Forest boss Chris Hughton says Preston goals should not have stood after defeat

Chris Hughton felt both Preston goals should have been ruled out
Chris Hughton felt both Preston goals should have been ruled out (PA Wire)
15:57pm, Sat 08 May 2021
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Chris Hughton felt that both Preston goals should have been chalked off as his Nottingham Forest side rounded off a disappointing season with a 2-1 defeat at the City Ground.

There was more than a hint of handball to the equaliser from Tom Bayliss, which cancelled out a wonderful firs-half strike from James Garner, while there had been an offside flag in the build-up to the winner from Liam Lindsay, which referee Darren Bond appeared to overrule.

It earned a fourth consecutive win for Preston, who have finished the season strongly under Frankie McAvoy.

But Hughton was left frustrated after seeing his side lose, despite looking comfortable when leading 1-0 at half-time.

“Ultimately, we have not won a football match. But I felt as though both goals should not have stood,” said Hughton.

“I have seen it and I felt the first goal was handball. The ball comes off the top end of his arm and it was definitely handball.

“The second one the linesman had his flag up and (Alan) Browne was in an offside position and he moved back into an onside position, without touching the ball. But what he did do is impede Cyrus Christie.

“The referee felt he had made the right decision but we were frustrated with the goals we conceded.

“We were really good in the first half and we had chances – good chances. But we have come away from the game without anything.

“It is a reflection of what has happened to us this season. We played well in the first half in particular. But we only had one wonderful goal, from James Garner, to show for it.

“We have to be better in the final third next season, otherwise we will find ourselves with the same problems.”

McAvoy admitted his Preston side did benefit from a little good fortune.

“The flag was up for offside and we had been shouting to Alan (Browne) not to go. We could see that there was somebody in a better position outside him,” said McAvoy.

“Thankfully it went our way, we played to the whistle and Liam came up with a good goal for us.”

But the Preston boss also praised his players for a much-improved second-half display, which came after a bit of tactical tinkering.

“We were a wee bit lethargic in the first half. We had a good opportunity through Ched (Evans), to score. But other than that we did not play well enough,” he said.

“I thought we struggled to get up in support of Ched and we changed our approach a little bit in the second half, to address that. We got them in and had a chat with them and they managed to do the things we asked of them in the second half, which was a lot better for us.

“I thought we started OK, but then our passing was sloppy, we did not protect the ball well and they were better than us in the first half. Their goal was a spectacular strike from Garner.

“I thought Ched was a nuisance for us in the second half. He did great. He got into great areas, he was even good defensively. But he also drove us forward and I was delighted for him.”

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