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Preston make Blues pay at the back

Preston make Blues pay at the back

Wycombe Wanderers 3 Preston North End 4


Hot on the heels of their hard-fought victory over Sheffield United on Saturday, the Blues treated their fans to another high-tempo performance in tonight's thriller against Preston, but this time there was no happy ending.

Two goals down after only nine minutes, Wycombe staged a remarkable comeback to lead 3-2 just eighteen minutes later, but with Preston groggy on the ropes, a fourth goal eluded the Blues and the visitors fought back to take all three points.

Wycombe started strongly with new signing Martin Rowlands firing one over the bar and Scott Donnelly trying to catch Arestidou off his line with an audacious shot from 50 yards out.

It was clear the Blues intended to carry on where they left off against the Blades, but within minutes their hopes were seemingly crushed.

Preston's first goal came from a simple set piece, Neil Mellor scoring from close range after 7 minutes when Clarke Carlisle nodded a free kick back across the danger area. It was far too easy.

Things looked very bleak indeed two minutes later when the visitors doubled their lead with an embarrassingly simple counter-attack from a Wycombe corner - Iain Hulme collecting a pass from Mellor and lashing the ball past Nikki Bull.

It's worth pointing out that when Marvin McCoy plays, he's the one who stays back for corners and his pace may well have prevented the goal.

Three minutes later Gareth Ainsworth went down just outside the Preston penalty area and when Andy Sandell's free kick was fumbled by the keeper, the veteran winger was on hand to fire the ball home.

On the other wing, Kadeem Harris was busy adding noughts to his transfer value. Having clearly taken confidence from his first ever start on Saturday, the youngster was giving full back Conor McLaughlin a torrid time and when he was brought down after 14 minutes the Blues were awarded a penalty.

Scott Donnelly slotted it low to the keeper's right and Wycombe were back on level terms.

Harris and Ainsworth combined to win a corner after 26 minutes and when Beavon met Donnelly's delivery at the near post to give the Blues a 3-2 lead, the stadium erupted.

Wycombe were well on top now, and before the break there was still time for Beavon to force a fine save from Arestidou, Stuart Lewis to hit the post and Preston manager Phill Brown to end McLaughlin's misery by replacing him.

The start of the second half saw both keepers make crucial saves, Bull hurting himself diving at Mellor's feet, and Arestidou thwarting Leon Johnson from point blank range.

Beavon was brilliant again tonight and when he worked his magic near the corner flag, darted towards goal and laid the ball back to Harris, 4-2 looked a certainty but the youngster fired his shot into the side netting.

After 64 minutes Preston scored their second breakaway goal of the evening and again it came directly from a Wycombe corner. This time Barry Nicholson hit a 40 yard pass upfield and Iain Hume (who's hardly Usain Bolt) left the Wycombe defenders in his wake and dinked the ball past Bull.

It's worth pointing out that when Marvin McCoy plays, he's the one who stays back for corners and his pace may well have prevented the goal.

A point was the least Wycombe deserved for their efforts tonight and it was heartbreaking when Mellor made it 4-3 to the Lilywhites after 73 minutes. The visitors had been targetting Wycombe's left flank throughout the second half and it was from one such foray that Coutts and Gray combined, the latter firing a low cross to the near post where Mellor pounced to smash it home.

There was much to be proud of in Wycombe's performance but it's difficult not to be disappointed when you hear a group of Preston fans walking down Hillbottom Road after the game saying they would have happily taken a draw at half-time.

Man of the Match - Kadeem Harris

Wycombe line-up & ratings
Bull (6), Foster (5), Tunnicliffe (6), Johnson (7), Sandell (5), Ainsworth (6) (Strevens 69 (5)), Lewis (7), Donnelly (7), Rowlands (7) (Benyon 85 (n/a)), Harris (8), Beavon (8)



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Writer:Len
Date:Wednesday September 28 2011
Time: 3:36AM

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P Oxford 46 24 14 8 86 43
P Bristol Rovers 46 26 7 13 85 31
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