Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Cherries find no way through Palace 0-0

Match Report
26 December 2015
AFCB 0 v 0 Crystal Palace
Attendance 11,218
The two teams walk onto the pitch
The Boxing Day fixtures had turned up a really hard foe for the Cherries as Palace have one of the best away records in the division. It was a keenly contested match with both sides protecting strong undefeated records and during the first half it looked like only a mistake might create the opportunity for one side to gain an advantage. The midfield battle was very intense with Harry Arter and Wilfred Zaha raising the heat when Harry was carded for a mis-timed challenge on the Palace star. There were few clear cut chances but when Dan Gosling raced towards the Palace box in the second half and teed up Glenn Murray for his big moment, the former Eagles' man could only shoot weakly at Hennessey. While the tempo and excitement mounted towards the end with Pardew's subs - Cabaye, Jedinak and Chamakh - adding more energy, the Cherries were able to hold out with Eunan O'Kane, Tokelo Rantie making appearances and Yann Kermorgant just seeing out extra time.
Junior Stanislas recovers well enough in the week to start.
Junior Stanislas was the main surprise of the team news having recovered sufficiently from his hamstring twinge that he received in the previous match against WBA. Glenn Murray kept his place up front and Josh King was rested.


Crystal Palace get ready to kick off.
Crystal Palace brought in Jordan Mutch and Fraizer Campbell for Yannick Bolasie and Connor Wickham, while the influential play maker Yohan Cabaye managed to make the bench.

Francis and Chris have some great views about Crystal Palace taking on AFCB.

There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

The early part of the match was awash with Crystal Palace corners. Scott Dann came closes with a header over, but Palace were lacking some invention and when Jason Puncheon found a great position on the 'D' he just chipped the ball too strongly which made it easy for Boruc to collect. 

The Cherries were finding it heard to break out and passes from both sides were going astray. Steve Cook made an early slip, Gosling was not finding his range of passing, but Daniels was making strong tackles.

Jason Puncheon put in a ball up to Fraizer Campbell on the left who did well with his deflected effort that had Boruc scrambling, but the ball landed on top of the net. Boruc then had to make a save after a drifted corner that saw him dive, fully-stretched, to his right from a Damien Delaney shot. On watching a replay though it was Francis that cleared the ball off the line. 

Adam Smith started to add a liveliness and more adventure to the Cherries' attacks and was of course fouled by Souare. Dan Gosling was also getting in good positions but was soon robbed of the ball. Delaney was causing problems though and his cross to Campbell on the edge of the box saw the striker turn well but shot just high and wide of the goal's top left corner.

The breaks came off though on 14 minutes when Arter finally got AFCB on the front foot with a shot from the edge of the box that forced a good save out of Hennessey. Daniels then saw his shot go wide. Glenn Murray was not getting on the ball at all, but the passing was improving amongst the team.

Dann was first to get caught by Harry Arter and he showed his annoyance to the referee. Bournemouth's best chance of the half followed on 24 minutes when a cross from Stanislas was met by Ritchie, but with Murray also coming in on the ball and the header went just wide of Palace's left post with Hennessey beaten.

Francis made a mistake of heading the ball straight to Campbell but the striker was luckily offside. The Cherries were more in control of the game and were starting to win more free kicks with Murray the latest to get fouled by Delaney on half way. Stanislas went down in the box but nothing was given. Adam Smith was making progress up the right and put in a cross that went right across the box. It was a good period with Ritchie finding Gosling who had his shot deflected wide.

The game got more feisty and when Arter crashed through Wilfred Zaha and received a yellow, the away fans were chanting for a red. There may have been an overreaction by one of the Palace players but none of their players got booked.

While Palace saw Puncheon giving his frequent, one and two arms up, signals for a couple more corners , it was the Cherries that came closest to scoring as we approached 40 minutes. Daniels played a good ball across to Stanislas who lent back a bit too much and blasted his shot over. A bit of composure might have seen the Cherries take the lead there.

