Saturday, 16 February 2013

AFCB slip up at Preston


Match Description
Preston North End 2: 0 AFCB
16 February 2013

It was all going so well, wasn't it? The Cherries are still momentarily top of the league but they missed a great chance to extend their lead and put pressure on those just below having been rather out of sorts at Deepdale where a rejuvenated Preston side made a mockery of the League One table.


While the Cherry's side looked strong on paper they didn't get going against a determined Lillywhite team that had lost their manager last week. Howe made three changes to the team with O'Kane, MacQuoid and Hughes dropping to the bench. In came MacDonald, Painter and Pugh. Right from the start it was the home team that were making the running. Beavon was causing all kinds of problems for the Cherries defence and on 19 minutes he struck a shot from 20 yards out that put the Cherries one nil down. 


Things just weren't happening for the Cherries and after 31 minutes Preston went two up after Wright's toe poke found its way into the net. It went from bad to worse as Pugh was struggling and had to be subbed for O'Kane. Pitman dropped in to make a midfield five, with Macca just playing in front of the defence, but it didn't change the pattern of play.

At half time Eddie Howe made another change with Wes Fogden replacing Pointer and AFCB reverting to a 3-5-3 formation. Arter was tackling hard and managed to make a last gasp saving challenge when Hayhurst was bearing down on goal. Jalal was made to make a save from Beavon -  it was one way traffic. Even when Arter made way for Tubbs, just seven minutes into the second half, AFCB could not turn on the form that had propelled them to the top of the league. Late on in the second half Monakana, the Arsenal loanee, who had replaced Hayhurst, wove past three AFCB players as if they weren't there but drove his shot wide of Jalal's goal. The score could have been worse!

Macca came back into the team as he was fit and available while O'Kane had admitted that he was tired and heavy legged in the week, so Howe wanted to give him a breather. Eddie stressed that Pointer had not had any training with the team and that his inclusion gave the Cherries a chance to play Ritchie on the right wing instead of filling in at left back.

Howe remained optimistic although they were disappointed and would have to analyse the game. "We didn't expect to be in this position," he reminded everyone. "It's important that we respond in the right fashion."

Howe remained optimistic although they were disappointed and would have to analyse the game. "We didn't expect to be in this position," he reminded everyone. "It's important that we respond in the right fashion."
In his post match interview with BBC Solent Radio, Howe had to comment that: "We were not at our best today....Its not happened all season, but we were second best. It's the first time since coming back. We were slow out of the traps," he continued. "We had no concerted pressure on their goal." 


Howe reiterated that we have some massive games coming up and that the travel and poor pitch did not help the performance at Deepdale. "We have to think of our long term vision, it's no good looking back," he said. 


when asked about the changing formations Howe replied: "We tried to get a foothold in the game but we did not get to grips with their midfield. There were bigger things today that caused our downfall."


Keep the faith everyone. Two defeats in 22 games isn't bad going.

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