AFC Bournemouth 2 Preston North End 3 - Match report on another away win for the Lilywhites but a fright and a bad injury at the end

Preston North End's strong form on the road continued as they beat AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in a game packed full of goals and entertainment.

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 10:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 10:20 pm

Alex Neil's men were 3-0 ahead by the 68th minute, with Tom Barkhuizen, Scott Sinclair and Patrick Bauer finding the net.

Sinclair's goal was a superb strike from upwards of 40 yards, his shot catching Cherries goalkeeper Asmir Begovic off his line.

But life got uncomfortable for North End after that, Junior Stanislas pulling one back for the home side with a 71st minute free-kick.

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Tom Barkhuizen gets a hug from Ryan Ledson after giving Preston North End the lead against Bournemouth

Then when Sam Surridge headed a second for Bournemouth four minutes from the end of the 90, it left PNE hanging on.

It was to be a painful end to the evening for Bauer, with him suffering what looked like a serious injury during stoppage-time, with the German stretchered off after several minutes being cared for on the pitch by the physio.

With Bauer back in the dressing room, North End managed to see out a total of 11 minutes of additional time to record a fifth away win in the Championship this season.

That was no more than their play up until the final stages deserved, it only when the nerves started jangling that they began to look vulnerable.

Scott Sinclair scores PNE's second goal from long range against Bournemouth

Before then, their passing had been crisp and their management of the game very good.

All three goals were quality in their own right, a fine counter-attack finished off by Barkhuizen in the first half, then Sinclair's stunner soon after half-time.

Bauer finished off a fine move involving Sinclair and Daniel Johnson for the third.

It was much needed after successive defeats to Blackburn and Watford which has caused plenty of rumblings if discontent.

Tom Barkhuizen celebrates his goal

North End's starting XI had shown three changes from the side beaten at Watford, Alan Browne, Joe Rafferty and Ryan Ledson returning.

Browne and Rafferty had both served one-match bans, with Ledson restored to the side after being a substitute last Saturday.

Out of the side went Jordan Storey, Emil Riis and Brad Potts, with them all on the bench.

They switched back to a 4-2-3-1 system too, Rafferty playing at left-back and Browne the right-back.

PNE midfielder Daniel Johnson takes on Bournemouth's Lewis Cook

Barkhuizen started on the right-wing, Scott Sinclair on the opposite flank while Johnson operated in the No.10 role behind striker Sean Maguire.

North End were bright in their play from the first whistle, showing a patience on the ball to build their way into the game.

The one early chance, and a half one at that, saw Jefferson Lerma drive a shot from outside the box well over the bar.

The counter-attack which saw PNE take the lead in the 16th minute was a joy to watch.

It all started with Johnson blocking a Bournemouth free-kick, with SInclair winning the second ball and finding Maguire just over the half-way line with a pass.

Maguire spun and played Johnson in space down the left-wing, DJ showing a good turn of pace to cover the ground and deliver a fine low cross which was met by Barkhuizen coming in at the far post.

The Preston players enjoy Scott Sinclair's goal against Bournemouth

He steered a low right-foot finish into the net for his third goal in four games.

Only a fine save from Begovic denied North End a second goal five minutes later, Begovic throwing himself through the air to tip over Maguire's shot.

North End kept possession well for a spell after that in an attempt to move Bournemouth around and find gaps in the home defence.

They pressed high when Bournemouth had the ball at the back, forcing them to go longer than they wished.

A couple of chances came the home side's way towards the end of the first half.

Cheris Mepham headed wide at the far post after a free-kick delivered from the left had flicked off a Preston head.

Then David Brooks came inside off the right-wing and hit a left-foot shot which bounced straight through to Rudd.

Four minutes before the interval, Johnson tapped a free-kick short to Ledson on the left-wing, Ledson whipping in a cross which Maguire headed over at the near post.

After coming under some pressure at the start of the second half, North End doubled their lead in stunning fashion in the 49th minute.

The origins was actually in their own box, Ledson making a good clearance in the goalmouth after Bournemouth substitute Surridge had headed a cross down into the middle.

From there, the ball was played long from the back, Maguire jumping to head the ball on.

It came to Sinclair who took a touch to take it across the covering defender and then from at least 35 yards hit a right-foot shot which caught Begovic off his line and sailed into the net.

Things got even better for Preston when they scored a third goal in the 68th minute.

It was well worked, Sinclair taking possession 25 yards out, moving across the face of the box before threading a fine low pass through the Bournemouth defence to find Johnson on the right hand side of the box.

Johnson put a low centre across the six-yard box which Bauer slid in to meet at the far post.

Within three minutes though, Bournemouth pulled a goal back.

Bauer's foul on Dominic Solanke gave away a free-kick five yards outside the box to the left of centre.

Stanislas whipped it right-footed over the wall and into the net past Rudd to offer Bournemouth a glimmer of hope.

Then things really got nervy for PNE when they shipped a second goal in the 86th minute, Surridge meeting a cross from the left and guiding a header.

The fourth official signalled six minutes of stoppage but early in that Bauer picked up what looked like a serious injury and was stretchered off after several minutes of treatment during which he could heard crying out in pain.

In the end 11 minutes of added-on time was played before Sinclair managed to take the ball into the corner and see out time.

Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, S Cook, Mepham, Rico (Billing 71), Stanislas (Kelly 71), Lerma, L Cook (Anthony 71), Brooks, Riquelme (Surridge 46), Solanke. Subs (not used): Gosling, Otoborh, Simpson, Kilkenny, Travers.

PNE: Rudd, Browne, Bauer, (Huntington 90), Davies, Rafferty, Pearson, Ledson, Sinclair,, Johnson (Bayliss 90), Barkhuizen (Riis 90), Maguire (Potts 90). Subs (not used): Harrop, Storey, Stockley, Holland-Wilkinson, Ripley.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

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