Comeback was gritty of the boys, Preston fan John Roper praises North End's recovery against Bournemouth

For an hour of this encounter I wouldn’t have given very much for Preston’s chances of taking anything from this game against Bournemouth.

By John Roper
Sunday, 7th March 2021, 11:21 am
Ex-North Ender Ben Pearson, left, with current PNE star Sean Maguire
Ex-North Ender Ben Pearson, left, with current PNE star Sean Maguire

However, a spirited fightback from the hour mark saw North End take a well earned draw against a multi-million pound squad.

The first half was dominated by the Cherries and I thought North End were a little bit lucky only to be going in a goal down mainly due to three excellent saves from Daniel Iversen.

In the second half, the visitors once again started off the better but on the hour-mark, North End had three chances in three minutes and this seemed to galvanise the boys into fighting their way back.

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A double change for hosts saw us even more in the ascendancy and with 20 minutes to go Johnson equalised with a great goal. The game got a little bit end to end as the clock ticked down but North End held on very well for a really well earned point.

Alex Neil made four changes to the starting line up from the disappointing defeat at Millwall in midweek with Huntington, Browne, Johnson and Sinclair coming in for Hughes, Molumby, Potts and Gordon.

The visitors started brightest and although North End had a couple of free kicks that came to nothing it was Iversen who saved well early on down to his right hand side.The game was scrappy to be honest for the best part of 25 minutes until Iversen made another really good save.

Just after the half hour, Johnson was booked for a professional foul in the middle of the park and four minutes later, Bournemouth were in front. Storey failed to clear with a weak header and Solanke slotted the ball over to Danjuma, who had got ahead of Van den Berg, and he calmly put the Cherries one up.

It was a poor goal to concede from our perspective. At the other end, all we had to show was a tame effort from Browne at the back post after good work from Barkhuizen and as the teams went it at the break North End had plenty to reflect on on a first half that the visitors dominated.

The second half started very much as the first had ended with Bournemouth on top although Storey had the first shot of the half going well wide. Just before the hour mark, Cook had the visitors’ first chance of the second period but from that moment on it was Preston who always looked the more likely.

Barkhuizen had a shot blocked quickly followed by an Evans effort blocked for a corner. Huntington then had a header blocked as North End charged forward. Sinclair and Barky were swapped for Maguire and Gordon and four minutes later North End were level.

Johnson intercepted a pass and ran forward about 15 yards before curling a superb shot into the corner of the net. It was North End on top now but we just couldn't create another clear cut chance that would surely have won us the game. Cunningham was booked late on and a Whiteman shot was saved as North End saw the game out comfortably for a really well earned point.

A really gritty comeback by the boys in this game and to be fair the goal we conceded should really have been defended better. We looked out of sorts for such a long time but we kept going and everyone should take some credit for that.

I thought Sepp van den Berg was again really good for PNE at right back and the lad seems to be getting better every game. He was just about edged out of the man of the match by Daniel Iversen who made those saves in the first half when Bournemouth could really have been out of sight.

The influence of Gordon and Maguire should not be underestimated when they came on but all in all a very satisfactory afternoon, eventually for PNE.

No game midweek for North End and a chance to recharge those batteries ready for the trip to Wycombe next Saturday when North End will be looking to avenge that awful defeat we suffered in the third round of the FA Cup earlier this year.

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