Alexander Signs Off In Style
Updated Saturday, 28th April 2012
Preston came back from two goals down against champions Charlton but the headlines all belong to Graham Alexander who played for the final time at Deepdale.
Westley changed his side in an attempt to find out more about where his side might be heading next season. Arestidou was given a try out behind the same back four. Coutts played in midfield ahead of Ehmer and Hunt who anchored themselves int he middle of the park. Jamie Proctor returned to start up front supported by Holyroyd and Mayor.
Preston started the game poorly and their defensive frailties had returned to allow Charlton an easy ride in the first half. Westley had meant to have tightened the defence whilst working ont he attck in the summer but the first half was a return to the Darren Ferguson days.
Charlton played a long ball up but whilst there was a hint of offside the Whites failed to clear on more than one occasion. The Charlton attacker was second best but still got to the ball. Preston still should have dealt with the situation when they failed to put a tackle in. Arestidou came racing out of his goal and the ball was slotted past him.
Around half an hour had gone when Charlton doubled their lead. Arestidou passed to Gray who then returned an underhit back pass allowing for Charlton to nip in and score an easy second past the dumbstruck keeper.
The visitors were cruising in just the way they wanted. They had exerted no energy and hadn't really pressed forward but had been gifted a two goal lead. It looked like Preston had undone themselves before they even got started.
Gray was replaced at half time as debutant Fairhurst from the youth set up came on to play on the left wing with Hunt slotting in at right back as Preston reverted to a 4-4-2.
The change seemed to help Preston as they had a bit more of the ball and without creating much but there was certainly more energy whic concerned Charlton.
Almost without warning Preston took the lead. A corner was headed clear only to fall at the feet of Hunt who was twenty five yards out. He shot on the volley through a crowd of people. The shot took a slight deflection and the keeper was unable to scramble acorss as the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Preston looked to go forward and Morgan was denied a goal when he stabbed a shot towards goal forcing an incredible save from the Charlton goalkeeper.
The crowd chanted for Alexander to come on from the bench and with less than ten minutes to play Alexander came on to slot into his old position of right back.
The clock was ticking towards ninety when Preston were awarded a free kick just outside the box towards the right. Alexander waved off all pretenders and duly curled the free kick round the wall into the corner past the stranded keeper. He celebrated in style with the rest of the players running into the town end. When he started his career it would have been acceptable to celebrate like he did but these days he was given one final yellow card for his elaborate celebration to go with his final goal.
The manager will be satisified that Preston managed to come back against a side that will be playing Championship football next season as well as keeping up their unbeaten run. There is a lot to be done if Preston are to follow in Charlton's footsteps next season but for the moment we remember Grama Alexander's service to football as he took a man of the match award having only played over five minutes.
|28 Apr 2012|
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