Daniels then gave the ball away though on the Cherries' left and Campbell and Zaha recovered the ball, crossing for Jordon Mutch who headed over from close range. So at half time it was 0-0.
Half time fun and games.
Glenn Murray and Dan Gosling start the second half.
Second Half
Crystal Palace replaced Mutch and brought on Cabaye for the second half, while Eddie Howe withdrew Arter and brought on Eunan O'Kane - probably a sensible move considering the tension in the game.  An early corner for the Cherries was a better start and the introduction of O'Kane saw a venomous shot from the midfielder that stung the hands of Hennessey. It looked like the breakthrough was coming. The game was already more open just five minutes into the second half and when Gosling slotted past a couple of challenges and into the box, before squaring the ball for Murray, everything was there for the centre forward to get the first goal. Perhaps he had too long to think about it, but Glenn stood still and his shot was weak and directed straight at Hennesey! The run of Joel Ward coming in behind Murray probably did enough to distract his attention enough and the chance was gone in a flash.

That was probably AFCB's best chance of the game. Gosling was making some surging runs now and Daniels was equally putting the tricks in and keeping AFCB moves going. Meanwhile, Murray was losing some confidence in overrunning the ball.

On 68 minutes Palace replaced Campbell with Chamakh. The corners that had been dangerous for AFCB in previous matches were not providing much of a goal threat in this game. Murray was subbed on 71 minutes with Rantie getting another chance. Palace took off Ledley and replaced him with Jedinak three minutes later. 

The main excitement of the last 12 minutes came when Scott Dann went down in the box and play went on. Pardew was telling his player to get up as he was playing everyone on side, but the Cherries lost possession and Dann received treatment. A run by O'Kane saw the ball pulled back for Rantie who got his shot away but it hit Scott Dann when it looked like it would have been heading for the net. Palace had a late rally but the Cherries defence was holding firm. It only remained for Yann Kermorgant to get a couple of minutes in extra time before the game ran out as the Cherries' first 0-0 draw of the season.
The first 0-0 draw for AFCB in the 2015-16 season.
Summary
Crystal Palace was arguably the most difficult game that the Cherries have had so far in December. Palace move into fifth place on the back of this result and while the Cherries stay in 14th there is a much more resilient look about the defence now, and to get an other clean sheet is something that Eddie Howe can be pleased about. Taking chances is always important and this game slipped by Murray and it may have been more difficult than he thought playing against his former club so soon after his move. A point towards safety though is a good point and this is the kind of game that the Cherries might have lost if it had come earlier in the season. The undefeated run is extended to six games and the team will need to draw on that positive when they go to Arsenal 48 hours after this game.
The end of the game.
The Cherries thank the supporters.
Matt Ritchie is already having a recovery drink.
Marc Pugh did not get on but may be used on Monday against Arsenal.

AFCB

Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Ritchie, Gosling (Kermorgant 92), Arter, (O'Kane 45), Stanislas, Murray (Rantie 71)

AFCB Subs
Pugh, Rantie, MacDonald, Kermorgant, Federici, Distin, O'Kane


Crystal Palace
Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, SouarΓ©, Ledley (Jedinak 74), McArthur, Zaha,
Mutch (Cabaye 45), Puncheon, Campbell (Chamakh 68)


Palace Subs
Hangeland, Cabaye, McCarthy, Jedinak, Chamakh, Kelly, Dymond


AFCB Ratings
Boruc 7, Smith 7, Francis 6, Cook 7, Daniels 8, Surman 7, Ritchie 7, Gosling 8, 
Arter 6 (O'Kane 6), Stanislas 6, Murray 6 (Rantie 6) 

Referee Watch: Michael Oliver - 7/10 While he could have shown more yellow cards I though the referee was fairly even with his decisions, and the game was difficult to let run on such a wet surface.

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