Monday, 26 January 2015

Cherries knocked out of cup by strong Villa second half

Match Report
Aston Villa 2 v 1 AFCB
FA Cup Fourth Round
25 January 2015
Attendance: (27,415 including 5800 AFCB fans)
The Holt End.
AFCB travelled in their numbers to Villa Park in the hope of a cup upset. Villa had been struggling to score and from what we saw up to half time they did not unduly hurt the Cherries who came in at half time all square at 0-0. It was all about the second half though and a wonder strike from Carles Gil, Villa's new signing from Valencia. He hit a superb cross shot into the top corner to put Villa one up on 51 minutes and the seven times cup champions just grew in strength with a second goal coming 19 minutes later on the break from a fast worked move with Alan Hutton providing the assist for Andreas Weimann. 
AFCB line up with Villa.
Bournemouth had come close in the first half with a strong drive from Eunan O'Kane, and while Shay Given had certainly been worked it was not until the 91 minute that the Cherries finally had something to cheer about when Callum Wilson converted a close range chance from Ryan Fraser. It was sadly too late, but at least the Cherries looked like they  could more than hold their own against Villa side that they will hope to play next season if the Cherries can win promotion from the Championship. 
AFCB players wish each other luck.
Getting ready for the coin toss.
More pictures are on the Match Day Gallery.

Eddie Howe made eight changes from the Cherries' last league game against Leeds Utd with only Tommy Elphick, Harry Arter and Steve Cook retaining their starting places. It was also good to see Elliott Ward on the bench.

AFCB went into the game knowing that the first goal would be massive with Villa proving goal shy at home and it wasn't long before Shaun MacDonald saw his deflected shot fly over from a cross from Ryan Fraser. It seemed that MacDonald was one of the main runners from midfield that would look to get past Yann Kermorgant when the French forward could hold up play. Harry Arter was partnering MacDonald in midfield and he had a shot that made Given swoop to his left after just eight minutes.


Aston Villa showed that they knew where the goal was too though as Andreas Wiemann headed just wide of goal a minute later. The match was quite physical and Yann Kermorgant went down in the box with Clark in the vain hope of a penalty, but Mike Dean was giving nothing. AFCB's best move of the half came on 19 minutes when Stanislas, Arter and Cook kept possession before Ian Harte found Harry Arter who played a good through ball to MacDonald, who ran on to it well and rounded Shay Given, only for his weak shot to give Kieran Richardson enough time to clear the ball off the line.

Aston Villa's main play maker and threat was Carles Gil who moved around the pitch as if he was a class ahead of everyone else on both sides. He demanded the ball and looked fully in control when ever he was on the ball and he made Villa tick.

Adam Smith also looked lively for AFCB and he went on a few string runs only to usually lose out when he tried one man too many. Fraser was also industrious on the wing but he was up against an experienced pro in Alan Hutton. We could see Villa's problems all too clearly in this first half though with Weimann and Cleverley shooting well wide. Lee Camp was hardly employed.  


Shay Given though was warming his hands fairly frequently as Eunan O'Kane raised the temperature with his powerful low drive on 32 minutes from outside the box, which had Given at full stretch making a save for a corner. Eunan also shot over after a second corner in a row as AFCB started to build up pressure.

Villa were not doing any better with their corners as AFCB were quick to block and then try and exploit Ryan Fraser's pace on the break. It was Yann Kermorgant though who almost found his way clear through when Jores Kore made a clean rescue tackle in the box just before half time. Nil-nil at half time was no more than the Cherries deserved and there was no need to be anything but confident that the Cherries could get a result from this game.
The players are back after half time.
Roy Spencer looks forward to Aston Villa v AFCB.

Lee and Ben pre-match thoughts at Villa Park.
Second Half
Aston Villa came out with much more purpose in the second 45 minutes. They had been lacklustre in front of goal and looked to change that straight away. They began by keeping possession well and Carles Gil had a great chance to open the scoring when Benteke drove across the box beating several AFCB players and then laying off the ball to Gil, who shot into the side netting in the 47th minute. He need not have been too despondent though as on 54 minutes he was fed a ball from Leandro Bacuna that forced him out to the right side, but Gil came inside Harte and angled his shot back across goal to find the top corner and Villa were one -up! 

