Gritty win impresses Grayson

Simon Grayson saluted his Preston players' character after they secured a 2-1 win at Colchester to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Colchester skipper Brian Wilson's late own goal gave Preston victory after Jabo Ibehre had cancelled out Tom Clarke's opener.

Grayson said: "You have to win matches in different ways and I thought we showed a lot of character on a difficult pitch.

"We had to stand up and be counted when we needed to be and I thought that we did that.

"It was a lively pitch and Colchester have got some threats who can be a handful on the day.

"But I thought that we went about the game in a professional manner.

"I thought that we started the game extremely well - we hit the bar, had one or two other opportunities and were a threat from set-pieces.

"After it went back to 1-1 we stayed in the game and we're delighted to get another three points.

"I thought our delivery from set pieces was a lot better than it has been and when you have that delivery, you want people to go and attack it and Tom (Clarke) did that."

Garner's header clattered the crossbar before Clarke powerfully headed home Paul Gallagher's set-piece to give Preston the lead, just before the half-hour mark.

Colchester were awarded a penalty soon after when Declan Rudd fouled Marcus Bean in the area, but the Preston goalkeeper recovered to save Ibehre's weak penalty.

But Ibehre made up for it nine minutes after half-time when he fired home, after his long run from the halfway line had initially resulted in his shot being blocked.

Walker then denied Garner, but Preston netted their winner with eight minutes remaining to seal three important points.