minute of in­jury time, Doyle snatched the point when he flicked home a near­post header from eight yards af­ter a su­perb cross from Cun­ning­ham.

And the for­ward had the chance to win it for Pre­ston a minute later as he rose high­est in the area, but nod­ded straight at Alex Smithies.

QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Has­sel­baink hit out at ref­eree Andy Woolmer and re­fused to rule out a late play-off push.

“I’m not go­ing to talk about the ref­eree but we all know the rules,” for­mer Chelsea hit­man and Bur­ton Al­bion boss Has­sel­baink said.

“It’s a proper pull back of the shirt, he al­most took the shirt off the boy and he’s the last man.You can’t say no more.

“I think we de­served the three points.We passed the ball well and I didn’t see them scor­ing.

“You have to take chances to make it two nil but it wasn’t meant to be.

“We have to take the re­sult on the chin.

“De­ci­sions went against us, we didn’t take some chances but the per­for­mance was good and that is promis­ing. We need to fin­ish the sea­son strong and what hap­pens, hap­pens.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

TUS­SLE: Cal­lum Robin­son of Pre­ston North End in ac­tion with Karl Henry of QPR

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