Suddenly the whole game looked a much harder game for the Cherries. Villa started to pop the ball about with much more authority and the Cherries were struggling to get a clear sight of goal. Eddie Howe tried to change things up on 60 minutes as Simon Francis and Callum Wilson replaced Ian Harte and Yann Kermorgant. That saw Adam Smith switch to left back and Francis take up his customary right back role.

Alan Hutton welcomed Wilson by flattening him and picking up a yellow card. AFCB were not holding on to possession for long enough and when they did it was only going from side to side and the penetration was lacking. Aston Villa were starting to look comfortable and that was made to look even more so on 71 minutes when the head bandaged O'Kane lost the ball and a break for Villa saw Bacuna play a ball down the line to Hutton, who slipped in Weimann who finished with a simple side foot past a diving Lee Camp into the bottom left corner. It was 2-0 and Villa had turned themselves from a team that never looked like scoring into a team that was finishing with panache.

AFCB kept plugging away though and Junior Stanislas came close to getting on the end of an Adam Smith cross before he was subbed for Matt Ritchie to come on. Another great move involved Ryan Fraser slipping in Callum Wilson, but Kieran Richardson  timed a last second tackle to only concede a corner when Wilson could so nearly have been in on goal.

Carlos Gil came off to lots of applause and Ashley Westwood came on with two minutes to go. Shay Given was trying to waste all of that time by remonstrating with the referee that Callum Wilson was less than 10 yards away from his free kick, but it was obvious what the old pro was up to. Francis came the closest for AFCB in the final minutes of normal time as he blasted a shot into the side netting.

Four minutes of extra time was not long to create anything and some had already made their way out of the exit gates, but Ryan Fraser had not given up and he found Ritchie who fed Smith and his low cross was met by Callum Wilson, who got there before Shay Given and Richardson, to steer it into the net from six yards out, 2-1. At least the Cherries had scored. Even then there was enough time left for Westwood to go through one-on-one with Lee Camp and Camp managed to get his fingers on the ball and make a save for a corner.

The last minute allowed Paul Lambert just enough time to put on Jack Grealish for Bacuna, but time was played out by one of the AFCB corner flags. The FA Cup was over for another year for the Cherries.

Summary

I think Eddie Howe got exactly what he wanted from this game and so did Paul Lambert. yes, it would have been nice for AFCB to have a bit more of a cup run but it is not the real aim for this season. Getting all the squad players right for the rest of the league campaign is what is important now for the Cherries. The FA Cup was always going to be a bonus and a good test for some of the players to take on a strong Villa side. Lambert simply needed a win not matter what competition and his players delivered in the second half. Take Carles Gil out of their team though and they looked very ordinary.
Disappointment but AFCB are going well in the league.
It's been a big experience.
AFCB players leave the pitch.

AFCB
Camp, Smith, Elphick, Cook, Harte (Francis 60), Stanislas (Ritchie 79), Arter, O'Kane, MacDonald, Fraser, Kermorgant (Wilson 60)

AFCB Subs
Boruc, Francis, Wilson, Ricthie, Surman, Pitman, Ward

AFCB Ratings
Camp 6, Smith 7, Elphick 6, Cook 6, Harte 5, Stanislas 5, Arter 6, O'Kane 7, MacDonald 7, Fraser 6, Kermorgant 5

Aston Villa
Given, Hutton, Okore, Clark, Richardson, Bacuna (Grealish 95), Gil de Pareja Vicent (Westwood 87), SΓ‘nchez, Cleverley, Benteke, Weimann

Aston Villa Subs
Guzan, Baker, Westwood, Cissokho, Lowton, Burke, Grealish


Referee: Mike Dean 6/10 stayed in control. No real big decisions to make.

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