Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A great away win for the Cherries at Stevenage

Match Description

Stevenage 0 : 1 AFCB
12 March 2013
2418 attendance

The Cherries gave Wes Fogden a start for this match instead of Josh McQuoid and Harry Arter came back into the team for Shaun MacDonald as expected. Tubbs could have considered himself unlucky not to get a start, but Pitman and Grabban seem to be Eddie Howe's first choices if they are fit.

Several of the other scheduled matches for Tuesday night in League One were postponed so it was a chance for AFCB to close the gap on the top six. Wallsal v Tranmere, Brentford v Swindon and Crawley v Yeovil were the games that Cheery fans would have been looking out for at the final whistle.

The Cherries started well with a couple of shots at the Stevenage goal with Grabban looking dangerous, although Akins had already gone close with an effort for Stevenage in the first minute. There was a good chant of "Sunny Sunny Bournemouth" in the early stages with some good vocal away support. Arter was getting the ball early and Fogden was bright and lively on the right linking up well with Francis.

Hoskins, on loan from Southampton, was playing up front for Stevenage along with Haber. Seaborne and Cook had to do some good no nonsense defending at times.

Pitman sent Grabban through on the keeper on 15 minutes with a flicked header, but he did not control the ball well and his shot came off the keepers legs and the shot lacked conviction. Ricthie was as usual sending in the crosses but no one seemed to get on the end of them. Meanwhile, Stevenage were playing a lot of route one.

O'Kane started to get a bit more of the ball, picking the forwards out well. Ritchie drilled a shot after 24 minutes, but the keeper held on to it. Ritchie was then involved in a head clash with Miguel Cumminges. Ryan Fraser came on for Ritchie, on 33 minutes, who could not continue. Wes Fogden moved to left back and Fraser played on the right wing.

The breakthrough came when O'Kane made a run up the left into the area. He won a penalty as the keeper Arnold fouled, him even though the shot was going wide. Pitman put the ball in the net from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way after 37 minutes. Bournemouth fans celebrated with "keep the red flag flying high''.

Haber hit a shot wide and Tansey had a free kick at the end of the half, but the Cherries went in with a lead at half time with Stevenage not having had a shot on target.

In the second half AFCB had to do some early defending as they were forced to play on the break. The Cherries also had to clear one off the line, while Tansey blasted one shot wide. I expected Howe to make a change if the Stevenage possession continued. But the home pressure carried on with Luke Freeman firing a shot go over the top.

There was some respite when Cook almost got Grabban in on goal. The momentum was perhaps beginning to change back to the Cherries, but they were not enjoying as much possession this half. Fraser was struggling with an injury and Richard Hughes replaced him as Howe looked to shore up the team going 4-5-1. Stevenage also brought on Shoot for Hoskins on 66 minutes.

Fogden found some space up the left and had a shout for handball but nothing was given. Francis almost got on the end of an overlap with Grabban as AFCB started to mount some pressure again. Fogden was getting much of the plaudits from BBC Solent for his speed and skill at left back.

Charles got a yellow for a tackle on Pitman. Hills also caught O'Kane and also got booked. Seaborne then had a header across the six yard box.

Stevenage brought on Jeffrey for Akins for the last 10 minutes. "Stand up if you love Bournemouth" was the crowd's song now. A lot of Cherry fans had made the trip in the hope of seeing a win and they were almost there.

BBC Solent said it was a ''resolute" Cherry performance, and the final few minutes were played out well. I hardly heard Stevenage get a touch in the closing minutes and Grabban had a good effort just go wide above the cross bar. "Eddie Howe's Barmy started to ring out".

But it was then that Arter was left screaming after Charles has left his foot in on Harry's shin. Four minutes of added time were left, but for Charles his night was over as he was given a second yellow and then the red. Arter was being brought off on a stretcher! Macca would replace him. 
Fogden was also caught by Jeffrey who was given a yellow.

The late injury to Arter is what put a dampener on what was otherwise a good night for the Cherries. Other results went pretty well for us apart from Brentford who picked up all the points against Swindon. For me it was a relief when the referee blow his whistle. I had forgotten what a win was like.

We may wonder who else will have a spell at left back this season for the Cherries, although Fogden apparently played a blinder there tonight and Charlie could be back soon. Injuries are not what we want at this stage of the season.

Eddie Howe commented that the team were: "Composed and brave". He particularly praised Fogden who was "dogged and determined". Seaborne and Cook he said could still play better as a unit, but were great individually. 

As for the result Howe said: "We needed it, the whole club needed it."  Far from the wheels coming off, as Eddie sarcastically said, this was a performance the players could be proud of. Eddie wants to be in the mix at the end of the season, so that this club can achieve something special and we are on the way to doing that.

Eddie also spoke about the departure of David James today and the fact the club needed to trim its wage bill and financially realign itself. He also hinted that there might be further player who could move on.   

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