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Match Report


Posted Thu 21 Jun 12 at 21:38 PM

Cherries settle for point

The Cherries were forced to settle for a point after substitute Akpo Sodje struck 15 minutes from time.

Tommy Elphick had put the hosts in front at the start of the second half but they were pegged back by Sodje’s powerful header in the dying stages.

Paul Groves’ side had to play for more than an hour with ten men after Harry Arter was sent off for two bookable offences inside the first half an hour.

Both teams had chances to win the game in the final ten minutes, but the draw means the Cherries extended their unbeaten run to three games.

The Cherries boss made two changes to the team that earned a point against MK Dons on Tuesday, with Wes Thomas reinstated to the starting line-up and Elphick making his home debut. 

The Cherries were the better of the two sides in the opening stages, and Arter saw his long-range effort fly over the bar with five minutes gone.

Full-back Scott Laird sent Preston’s first chance of the afternoon wide after he picked up a loose ball inside the penalty area, but the hosts were soon on the attack.

Thomas had his shot from a tight angle saved by goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann, before heading wide at the end of a well worked move from Groves’ side.

Joe Partington set Marc Pugh away down the right flank, and he picked out Thomas on the edge of the six yard box after some of his trademark twists and turns.

The January signing couldn’t quite leap high enough to steer his header goalwards and the ball bounced wide.

Minutes later, he was sent clear by Eunan O’Kane’s clearance and carried the ball half the length of the pitch under pressure from Bailey Wright, but was unable to find a way past the Preston ‘keeper.

After 25 minutes the Cherries were reduced to ten men when Arter received his second yellow card of the afternoon. 

The midfielder had already been booked for preventing Laird take a free-kick midway inside the Preston half, and worked his way into referee Carl Berry’s notebook for a second time after bringing down Lee Holmes in front of the Steve Fletcher Stand.

Groves opted to keep Thomas and Lee Barnard up front, with a three-man midfield made up of O’Kane, Pugh and Partington supporting the pair.

With Preston in the ascendency, Holmes cut in from the left and forced a solid stop from Shwan Jalal with his 20 yard strike.

It took some brave defending from Simon Francis to stop Keith Keane putting Graham Westley’s side ahead at the start of the second half, and substitute Jeffrey Monakana went close after a mesmerising run from deep.

North End full-back Wright appeared to be fortunate to be shown just a yellow card after a heavy tackle on Pugh, but the winger dusted himself down in time to put in an inswinging cross which was headed home by Elphick.

The 24-year-old, who became the club’s eight signing of the summer earlier this month, darted to the front post and glanced the ball beyond Stuckmann.

Groves reshuffled his team just after the hour mark, sending on Lewis Grabban in place of Barnard, while Preston boss Westley tried to inject some urgency into his side with a double swap.

With 20 minutes to play Thomas maintained the lead for his side when he hacked Wright’s header off the line.

The visitor’s pressure paid shortly afterwards when Sodje sent a storming header past Jalal off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

With the final whistle calling, the Cherries were hanging on and it took some resolute defending to keep out Preston.

The fourth official indicated five minutes of added time and hopes of a late winner were dashed when Shaun MacDonald dragged his shot well wide.

Cherries: Jalal, Francis, Elphick, Addison, Daniels, O’Kane (MacDonald, 58), Partington (Cook, 85), Arter, Pugh, Barnard (Grabban, 61), Thomas.

Substitutes: Flahavan, Cook, Zubar, MacDonald, McDermott, Tubbs, Grabban.

Goal: Elphick (52)

Booked: Daniels.

Sent off: Arter.

Preston: Stuckmann, Keane, Huntingdon, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wright, Amoo (Buchanan, 64), Wroe, King (Sodje, 64), Laird, Beardsley, Holmes (Monakana, 39).

Substitutes: Simonsen, Robertson, Sodje, Buchanan, Procter, Welsh.

Goal: Sodje (74).

Booked: Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Wright, Keane.

Attendance: 5, 329 (348 Preston supporters).

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