Date: 11 March 2000
No real surprise that the team currently occupying the second automatic promotion place, and with such a good record away from home, should beat us. But there were still two reasons to be disappointed with this game and result:
Firstly Preston were, for much of the game, not all that brilliant. Bournemouth dominated, for example, the last 30 minutes of the first half but achieved nothing. And perhaps most worrying was that we had so few shots on goal - about three in total, including the Stein 'goal' that was ruled offside.
Secondly we had a near full squad available. No-one was suspended, only Dean was absent on loan (and he could be recalled), and only newcomer Sherrin is currently injured, apart from long term injuries Watson and Bailey who may or may not play again. So either our squad just isn't good enough, or Machin doesn't know whom to select. Certainly his substitution choices were, once again, suspect. O'Shea and Mean dropped out, reducing the central defence to two. O'Neill and Hayter took their places. Later, Carl Fletcher took Hughes' place.
Recent changes to the team seem to have unsettled the players. Having said that, Warren and Jorgensen quickly developed an understanding on the left; and there were hints of a developing understanding between Stein and Robinson.
The winning goal rolled slowly and absurdly into the corner of the net, three minutes into the second half. Loan signing Brett Angell, who had already scored against the Cherries on two occasions this season (once a hat-trick) was once again responsible. Tragically the Cherries appeared to 'sit on' this one goal deficit for the remainder of the game. "Machin out" was again the cry, and I'm beginning to agree.
My scores out of ten :
Howe (7), O'Shea (7), Warren(7);
Young (6), Mean (5), Robinson (5), Jorgensen (8);
S Fletcher (6), Stein (6)