AFC Bournemouth 1 Preston North End 2 match report: PNE stun Championship leaders at the Vitality Stadium

Preston North End pulled off the shock result of the night as they became the first team to beat Championship leaders AFC Bournemouth in the league this season.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 10:22 pm

Defeat for the Cherries came at the 16th time of asking and PNE could not be begrudged their victory.

Tactically they got it spot-on against Scott Parker's side, putting men behind the ball to contain Bournemouth in the first half and limiting them to very little.

North End burst the game open seven minutes into the second half, Ben Whiteman firing into the roof of the net from Tom Barkhuizen's first-time cross.

Preston North End celebrate Ben Whiteman's opening goal against Bournemouth

Philip Billing equalised for the hosts after an hour after Andrew Hughes had slipped making a clearance.

It might have seemed at the time that PNE's chance of winning had gone, bearing in mind Bournemouth's impressive run so far this season.

However, the visitors had other ideas and a fine goal on the counter attack delivered them the points in the 78th minute.

Emil Riis was the provider, setting up Ali McCann to score his first goal in Preston colours.

Ali McCann celebrates scoring PNE's winner at Bournemouth

It needed a fine double save from Daniel Iversen late on to preserve the lead, the victory delighting PNE's travelling faithful who made the four-and-a-half hour trip to the south coast.

The first half an hour or so of the clash was a containment job from North End - one they did very well - with them sat in their shape behind the ball and allowing Bournemouth possession.

For all the time on the ball the hosts had, they created virtually nothing in terms of first-half chances.

Billing's free-kick from 25 yards sailed wide of the target, Sepp van den Berg's foul on Dominic Solanke having given it away.

Ben Whiteman scores PNE's first goal

For that opening period, North End were content to keep the hosts at arms' length and nick the ball when they tried to work it around the edge of the box.

The two best chances of the first half actually came PNE's way as they got a little more ambitious in the final stages.

In the 34th minute, Barkhuizen was played into acres of space down the Preston right-wing.

Barkhuizen motored forward and into the box but pulled a disappointing low shot wide of the near post when there were team-mates better placed the middle.

Six minutes before the interval, Whiteman's corner from the left led to a scramble in the box, Josh Earl managing to get a shot away which was charged down by a defender with the ball eventually cleared.

Just into the second half, Patrick Bauer recovered well after Solanke had chased a pass to the edge of the box, Bauer getting between the striker and goal to clear for a corner.

North End stunned the home side when they took the lead in the 52nd minute with a well-worked goal.

Sean Maguire got possession about 10 yards outside the box and found Barkhuizen on the right-wing with a good pass.

Barkhuizen played a first-time low ball in the middle, Riis hurdled it at the near post, the ball running into the path of Whiteman who swept a right-foot shot into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

It sparked joyous scenes in the away section where an extremely decent following for a long midweek trip were gathered.

Tempers threatened to boil over when Jefferson Lerma's body check sent Ali McCann crashing into the advertising boards just to the side of the technical area

It prompted an angry response from the PNE bench, McCann able to carry on after attention from the physio and club doctor.

Bournemouth equalised after an hour, Ryan Christie's ball into the box cleared by Andrew Hughes who slipped doing so.

The ball fell to Billing who side-stepped Alan Browne's challenge and curled a low shot into the far corner past Iversen.

North End had to stand up to a spell of pressure after the equaliser but went on to recover their composure and then regain their lead.

The goal came in the 78th minute, Riis running into room down the left behind the Bournemouth defence.

He got to the byline and pulled the ball back into the path of McCann who guided a first-time left-foot finish across the keeper into the far bottom corner.

Riis should have extended the advantage four minutes when he chased a ball from substitute Greg Cunningham down the left channel and absolutely skinned Gary Cahill.

He reached the box but rather like his chance against Derby last month, had too much time to think and put his shot too close to keeper Mark Travers who saved with his legs.

Iversen made a fine double save in the 86th minute, first diving to parry a low shot from the edge of the area from Jack Stacey.

Jamal Lowe was first to the rebound, Iversen saving the follow-up with his foot.

North End had to see out more than six minutes of stoppage-time, the final whistle coming as a huge relief as they at last celebrated an away league win.

Bournemouth: Travers, Stacey, Chaill, Mepham (Rogers 77), Kelly, Lerma, Pearson (Anthony 66), Billing, Christie (Marcondes 84), Lowe, Solanke. Subs (not used): Cook, Brady, Kilkenny, Rogers, Dennis.

PNE: Iversen, Van den Berg, Bauer, Hughes, Barkhuizen, Whiteman, McCann (Johnson 89), Browne, Earl (Cunningham 75), Maguire (Potts 75), Riis. Subs (not used): Storey, Ledson, Sinclair, Hudson.

Referee: David Webb (County Durham)