Dave Seddon's verdict: AFC Bournemouth 2 Preston North End 3 - the most satisfying win of the season for the Lilywhites but at a cost

Save for the injury to Patrick Bauer which could rule him out for many months, Preston North End’s victory over AFC Bournemouth ticked the box of being the most satisfying of the season to date.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 8:00 am
Scott Sinclair is congratulated after scoring Preston North End's second goal at Bournemouth
Scott Sinclair is congratulated after scoring Preston North End's second goal at Bournemouth

For starters, PNE played as well as they have done all campaign, this being no fluke result against a side who only needed a draw to go top of the Championship table.

The three goals they scored were all quality in their own right, Scott Sinclair’s strike standing out by the fact it flew in from 40 yards.

However, there was plenty to admire about the counter attack for Tom Barkhuizen’s opener and then the way the Cherries were picked open for the third scored by Bauer.

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PNE skipper Alan Browne on the run against Bournemouth

North End did make it harder for themselves than was necessary by conceding two goals which shredded the nerves late on.

From cruising at 3-0, they had to hang on, but somehow that made it more satisfying when the final whistle blew.

Victory on the south coast came after two defeats in which PNE’s credentials and that of their manager, had been doubted by some of the supporters.

It was just a week on from that calamitous derby reverse to Blackburn which hurt the faithful so much.

North End midfielder Daniel Johnson slides in on Bournemouth's Lewis Cook

They’d been better at Watford but the scoreline still read 4-1.

Few probably gave them a chance of getting something at Bournemouth who boast a squad still packed full of players who performed in the Premier League until a few months ago.

Jefferson Lerma cost £25m, Chris Mepham £12m, David Brooks £11.5m and Dominic Solanke £17m.

Rodrigro Riquelme, on loan from Atletico Madrid, got his full debut after five sub appearances. That lasted 45 minutes before being subbed to save him a further bullying from Alan Browne – playing as an emergency right-back.

PNE's Ryan Ledson challenges Bournemouth's David Brooks

It was just a shame the three points gathered in Boscombe came at the cost of Bauer’s injury – a suspected torn Achilles tendon.

If he requires surgery, the German defender’s season might be over already.

This was a fifth victory on the road for Alex Neil’s men and as I’ve reasoned, the best of the lot.

They were a threat going forward, they passed the ball ever so well in spells, their back four solid until that late wobble.

Neil’s 4-2-3-1 formation has taken a hammering at times this season, especially when he played it at home.

It did the job in dismantling Bournemouth though, the line led impressively by Sean Maguire, supported from wide by Barkhuizen and Sinclair, with Daniel Johnson behind.

Ben Pearson and Ryan Ledson patrolled slightly deeper but also got forward when the chance arose.

North End pressed the home side, made them go long from the back which was out of their comfort zone.

This was Bournemouth’s first home league defeat of the season, in fact their first Championship loss at the Vitality Stadium since January 2015.

Norwich beat them back then and guess who was the Canaries manager that day? That’s right, Alex Neil.

North End went in front in the 16th with a move which started well inside their own half of the pitch.

Johnson headed clear a free-kick on the edge of the box, Sinclair first to the loose ball and playing it up to Maguire on half-way.

Maguire pass released DJ down the left, the midfielder sweeping over a fine cross of the run which just evaded Sinclair but was finished at the far post by Barkhuizen.

Sinclair doubled PNE’s lead in the 49th minute, Browne’s ball out of defence flicked on by Maguire.

There didn’t look much on but Sinclair took it across the covering defender and sent a shot sailing over the keeper from some distance out.

Bauer slid in to turn a fine low cross from Johnson into the net via the post in the 68th minute, Maguire's lay-off and Sinclair's pass having worked the ball to Johnson.

The lead was narrowed by Junior Stanislas’ free-kick three minutes later, then substitute Sam Surridge – a one-time loan target of PNE – headed a second in the 86th minute.

Bauer’s night ended early in stoppage-time, it distressing to hear him in great pain. Speedy recovery Patrick.

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