Have we all just about recovered from that one? We don’t do things the easy way, do we? But, get in!
What an important win that was! North End become the first Championship team to leave the Vitality Stadium with all 3 points this season and the first in this league since January 2015. Here are 5 things we learned from the 3-2 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday night.
He’s Beautiful, Magical
The goal to put us 2-0 up was wonderful and it’s that bit of brilliance that Scotty Sinclair can deliver out of the blue that can be so crucial for us. He has and will win points for us on his own.
The vision and the technique of his strike to lob Asmir Begovic from 35 yards was superb. Begovic is a top-class ‘keeper as well, who has spent the majority of his career in the Premier League and was on loan at AC Milan last season. The celebrations on the bench and from Sinclair’s teammates showed how important that goal was and how skillful it was as well.
He’s now on 6 goals for the season and his overall performance on Tuesday deserves a lot of credit.
Barky’s Goal a Classic Counter That We’ve Seen Before
The first goal is well worth watching back a few times. A fantastic counter-attacking move that reminded me of Alan Browne’s opener away to Leeds United last season.
It started with us defending a free-kick and Daniel Johnson heading the ball away. Sinclair then held the ball up well before releasing Seani Maguire down the left. DJ sprinted a good 50 yards up the pitch to overlap him before whipping in a great ball to Tom Barkhuizen to apply the finish. A great, counter-attacking, team goal.
Ben Pearson Is Pure Class
Oh, Ben how we’ve missed you!
Pearo showed exactly why we love him against the Cherries. A superb performance that was full of passion and desire and was just exactly what we needed. In truth all of ‘big 4’ were brilliant and we’re clearly a much stronger team with them all in the starting eleven. It’s the first time this season they’ve all started together.
Pearson and Ben Davies have missed the best part of 6 weeks only recently returning to the side. DJ missed the first few games of the season and Alan Browne has had COVID-19 and a suspension meaning his season has been quite stop-start recently. A lot of fuss has been made about these players and you have to feel for Alex Neil not having the option to select all of them until the 15th league game of the season.
Peter Ridsdale has said they have strong contracts on the table, let’s hope they do sign. One final note on Ben, this tweet below is just another example if why we love him at North End. Who doesn’t love a good shithouse?
Ah there you go. And there was another word after 'he's'.https://t.co/tGY86DNRPm— George Hodgson (@GHodgsonSport) December 1, 2020
Alex Neil Pulls it Out Of The Bag Again
It’s fair to say some pressure was mounting against Alex Neil particularly after the shocking result against Blackburn Rovers. We’ve been here before though.
We started the 2018-19 season very badly and we traveled to Villa Park in last place in the league on a night where a cabbage was thrown at Steve Bruce. 2-0 down at half time we managed to take a 3-2 lead in the second half. Despite not being able to hold onto that one and only taking away a point, it revitalised our season.
Similarities in both performances were shown by the passion of the players in the goal celebrations. They are playing for Alex Neil and they are giving their all for the club. The other week I questioned the leadership in the team but it was definitely on show on Tuesday night. Go and give Jake’s latest piece a read.
Nasty Injury for Bauer, New Contract for Hunts
10 minutes of stoppage time were played at the end of the game making it a very nerve-wracking experience for the North End faithful. It was mainly down to an injury suffered by our 3rd goal scorer on the night, Patrick Bauer.
He went down late on and had to be stretchered off and Alex Neil after the match said he looks to have done his Achilles. It could be a potential season-ender for the German. Devastating if true.
It makes it even more crucial that Ben Davies doesn’t leave in January but it looks as if Paul Huntington will be staying in Preston for a 10th season. The Lancashire Post reported on Tuesday that he has been offered a new contract.
The Cumbrian Cannavaro has been a great servant to the club and in my opinion, there is no harm in extending his contract. The 33-year-old always puts in a good display for us and loves this club.
No matter how long he’s been out of the side he rarely lets us down. He’s only going to be our 4th choice centre-back so instead of letting him go and spending another £750k on a young, up-and-coming defender like we did in Jordan Storey let’s keep Hunts in the squad for another year and invest elsewhere.
For me, you also need his experience on the training ground and in the changing room. You can’t underestimate that, and when we do win games you can tell it matters to Hunts than anyone else and this extension is well deserved in my opinion.
Episode number 19 of the podcast is available to stream on the majority of podcast platforms now and below. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter either – @fromthefinney.