Monday, 1 April 2013

AFCB find a knockout punch to sink Irons

Match Report

1 April 2013AFCB 1 v 0 Scunthorpe Utd
Attendance: 7465 (including 146 Away fans)

The officials had a good day with few controversial decisions
Waiting for the teams to come out
I had a funny kind of feeling as I left Dean Court today. The team played well enough to earn the one nil win over Scunthorpe Utd and AFCB consolidated its second place in the league for the moment. I should be really happy and to some extent I was, it was a professional performance but in another way I also wanted to  see more. Am I getting greedy I wondered?
Scunthope's player a pre-kick-off run around is required
Bournemouth's players prefer to high five and hug each other
The arrival of Scunthorpe at the Goldsands Stadium did not have me fearful of AFCB losing its recent winning steak. After all, the team has been playing with a bit of a swagger. Mr Ritchie has excited everyone on the right wing and Brett Pitman has been scoring goals for fun. Meanwhile, the defence has been tidy and has regained its penchance for clean sheets. Tommy Elphick is back and Ryan Allsop has hardly had a shot to save, so I was going to enjoy this game, wasn't I?

Well the first half drew me in to my usual worship of Eddie Howe's magnificent team.The only change from last time out was the replacement of Lewis Grabban, who was ill, with Matt Tubbs. Eunan O'Kane's crutches on Saturday were clearly just a precaution and he returned to the team.

While Jimmy Ryan had an early wayward shot off target for Scunthope as early as the second minute, normal service was quickly resumed with Ritchie pressing down the right before being felled by Newey who picked up the day's first yellow card.

Pitman was making a nuisance of himself, chasing down everything, winning headers and generally being first to the ball whenever he sensed it on his radar.

The first 10 minutes were a Bournemouth demonstration in possession football. The best Scunny could do was to hoof the ball out in to touch and clear their lines. Francis was bashing in high crosses from the right which were usually too strong, but after a chance for O'Kane coming in from the left spilled back out to the right of the box it was soon returned with interest to find Pitman waiting to put the Cherries one up with a raised foot finish. We were off to a flying start after just 10 minutes.

Arter's midfield presence was immense, he just shrugged Duffy off the ball and picked his pocket, while Bournemouth started to get after the Irons playing a high pressing game. On 18 minutes it looked like Pitman had scored again with the ball in the back of the net, but he was judged to be offside.

Daniels started to have some strong runs down the left with Pugh and Pitman linking play. When Scunthorpe did get the ball down our end of the pitch they seldom held on to it for long and AFCB's free-flowing style had the home crowd feeling that they were in for a treat today.

After 25 minutes Scunthorpe were starting to get into the game a bit more, but were getting caught offside. Mark Duffy's shot was also confidently held by Allsop. And while Francis continued to supply crosses into the Iron's box, we all thought it would be just a matter of time before the second goal came.

There was glimpses of Scunthorpe's attacking menace when Barcham jumped through two Bournemouth players and tried to find Hawley, but the ball ran safely away. The ball was also headed into the Cherries' net by Tom Newey, from a corner, but the ball had curled out as the cross came over and Allsop was fouled in the build up, so it was disallowed.

This made the Cherries step things up a gear and Ritchie charged down a long ball that Scunthopre's left back could not deal with as he put it our for a corner. Bournemouth's work rate was much higher than the opposition, but they could not find a finish.

Then Scunthopre had a dangerous break that saw the ball fed from the right over to the left far post where it was knocked down to Hawley's feet on the six yard box. For a moment, time stood still but Allsop was aware of the danger and pounced, cat-like on the ball before the forward could turn to get a shot in.

The first half was coming to a close but not before R
itchie decided to take a yellow card by pulling on a player's shorts when he had been beaten in the centre circle.

Crosses continued to reign down on Scunthorpe's box, first Ritchie, then Francis fired across from the right but when Daniels flew in from the left, his cross ran right across the six yard box and had only needed a touch to find the net if someone had anticipated it.      

