Whalley striker on target to help fire Preston North End to League 1 play-off final

Preston North End's Joe Garner celebrates scoring his sides second goal from the penalty spot

Preston North End's Joe Garner celebrates scoring his sides second goal from the penalty spot

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Whalley’s Joe Garner struck from the spot to help Preston North End seal a Wembley play-off final berth a week on Sunday.

Garner’s 27th goal of the season came just after the hour on Sunday to put Preston 2-0 up against Chesterfield at Deepdale, and 3-0 on aggregate, beating Joe Murphy from 12 yards after Daniel Johnson was brought down by the keeper.

That strike was sandwiched by a brace from Garner’s strike partner Jermaine Beckford – the second a stunning long-distance effort which left Murphy stranded.

Beckford admitted afterwards he was inspired by a word of advice from Garner – and Garner’s sensational volley against Rotherham United at Deepdale this time last year – a goal which was named Mitre Goal of the Year at the recent Football League awards.

Beckford said: “I had a word with Joe about five minutes prior to the goal and he said to me, ‘Look the keeper comes off his line quite far as well.

“‘If you get half a chance, have a look, if its on, hit it as hard as you can in a straight line’.

“I’ve just been told that I have 15 goals and Joe has got 20 odd, that speaks for itself

Jermaine Beckford

“Fortunately for me it flew in and the rest is history.”

“It is one of those things, you can’t help but look back on Joe’s goal, it was a fantastic goal as well.

“It won all of the awards that it deserved to win because of what it was.

“Hopefully he will do it again at the final, that would be good.”

The pair have 42 goals between them this season, and Beckford hailed Garner’s selfless streak: “We are both very happy for the other to score, so that adds to an even better strike partnership.

“I’ve just been told that I have 15 goals and Joe has got 20 odd, that speaks for itself.

“I’m very happy to play with someone that is as goal hungry as I am, but as selfless as I am too.

“That adds to the entertainment and excitement of it too.

“The most important thing is that we apply ourselves in the right way at Wembley”

Garner, and his Preston teammates, are set to be roared on by 30,035 fans at Wembley when they face Swindon Town on May 24th, with the prize a place in the Championship – and derby games against Burnley and Blackburn Rovers.