SI­MON SAYS: MY SIDE HAVE SPIRIT

Hugill’s first-half goal is a win­ner

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Scott Hunt

AWEEK is a long time in foot­ball. Last Satur­day Pre­ston were on the end of a 5-0 ham­mer­ing at Brent­ford.

But a mid­week EFL Cup win over Bournemouth was backed up on Fri­day night by a piv­otal derby vic­tory over Wi­gan, with man­ager Si­mon Grayson laud­ing the char­ac­ter and men­tal­ity of his side.

Jor­dan Hugill’s sev­en­th­minute goal was the dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams, as he de­flected Ai­den McGeady’s strike past Adam Bog­dan.

Wi­gan are now win­less in seven games and re­main in the rel­e­ga­tion places, while Pre­ston’s third win of the sea­son lifts them four points clear of the Lat­ics.

And Grayson was de­lighted with the way his side have re­sponded to that Brent­ford de­feat, be­liev­ing they were well wor­thy of the win.

“We had to be re­silient and hard­work­ing but the play­ers have re­sponded to a dif­fi­cult de­feat last week­end,” Grayson said.

“What we did here was we were dis­ci­plined and played to the shape of the team. We looked quite com­fort­able in the sec­ond half.

“The play­ers played with their heads rather than their heart like last week­end. We saw the game out re­ally well, we did what we needed to do which was re­ally pleas­ing.

“It was nice to get that lit­tle bit of luck with the goal be­cause we’ve not had that much this year. We will take it, and we played well enough to jus­tify win­ning.

“What­ever they threw at us we had to deal with and we did that. We had good op­por­tu­ni­ties to win it more com­fort­ably.”

How­ever, Lat­ics boss Gary Cald­well hit out at ref­eree Oliver Lang­ford over what he per­ceived as a foul in the buildup to the Pre­ston goal.

“It’s a hor­ren­dous de­ci­sion,” Cald­well said. “The lines­man clearly says it’s a push, and for some rea­son, ei­ther the ref is deaf or he chooses not to take the ad­vice of his lines­man.”

It was a third game in six days for Pre­ston, but they de­servedly led af­ter seven min­utes. McGeady’s shot from 20 yards was de­flected in off Hugill – with the striker only too quick to claim the goal.

Wi­gan re­acted well to go­ing be­hind and spurned a chance to equalise af­ter 15 min­utes when Jordi Gomez’s cross found Will Grigg ,who headed over from four yards.

Hugill found him­self clean through af­ter 48 min­utes and his right-footed strike was headed for the bottom cor­ner be­fore be­ing su­perbly tipped wide by Bog­dan.

Wi­gan came close when Grigg’s cross found Nathan Byrne at the far post, whose first shot was saved by Maxwell be­fore he brushed the out­side of the post with the re­bound.

Five min­utes from time Gomez had the chance to equalise with a 20-yard free­kick but placed it straight at Maxwell, be­fore Ben Pear­son al­most dou­bled the ad­van­tage at the other end – fir­ing wide from 12 yards.

“We dom­i­nated the whole game,” added a frus­trated Cald­well. “They scored a goal that should never have been given and then we con­trolled the whole game.

“But it’s not good enough los­ing games like that.

“We are so much bet­ter than Pre­ston on the night in my opin­ion, but ul­ti­mately we didn’t win so they de­serve the credit. Foot­ball is about win­ning.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

BAT­TLE GROUND: Paul Gal­lagher tack­les Wi­gan's Nathan Byrne and Jor­dan Hugill cel­e­brates, in­set

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