PNE hold on for first home win

By Christopher Stott – reporter

The Lilywhites survived some late pressure to earn their first home victory of the season thanks to an early strike from Eoin Doyle.

The only goal of the game happened inside the first two minutes and came on the break after Jorge Grant saw his shot saved by the sprawling Jordan Pickford.

A long clearance down field was flicked on by Joe Garner and the ball ended up at the feet of Doyle.

The Irishman couldn’t work an opening at first, so laid the ball off to Daniel Johnson whose strike from 8 yards was parried by Dorus De Vries straight to Doyle who checked back onto his right foot to finish, slotting it through the Goalkeeper’s legs.

Preston threatened to add a second soon after and could have done so through Garner but the striker struck over with both attempts.

Forest soon took control of the game, and the former Swansea man Nelson Oliveira had a number of chances for the visitors, but couldn’t take any of them.

Jamie Ward came closest to equalising for Forest after 37 minutes.

On the counter attack, the ball was worked to the right to Ward who went on the outside of Greg Cunningham and fizzed a shot which clipped the top of the PNE crossbar.

In the final moments of the first half, Garner had his best chance of the game to add a second for the hosts.

Marnick Vermijl sent over a great cross from the right and Garner met it with a glancing header which couldn’t quite evade the dive of De Vries.

The second half was dominated by the visitors, but rarely did they create a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Forest’s best chances in the second half came from Ward’s free kicks.

The first after 77 minutes lead to a scramble on the edge of the six yard box; the second, in the dying seconds, again resulted in a scramble but North End were able to clear.

Preston North End Manager Simon Grayson was pleased with his team’s efforts and was happy to see one of his strikers find the back of the net.

“We got the perfect start with the goal, it was nice for Eoin to get on the scoresheet.

“We ground it out but we were delighted to get one of the strikers on the scoresheet and to have won at home finally.”

Grayson was also keen to praise his side’s defensive efforts as they kept their fifth clean sheet in a row.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to get five clean sheets on the trot,” He added.

“To do it in any league takes some doing but at this level with the players we’ve been against, the lads deserve a huge amount of credit, as individuals and as a team”.

The win lifts the Lilywhites above Forest in to sixteenth, six points clear of Bolton who occupy the third relegation spot.

PNE: Pickford, Woods, Wright, Cunningham, Vermijl (Huntington 82), Johnson, Gallagher, Browne (Welsh 57), Reach, Doyle (Kilkenny 82), Garner. Subs not used: Keane, May, Hugill, Kirkland.

Nottingham Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mills, Hobbs, Pinillos, Osborn, Trotter, Mendes (Walker 63), Grant (Williams 63), Ward (Blackstock 81), Oliveira. Subs not used: Wilson, Burke, O’Grady, Evtimov.

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

Attendance: 10,216 (658 Nottingham Forest)


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