DEFENDER Chris Mepham admitted Cherries “lacked a little bit of sharpness” as their unbeaten Championship record went up in smoke against Preston.

The Dorset club were beaten 2-1 against the Lillywhites, with goals from Ali McCann and Ben Whiteman wiping out Philip Billing’s goal on the hour mark.

Mepham, who was deployed as a makeshift left-back in place of the injured Jordan Zemura, told the Daily Echo: “It was frustrating.

“There were a lot of bodies behind the ball and the onus was on us to take the game to them and to try to break them down.

“I don’t really think we ever really played at our absolute best, which was frustrating.

“We lacked a little bit of sharpness, a bit of intensity about us. I am sure we will look back at it and analyse where we could have improved but it was a frustrating result.

“But over many games, we have shown how good we’ve been and for this to be the first loss of the season, I think it shows how well we have done and the direction we are going in.”

The loss was Cherries first in the division after 16 games of the league campaign.

Both goals from the visitors came from crosses into the box, something Mepham felt was disappointing.

“The goals were really frustrating,” he added.

“It’s not like they were two really well worked goals. We got caught out of position a little bit and two crosses into the box we didn’t completely deal with.

“On the whole, this season we have looked unbelievable defensively. We haven’t really given many teams opportunities to score against us.

“To concede two is very frustrating but hopefully it’s just a little blip in what will be hopefully a very positive season.”

Cherries’ lead at the Championship was cut to two points after Fulham’s 7-0 win against Blackburn.