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Evans thrilled with win

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16 May 2014 05:31:52

Evans thrilled with win

Steve Evans has ranked Rotherham's League One play-off semi-final win over Preston as one of his proudest achievements in the game.

The Millers, who are chasing back-to-back promotions, put in an inspired display to see off favourites Preston, with goals from Wes Thomas, Lee Frecklington and Kieran Agard overturning Paul Gallagher's early opener and sealing a final date with Leyton Orient at Wembley.

It was a trademark display of attacking endeavour, orchestrated by the influential Ben Pringle, which could have yielded a bigger winning margin but Evans was still left beaming.

"It feels wonderful, when we came up into League One we were people's favourites to go back down but we worked hard and we have had a fantastic season," the Scot said.

"Over the two games we deserved it, it's a great night for us.

"When we went in front I knew we would win, when we scored the third I thought we might go on and win very comfortably.

"I have had some magical highlights and it will be a very proud moment to walk out at Wembley.

"Tonight ranks right up there, I still maintain that the Aldershot game last year is still the best because we won promotion, but this is up there."

Rotherham will meet Russell Slade's Orient, who led the division for much of the campaign, at Wembley and Evans expects another titanic clash.

"It's my job to make sure everyone enjoys the moment but we will start preparing for Leyton Orient," he added. "We will be underdogs when we get to Wembley we know that, they have been top of the league for most of the season.

"We have taken ourselves to the final fence but that is the size of Becher's Brook when you look at the opposition. If I could emulate what some other Scottish managers have done at Wembley I will be happy."

Preston boss Simon Grayson intends to bounce back from this disappointment by delivering automatic promotion next season.

North End accrued enough points over the regular campaign to have won League One had they been in it last season, but they were forced into the play-offs owing to the incessant form of Wolves and Leyton Orient.

And this defeat meant it was a ninth unsuccessful campaign, having never gone up this way.

"It hurts when you lose any football match but when you lose a semi-final it hurts you even more but there's only two teams that can go through," Grayson said.

"It can be a really strong motivation to have in your locker for next year.

"You don't like losing any match and semi-finals are difficult to take.

"I experienced it as a manager with Leeds but we bounced back the next year with automatic promotion and that will be our aim next year because you can't be down for too long."

Although well-beaten over two legs, North End played their part in a thrilling encounter and were only denied a way back into the game by the woodwork, with Jack King and Joe Garner both hitting the frame of the goal.

"I asked the players before they went out to give everything, leaving everything on that pitch and they can at least come back in with some pride and they've done that," he added. "Football's all about fine margins and we've not had things that have gone our way.

"We've hit in the inside of the post two or three times and it's come out, the keeper's flapped at one before half-time.

"We've give everything, we tried different formations to try and get back into the game. As you can imagine it's a hugely disappointed dressing room because of what's happened."


PA

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