With the half time entertainment seeing Cherry Bear keep a clean sheet after six spot kicks from Junior Cherries we hoped for more goals in the second half.

Goals are hard to come by at Dean Court, even Cherry Bear
keeps a clean sheet
AFCB seemed to be trying a few long balls over the top for Pitman and Tubbs to chase in the opening salvos of the second half. In one instance the North stand cried out that Mirfin had handled the ball but he managed to evade Pitman's clutches with reasonable comfort.

Arter came much closer to altering the score with his fierce shot that was well saved by Johansen at full stretch. Bounemouth were looking dangerous on the break.

However, it was Scunthopre who had a great chance with Duffy tearing free for a shot from the left only to hit the side netting. He was so distraught that he lifted his shirt to hide his head after the miss. A few minutes later he had another shot, having got past Francis but he again failed to trouble Allsop.

The Cherries best move in the second half came when O'Kane made a strong run and found Tubbs in space in the box, but rather than shoot himself he pulled the ball back for Pitman to strike, and he thundered it against the crossbar. It was unselfish by Tubbs, but perhaps the wrong decision.

Some of the Cherries play was great but the final pass was always going astray. I expected to see wave after wave of attack and for a while we did, with Daniels trying to go through everyone only to run into a barrage of defenders.

I'm not sure if cook was getting frustrated or thought he could score the goal of the season when he had a crack at goal from 30 yards out.

AFCB kept the pressure on with Pitman shooting over and then Ritchie smashing one from the right that had the keeper at full stretch again. Arter was also playing well threading balls to Daniels down the left with the crowd gasping at his accuracy.

When Ritchie was taken out by Canavan, the ref played the advantage only for Arter to miss the opportunity.

O'Kane's big moment came when he ran virtually the length of the pitch with the ball on 65 minutes but his shot failed to beat Johansen. While Scunthope managed a few chances like Barchman hitting over the bar their chances were not being taken either.

Cook and Ritchie were typical of the AFCB player's spirit chasing back and challenging Scunthorpe players on the edge of Bournemouth's box. Arter was controlling midfield and picking out longer balls to Pugh and on one occasion Pugh's cross was dummied by Pitman but no one was closing in from behind.

On 72 minutes it was time for a change with Scunthorpe's big guns coming on. Forde made way for Alabi and a few moments later Hawley came off for Akpo Sodje. Bournemouth also took Tubbs off on 72 minutes and put McQuoid on.

Scunthorpe were having a go now with Duffy playing well and James Alabi trying to find a way through the Cherries defence. The home crowd could tell perhaps that the Bournemouth players were flagging a bit and Barmy Army was now ringing out. Francis was having to make interceptions while Jimmy Ryan and Michael Collins were proving a handful. Arter was also getting caught out in midfield.

Eddie Howe made another change with McDonald replacing Pugh who had run himself into the ground and having won a surprising amount of headers over the course of the afternoon. Pitman was still full of running and he carried the fight on.

While Scunthorpe won a corner and brought on Mike Grella for Barchman, you could see by Brain Laws' furious waving, at his keeper, to speed things up that time was against them.

AFCB sucked up most of the final 10 minutes of the game in Scunthorpe's back right corner. It was perhaps not very entertaining but when Fogden came on for Ricthie, we all knew it was about getting the three points.

Fans depart after another home win

An afternoon that promised lots of potential for excitement and had its moments, AFCB played their carefully crafted possession football and neatly constructed triangles, before ending more like a heavyweight boxer. AFCB were miles ahead on points and playing out time, leaning on their opponent in the final rounds.

At this stage, if that is what it takes to get the victory I don't think we can complain too much. After all, for most of the game the Cherries were on the attack and I felt that towards the end the two games over the Easter period were beginning to catch up on some of the players.  

Both teams thanks their fans

AFCB Player Ratings:   

Allsop 6, Francis 8, Elphick 7, Cook 7, Daniels 7, Ritchie 8, Arter 8, O'Kane 6, Pugh 6, Tubbs 7, Pitman 9

Unused AFCB subs:
Jalal, Fletcher, Seaborne, Hughes.


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