Garner’s joy at wonder goal

Rotherham keeper Adam Collin is a beaten man after Joe Garner's sensational volley hauled Preston level at Deepdale on Saturday
Rotherham keeper Adam Collin is a beaten man after Joe Garner's sensational volley hauled Preston level at Deepdale on Saturday

Whalley’s Joe Garner scored one of the goals of the season to earn Preston North End a draw in the first leg of their League 1 play-off semi-final on Saturday.

But the 26-year-old admits he’d settle for a tap-in at Rotherham’s New York Stadium tomorrow night if it earns the Lilywhites a trip to Wembley.

Preston North End's Joe Garner celebrates scoring his sides equalising goal to make the score 1-1''Photographer Chris Vaughan/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet League One Play-Off First Leg - Preston North End v Rotherham United - Saturday 10th May 2014 - Deepdale - Preston''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

Preston North End's Joe Garner celebrates scoring his sides equalising goal to make the score 1-1''Photographer Chris Vaughan/CameraSport''Football - The Football League Sky Bet League One Play-Off First Leg - Preston North End v Rotherham United - Saturday 10th May 2014 - Deepdale - Preston''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

Garner - supporters’ and players’ player of the year - hit his 24th goal of the season at Deepdale to haul North End level against the Millers - taking Tom Clarke’s pass on his chest before lifting the ball over Karl Arnason and detonating a quite brilliant volley into the net from 20 yards.

For many present, it was the best goal they had ever seen in the flesh - and it caused a stir throughout football and across social media afterwards.

And the former Blackburn Rovers youngster - who cost Nottingham Forest £1.14m in 2008 - said: “We needed that goal, it gave us a lift and got the fans up.

“I knew as soon as it came off my foot that it was going in.

“It just sat up nicely and was there to be hit – and that is exactly what I did.

“I would say it was up there with the best goals I have scored, it was nice.

“We now have an important game at their place on Thursday night.

“If it meant going through, a tap-in there would be very nice, I would take that.”

Looking ahead to tonight’s key clash, the Preston fan added: “We are confident that we can go to Rotherham, get a result and hopefully get to where we want to be. Rotherham came here with a game plan, they sat deep and we found it hard in the first half to get behind them.

“They have some big boys in their team, they get it long and have second runners.

“But with them being the home side on Thursday they will have to come out and I think there will be a lot more space behind them.”

Preston boss Simon Grayson felt Garner’s equaliser was Premier League class: “Joe had not scored for a couple of games, but obviously the 20-odd goals which he has got just shows what he is capable of doing.

“If that goal was to grace the Premier League then they would be talking about it as goal of the month, even goal of the season.

“That was a top-drawer effort from him and it got us back into the game.

“It probably had to be something special to get us back into the game because we didn’t really create enough chances in open play.”