League One play-offs - semi-final second legs preview

Preston and Swindon Town hold the advantage going into their second leg play-off ties.

Preston North End v Chesterfield (Agg: 1-0)

Simon Grayson's Preston hold the upper hand following a fiesty encounter at the Proact Stadium. Jermaine Beckford's goal early in the first half was enough to separate the sides, but the tie remains tight overall.

Paul Cook's Chesterfield started extremely nervously and failed to get their usual passing game together and this enabled a Preston side, surprisingly in the play-offs in the first place, to gain the upper-hand, and they took charge after Beckford scored when chipping a sprawling Tommy Lee.

The Spireites grew in confidence as the first half ended and bombarded Preston in the second period but the Lilywhites' defence held firm, as it had all night, and the players were able to blow a sigh of relief at the full-time whistle.

Speaking to the official website, Cook said: "I thought we were terrific, the next goal in the tie is huge, and we had Preston on the back foot, but they are a good side, and we knew that.

"We have to believe in what we do, but our support were magnificent."

Grayson was delighted with his side's character in the game and speaking to the clubs's offical website, he said: "We knew we had to start the game brightly, we had to make sure we stopped the opposition from playing and getting into a routine because if they do they can hurt you.

"We are delighted with the players, it was a good team performance."

Swindon Town v Sheffield United
(Agg: 2-1)

Despite taking the lead, Nigel Clough's Blades slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Swindon. Keiron Freeman gave United the lead in the first half, before Swindon midfielder Ben Gladwin saw his penalty saved by Blades' keeper Mark Howard.

The Robins drew level through Sam Ricketts six minutes into the second half, before a late goal from wing-back Nathan Byrne gave Mark Cooper's side a slender lead going into the return leg.

Clough in his post match interview with BBC Radio Sheffield commented that his side should have been given three penalties.

He said: "I thought we played well. but the game has been decided on refereeing decisions, there are four major decisions not gone away and three in the box. The goal is far too soft from our point of view. We did enough to win the game, and we created enough to win the game."

Swindon boss Cooper changed his side around a lot in the final weeks of the regular season in order to keep his squad fresh - and that policy appears to have paid off.

Speaking to the official website, Cooper said: "We had to perform really well under a pressure-cooker atmosphere at a fantastic arena. I'm proud of the players, but it's only half a job done, we've got a remarkably tough game to come."

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