SIMON SAYS: MY SIDE HAVE SPIRIT
Hugill’s first-half goal is a winner
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.”
BATTLE GROUND: Paul Gallagher tackles Wigan's Nathan Byrne and Jordan Hugill celebrates, inset