HUGILL LEV­ELLER IS ADDED VALUE

Price set to rise af­ter late equaliser

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Si­mon Smed­ley

PRE­STON boss Si­mon Grayson clearly felt it would have been rough on his bat­tling side had Jor­dan Hugill not pounced for an 89th-minute equaliser against Ip­swich.

In-form North End dom­i­nated the sec­ond pe­riod but didn’t break through un­til Hugill – a ru­moured tar­get for the Trac­tor Boys, who may well have to cough up more for him now – pounced to lash home his ninth goal of the cam­paign.

Grayson said: “I hope Jor­dan keeps scor­ing goals for us. He did well to fol­low up his cou­ple at Villa with an­other well-taken one here.

“He de­serves credit be­cause he def­i­nitely didn’t let any of the spec­u­la­tion get to him.

“It was al­ways go­ing to be tough against Ip­swich. They’re re­silient and well-or­gan­ised, and we strug­gled to break them down.

“It wasn’t our best per­for­mance, but we kept plug­ging away and ask­ing ques­tions, and in the end we gained our re­ward.

“Our shots were be­ing blocked and de­fend­ers were get­ting in our way. I thought it wasn’t go­ing to be our day.

“We got our just desserts though, and it’s credit to the lads for stick­ing at it.”

Both sides cre­ated a num­ber of chances in the first pe­riod at a damp and dreary Deep­dale but just the one was con­verted, by Ip­swich in the 16th minute.

It was a splen­did in­di­vid­ual strike from for­mer Manch­ester United young­ster Tom Lawrence, who turned North End de­fender Mar­nick Ver­mijl in­side and out be­fore curl­ing a bril­liant strike across keeper Chris Maxwell and into the far cor­ner of the net.

It was Lawrence’s eighth goal of the sea­son, and much more sig­nif­i­cantly, his sixth in his last six games.

Pre­ston’s best op­por­tu­ni­ties fell to Hugill and Aiden McGeady, who both fired ef­forts over the top.

The hosts bossed the sec­ond pe­riod. McGeady was thwarted by a fine re­ac­tion stop from Bar­tosz Bialkowski, while sub­sti­tute Jer­maine Beck­ford should have done bet­ter when he fired straight at the keeper from close range.

Pre­ston, who have now lost just once in their last nine games, grabbed their lev­eller just be­fore the game en­tered stop­page-time.

Sub­sti­tute Daryl Hor­gan floated in a cross to­wards Hugill, who chested the ball down ef­fort­lessly be­fore drilling clin­i­cally past the stranded Bialkowski.

Ip­swich boss McCarthy now might be forced to up the value of what would be a third bid for Hugill this week.

“It was sod’s law that the ball fell to him at the end,” said McCarthy.

“When he’d scored I nudged Si­mon Grayson and he said to me, ‘That’s four mil­lion quid we want now’.

“We’ll just have to see what de­vel­ops with that one now.”

It was clearly a huge blow to have con­ceded so late, but McCarthy hailed Lawrence’s first-half strike – an­other top­drawer ef­fort. “It was a ter­rific goal from Tom. He took it re­ally well again,” he said.

“It’s go­ing to be an in­ter­est­ing end-of-sea­son awards night. Tom’s hit about five goal-of-the­sea­son con­tenders al­ready. He’s mo­nop­o­lised that so far be­cause there’s cer­tainly not been many other great goals.

“He’s a qual­ity player with so much go­ing for him, though he did run of steam a lit­tle bit in the sec­ond half.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

LATE SHOW: Jor­dan Hugill wheels away af­ter scor­ing Pre­ston’s equaliser

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