ANDY Preece was pleased with his players' character and desire as they hit back to beat local rivals Gap Connah's Quay 3-2 on New Year's Day.

"It was a huge game for both teams, I don't think you could get a better spectacle for the league and how competitive it is this year," he said.

"It's been nip and tuck and you just knew that it would probably come to something like this, especially the way our season has gone. 

"We've been up and down and to be 2-1 down with not very long left and to win the game and almost secure a top six finish I can only speak highly of the lads and their character and desire and their will to win.

"There were a lot of questions asked of them today, we were put under massive pressure first half and I was happy to go in one each (at half time), I thought we had done well.

"But then they started to get on the front foot and they looked pretty comfortable in that second half but we found another gear and came back at them and ultimately got a win that we probably just deserved because of that sheer desire.

"We were worried when we were 2-1 down because you have to start gambling a little bit, changing formations, bring different players on, switch things around and we tried pretty much everything and on this occasion it worked.

"Sometimes it will go against you, you change things around and you go and lose games three- and four-one which we have done earlier in the season but I just thought there was something in it for us and we never gave up thinking we could get back in and win the game."

Tony Gray's 14th-goal of the season a minute from the end of normal time secured the victory and Preece added: "That's why he stays on the pitch, he's always likely to get you a goal. I was pleased for James Murphy as well, he's very unlucky not to be starting in this team, he's been brilliant in training, he's done great in all the games.

"We managed to get him from Connah's Quay and it meant a lot to him today to score that goal and he's just shown what a quality player he is going to be for us."

Photos (top) Ian Kearney opens the scoring and (below) James Murphy heads the equaliser to make it 2-2.