Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Testing times: Coventry inflict another defeat on Cherries

Match Description
AFC Bournemouth  0 v 2 Coventry
Match Attendance: 7411 (727 away)

For those of a nervous disposition, look away now. If AFCB were a marathon runner it is fair to say that we might be feeling the effects of hitting the wall at the 18 mile mark or as a cyclist in the Tour De France, we would have scaled the Pyrenees in style only to find that the road to Paris was like wading through mud. Yes you guessed it, AFCB tumbled to their third defeat in a row last night and having failed to score in their last three matches. The Cherries are finding that it's not  hard in this league to give everything and still come up short.
The Cherries kicked off trying to score at the Steve Fletcher stand end. But the game took a while to get going as Coventry's Dickinson had a blood injury, courtesy of a Fogden elbow, early on that took five minutes to sort out. However, by the end of the night it was the Cherries who had been given a bloody nose.

Bournemouth were set up in a 4-4-2 formation with a change of team - see my earlier post - as Eddie Howe tried to get back to winning ways. It was Coventry who made the early running. Leon Clarke and McSheffrey were getting the ball for Coventry early on. Yet, Tubbs had a good left footed strike on 14 minutes, although he was pulled back for off-side. McQuoid was blazing up the left and Grabban missed a great chance that Fogden laid off to him with a header on the quarter hour mark that was fired over the bar.  

I was listening to Cherries player as I could not make the game and had Willo examining the game in every detail, while I was trying to keep up with the Cherries Match blog and various fans' opinions on Twitter. On BBC Solent Willo commented that if the pitch is not great why do we play out from the back? He had a point as our boys were finding it difficult to control the ball on the hard and bouncy pitch.

Fogden was playing well on the right, but Tubbs kept getting caught off-side. Tubbs did get a one on one but slid it wide of the goal on 20 minutes, after Dickinson gifted him a header. Coventry then made a chance with Christie bursting past McQuiod and Moussa had a shot well saved by Jalal who recovered before Clarke could get in. Josh McQuoid was in on goal a few minutes later but his shot was harmlessly deflected safely to the keeper. 

Then it all went wrong. Cook and Seaborne were having a relatively quiet first half, but they got confused with Leone Clarke getting past them and, before you knew it, he had slammed the ball into the roof of the net from 15 yards and Bournemouth were one nil down! It was totally against the run of play, in stoppage time. Arter then managed to pick up a yellow card! That's certainly 10 cards now and a two match suspension for him. Not a great first half for us.

The Cherries fired in quick corners in succession virtually all night, but Coventry were strong on the break. Jalal had to make a good save from Clarke after 54 minutes as the defenders went missing again. It was turning into an open game with both sides being stretched. 

AFCB had four good chances in the first 20 minutes had not really tested Murphy since then in the Coventry goal. Matt Ritchie then picked up a yellow on 63 minutes and Pitman and Fraser came on for Tubbs and Fogden with 20 minutes to go. 
Coventry also brought on Bell for McSheffrey. Grabban and McQuoid had chances with 15 minutes to go, then Fraser was unlucky with a goal attempt. AFCB kept trying with Steve Fletcher coming on with 10 minutes to go to replace McQuiod and Fraser switching to the left. 

However, the game virtually ended when Coventry won a free kick against Ritchie for lying on the ball. The decision bemused home fans, but worse was to come. Grabban was accused of hand ball from the resulting free kick and Baker took the penalty in the 84th minute and scored. A couple of AFCB corners followed but it was not going to be our night. Moussa was taken off for Edjenguele near the end. Even at the death the Cherries had an effort cleared off the line.

I felt before the Sheffield, Coventry, Orient and Doncaster games that AFCB would need six points from them to stay in the mix, now it is really a hard task. Howe remains defiant that we have quality players and that things will turn around, but we can't seem to get enough shots on target at the moment and we are making sloppy mistakes at the back. 

Talking about the sides' current form and the players brought in to the team for the game, Eddie said: ''It doesn't concern me, because I know the quality I've got. I expect people to write us off. We believe we are a good side and one of the best in this league....We are in it together. He added that, "We are in uncharted territory for this club. To achieve something at the end of the season would be rare."

I have not given player ratings for this match as I was not at the game but Ritchie seemed to be the best candidate for AFCB according to BBC Solent. Bournemouth are now seventh in League One and outside the top six on goal difference.

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