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Just another goal for Preston North End's Joe Garner

12 May 2014

LIVE: The Sky Bet Football League Play-Offs 2014

By Tony Leighton

Rotherham United boss Steve Evans called it 'the goal of the century', pundits gave their plaudits in excelsis and the Twittersphere was awash with eulogies.

The only man on the planet not gushing about Preston North End's goal in their 1-1 draw with Rotherham, in Saturday's first leg of their Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off Semi-Final, was Joe Garner - the player whose wonder goal it was.

The football world and his brother saw it as superb control and volleying technique that sent the ball ripping into the top corner of the net from 25 yards.

And Garner's view...

"It sat up well, I hit it and it went in."

The striker was clearly not as overwhelmed as the rest of us by his 24th goal of the season, though he did add, "I knew as soon as it came off my foot that it was going in."

The second-half super strike cancelled out Alex Revell's first-half opener for the Millers, who will have home advantage in Thursday evening's second leg.

That should make Evans' team favourites, but Garner reckoned: "I think they've struggled at home lately and we've been good away this year, so it's all to play for. It'll be two good sides going at it and it should be a very good game."

Rotherham's recent home record is not great, but two draws and a win in their last three outings at the New York Stadium is not a bad return. And they have not suffered a home defeat since going down 3-1 to Coventry City in January.

Preston's away form, meanwhile, has been good over the course of the season - 40 of their 85 points were picked up on their travels - but it has not been too impressive of late with three defeats and a draw from their last four trips.

The Lilywhites will have to win away from home for the first time since early March if they are to get past the Millers to reach Wembley for the Play-Off Final.

Whatever the statistics may suggest, however, Garner is confident that his team can overcome opponents who deserved their first leg draw at Deepdale.

The 26-year-old striker admitted: "They came with a game plan, they sat deep and we found it hard in the first half especially to get in behind them.

"But with them being the home side now they're going to have to come out and so there'll be a lot more space in behind them for us. We're very confident that we can get a result there and then hopefully end up where we want to be."

Where Preston want to be is in the Championship, but history is against them - they have failed in all eight of their previous Play-Off campaigns.

That is of no concern to Garner, whose only immediate thoughts are on the second leg of the semi-final at Rotherham and trying to get a goal - and not necessarily another 'worldie' - that can put Preston into the final.

"Hopefully I'll get another goal and it will take us to Wembley," he said as he looked ahead to Thursday's match, "and a tap-in would do very nicely."

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