A goal from Ben Whiteman and Ali McCann’s first strike in Preston North End colours handed Scott Parker’s AFC Bournemouth their first league defeat of the season, with North End winning 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium.
After a cagey first half, Whiteman fired into the top corner after Tom Barkhuizen’s cross, but within six minutes the Cherries were level, when Philip Billing’s effort took a deflection off the outstanding Patrick Bauer.
But a superb run from Emil Riis down the left-hand side saw him pull the ball back for McCann to sweep home with 12 minutes to go to put the Lilywhites back in front; and a world-class stop from Daniel Iversen in the closing stages saw the visitors take the three points.
It was a completely unchanged 18 for Frankie McAvoy’s men from the side that had beaten Luton Town the previous weekend when the team sheet was handed in, but an injury to Declan Rudd in the warm-up saw him replaced on the bench by Mathew Hudson.
The first half an hour was a pretty tight affair, with the only opportunity going the way of the home side; a 13th minute foul by Sepp van den Berg on Dominic Solanke, 20 yards out, ten yards to the left of the ‘D’ leading to a free-kick that Billing took, up and over the wall, but wide of the right-hand post, not troubling Iversen.
But in the last third of the opening period North End grew into the game and their first chance came when Barkhuizen broke and sprinted away from former North Ender Ben Pearson down the right, cut inside, but couldn’t drag his shot enough across to test Mark Travers.
Shortly afterwards, good play saw Sean Maguire rob Pearson in the middle of the park and he found Barkhuizen. The ball went onvto McCann, who reversed the ball back to Barkhuizen to whip over a cross, Gary Cahill conceding a corner, with Riis waiting to finish.
From the resulting cross from Whiteman, home skipper Lloyd Kelly made a vital block from a Josh Earl shot as the ball ricocheted around in the box, before it was eventually booted clear by Jefferson Lerma.
But the game came to life after the interval and PNE had the lead seven minutes into the second half. Maguire held up the ball and found Barkhuizen out on the right; he got his head up and delivered a superb low ball into the penalty area that McCann flicked into the path of Whiteman, who drilled a shot from 12 yards into the top right-hand corner of the goal, giving Travers no chance.
However, the home side were level on the hour mark. Having been lucky moments earlier not to be down to ten men after Jefferson Lerma’s horrible tackle on Ali McCann, the ball fell for Billing in the box and he shot goalwards, a deflection off Bauer taking it into the bottom left-hand corner.
After such a tight first half, the second was very open following the goals, and Chris Mepham was a surprise shooter on 74 minutes, his effort from 25 yards needing a helping hand around the post by Iversen, before Brad Potts and Greg Cunningham were brought on for Maguire and Earl.
But on 78 minutes the visiting side were back in front. It was brilliant play from Riis, who raced down the left and got away from Jack Stacey, holding him off, before pulling the ball back to McCann, 12 yards out, who swept the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, much to the delight of over 300 fans who had made the long trip down.
And they then had a brilliant double-chance to make it three, as Cunningham sent Riis down the left; he left Gary Cahill for dead, and was one-on-one with Travers, but the Cherries stopper made a fine save, with the ball coming back out to Potts, who dragged his left-footed shot just wide of the right-hand upright from 20 yards.
Iversen didn't have all that much to do in the final 20 minutes, until the 85th minute mark and he produced an incredible double save, as Jack Stacey fired in a low shot from 20 yards that the Dane got down low to stop, but it was his reaction to get up and somehow get something on the follow up from Jamal Lowe that was world-class from the custodian and kept his side ahead.
Despite late pressure, the PNE team defended brilliantly to take their first league victory on the road in 2021/22.
AFC Bournemouth line-up: Travers, Kelly (c), Mepham (Rogers, 77), Lerma, Solanke, Christie (Marcondes, 84), Stacey, Lowe, Pearson (Anthony, 66), Cahill, Billing. Subs not used: Dennis, Cook, Brady, Kilkenny.
PNE line-up: Iversen, van den Berg, Bauer, Hughes, Barkhuizen, McCann (Johnson, 89), Whiteman, Earl (Cunningham, 75), Browne (c), Maguire (Potts, 75), Riis. Subs not used: Hudson, Storey, Ledson, Sinclair.
Attendance: 8,578 (307 PNE fans)
Referee: Mr D Webb