Preston end Cherries' unbeaten start
- David Webb
Ali McCann’s late winner saw bogey team Preston North End halt AFC Bournemouth’s impressive unbeaten start in the Championship.
McCann struck 12 minutes from time as the Lilywhites’s 2-0 win saw them register a third successive victory at Vitality Stadium.
Ben Whiteman drew first blood for the visitors after 52 minutes before Phil Billing restored parity with his sixth goal of the season on the hour.
Chris Mepham, Ben Pearson and Jamal Lowe returned to the starting line-up as head coach Scott Parker made three changes following the 2-0 win at Reading on Saturday.
Mepham, named yesterday in the Wales squad for World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Belgium, replaced Jordan Zemura who took a heavy blow to his ankle at Reading.
Pearson, who spent five years with Preston before joining the Cherries in January, came in for Gavin Kilkenny having replaced the Dubliner at half-time against the Royals.
Lowe, fresh from his goalscoring exploits against Bristol City and Reading, was rewarded with his second start for the club, the frontman coming in for Jaidon Anthony.
Kilkenny and Anthony were both named among the Cherries substitutes with recent recruit Robbie Brady included in the matchday squad for the first time since arriving last month.
Chances were at a premium during a cagey opening, Preston defender Patrick Bauer nipping in ahead of Dominic Solanke to cut out Jack Stacey’s low cross.
Sepp van den Berg’s foul on Solanke set up a shooting opportunity for Phil Billing but his free-kick from an angle curled wide of Daniel Iversen’s post.
Tom Barkhuizen threatened to test Mark Travers after galloping into the 18-yard box, the midfielder firing well wide from a promising position.
Ben Pearson required a spell of treatment following a coming-together with Sean Maguire before Stacey headed clear from Barkhuizen’s dangerous cross.
Ben Whiteman’s corner eventually fell to the feet of Josh Earl and, after he had taken aim, Lloyd Kelly was in the right place to prevent the ball reaching Travers.
Bauer’s timely tackle prevented Solanke from latching on to Christie’s pass from deep with Kelly failing to make good contact after the corner had been despatched.
Preston took the lead when Whiteman drilled an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net after Ali McCann had touched Barkhuizen’s cross into his path seven minutes after the break.
Jefferson Lerma was booked for a foul on McCann, the Preston midfielder sustaining a blow to the head after then tumbling into an advertising hoarding.
Billing netted to draw the Cherries level on the hour, the Danish midfielder adding a finely-executed sixth goal of the season.
The goal owed much to Stacey whose driven low cross from the right bounced off Andrew Hughes before landing at Billing’s feet.
Billing showed some neat footwork to sidestep Alan Browne before firing a left-foot shot out of Iversen’s reach and into the bottom corner.
Hughes almost sliced Lowe’s cross past his own goalkeeper after Lerma’s clever lob had found him before Mepham’s speculative effort was unconvincingly turned past the post by Iversen.
Preston regained the lead in the 78th minute when McCann arrived to sweep Riis’s cross past Travers.
The Cherries goalkeeper denied the Lilywhites a third goal, saving with his legs from Riis after the Danish striker had gone clear.
Iversen made a crucial save to keep out Lowe’s effort, the Danish goalkeeper getting to his feet having blocked Stacey’s initial shot and sticking out a leg to thwart the former Swansea man.
Although the Cherries laid siege to the Preston goal in the closing stages, they were unable to come back for a second time with Iversen punching Jaidon Anthony's effort over the crossbar.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Stacey, Kelly, Cahill, Mepham (Rogers, 77), Lerma, Pearson (Anthony, 66), Billing, Christie (Marcondes, 83), Solanke, Lowe.
Unused subs: Brady, L Cook, Kilkenny, Dennis (g/k).
Booked: Lerma, Mepham, Billing.
Preston North End: Iversen, van den Berg, Bauer, Hughes, Barkhuizen, McCann (Johnson, 89), Whiteman, Earl (Cunningham, 71), Browne, Riis, Maguire (Potts, 71).
Unused subs: Storey, Ledson, Sinclair, Hudson (g/k).
Referee: David Webb.