Sunday, 21 April 2013

AFCB's win against Carlisle promotes them to the Championship

Match Report

AFCB 3 v 1 Carlisle Utd
20 April 2013
Attendance 9014 (away supporters - lots of smurfs)

Smurf convention at Dean Court

What a day! AFCB enjoyed what was a historic day as the team achieved what so many  supporters had prayed, no dreamt of for so long - a place in next season's Championship. 

While we waited for Sheffield Utd's game to end to see if it was confirmed as a Pompey victory, we knew that it was going to be virtually impossible for Brentford and Doncaster Rovers to both over take us in their final game when they play each other, barring a total turnaround in goal difference. That was the feeling at 5:30 after the home win against Carlisle and promotion was confirmed for AFC Bournemouth by 7:30 when Brentford could only earn a draw in their late kick-off against Hartlepool.

No more  nerves, time to secure promotion

Before all that there was a game to be won at Dean Court. Far from being an easy match, Carlisle had  come to try an topple the Cherries having themselves been on a run of nine unbeaten. The Cumbrians lined up with 5 in midfield and started brightly in the first few minutes. They were helped by a slip from Steve Cook which let Miller in, but Allsop was alert to make the save in the first few minutes. 

Grabban, Daniels and Pugh made Bournemouth's first attack down the left. Bournemouth won an early corner and when Pugh crossed, Elphick made good contact but headed left and wide of goal.

Pitman was trying to link with the fast running Grabban but was over hitting his passes on the well-watered pitch. At the other end, Francis was doing his best to shrug Carlisle off the ball, while Arter was often first to the ball when moves broke down. Pitman was his usual industrious self, running and linking with Daniels.

However, Carlisle were pushing the Cherries back with Loy almost getting in but for O'Kane's strong challenge after 10 minutes. A few minutes later Miller
 brought off a tremendous save from Allsop who was headed in the other direction, but luckily the shot was at a good height for him. 

Carlisle also won a corner after 13 minutes and the home fans were beginning to wonder if this was going to be one of those days. The smurfs in the Carlisle stand were enjoying their team's play perhaps more than the ref's desire to play the advantage, no matter what.

Grabban then stretched his legs as the on coming keeper rushed at him. Grabban slid for the ball but the Carlisle keeper came out with the ball.

O'Kane was finding space in the middle and was also finding Grabban as the best outlet. Pugh, Arter, Pitman and Ritchie were zipping the ball around, while O'Kane went for a long range shot which Carlisle's keeper smothered on 21 minutes. Grabban also came close a moment later.

But it was after a corner that AFCB broke the deadline, when a cross from Francis found Cook leaping above the Carlisle defenders to head home on 24 minutes. While the noise had been amazing at the stadium, it just went up about another 10 notches, on the dial, as Cook jumped like a school boy in celebration, on his way back towards the half way line - 1:0.

Meanwhile, the crowd heard that Pompey were ahead against Sheffield Utd. ''Play up Pompey,'' was now the home crowd's call. Grabban was enjoying the ball a lot on the right and seemed involved in most of AFCB's attacks, although Pitman was usually screaming at him when he was not given a pass to let him shoot.

Before you knew it Pompey were 2:0 up! Was this really happening? Were the Cherries heading up? Notts County had also gone ahead against Doncaster - unreal!

Pitman was playing with such confidence it was almost hypnotic as he flicked the ball nonchalantly round the corner for Grabban with the Carlisle defender dumbfounded. 

While AFCB kept possession for a spell Pompey went 3 up. This was turning into a great day. Surely, this could not be happening.

Meanwhile, Carlisle were back in control and AFCB were having to defend their box manfully as clearance after clearance was having to be made. Loy managed to get behind the defence on the left wing and pulled back a ball for Noble but Francis managed to get a block in just in time. 

Cook and Daniels were next beaten by McGovern who put his cross right across the Cherries' box. He then fed Loy who hit the bar, perhaps after a deflection from Elphick, we could not see clearly in the Family stand. Loy also had another shot wide moments later. We were quite pleased that it was half time.


The second half also began with Carlisle on the front foot. Cook's backward header cleared the immediate danger and Allsop was quick to collect the ball ahead of any attackers. Cook then miss-controlled a ball off his knee in front of the Cherries' box, while Loy pounced on the ball he could not finish. 

However, on 49 minutes the ball was provided from the right when AFCB's players seemed to stop. There was no flag though and from the dead ball line the whipped in cross reached Miller with his back to goal and he swept the ball into the goal with an over head kick that will no doubt be replayed several times on League One's highlights. 49 minutes gone and 1:1. 

I knew it was too good to be true!

Carlisle had deserved to be level, but it was supposed to be our day! But with Eddie Howe's name ringing out the Cherries were not to be denied. 

Elphick tried to reply instantly but his attempt went over the bar. Carlisle's Noble also had a shot that went over our goal.

AFCB were pushing now, Arter seemed full of energy  spreading wonder balls across the pitch for Grabban and Ritchie to run after. Then after 54 minutes Arter decided to go himself drifting towards the box from the right and while we all screamed ''shoot'!', he was taking aim before swinging his left foot and making the perfect connection, firing the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal from all of 19 yards. Whoopiee!!! We were back in front and the party was back on again. ''We are going up! We are going up!''

We thought Pitman might put us further ahead after another of Arter's passes to him but he blasted over on 60 minutes. Francis then put a great ball in from the right that went behind Pugh and Grabban when it looked all set up to be the third goal.

O'Kane's game came to an end when he was fouled by Berret who went straight into the ref's book. While O'Kane tried to struggle on he had to be replaced on 63 minutes and Richard Hughes took his place.

Francis and Arter were now getting at Carlisle's left back and Harry's cross almost did the trick with Pugh running on at the far post, but he just could not get there in time when a touch would have put the ball in.

With 70 minutes gone it was Francis on the receiving end of a bad tackle from Noble. While the home crowd shouted ''off'', the Carlisle player allowed himself a wry smile as he took a drink knowing that the ref was only holding out a yellow. Daniels was also booked.

On 76 minutes Carlisle made a sub as Loy came off and Manset came on. It was Arter though now controlling the game and pulling the strings and almost put Grabban in. 

Carlisle also brought on Salmon for McGovern, while Francis then went into the book for kicking the ball away when Carlisle had a free kick. Carlisle tried a last few efforts with Noble having a shot blocked and Mustoe's high cross headed out by Pitman. 

Bournemouth also wanted that third goal though and Daniels went on a strong run like a stag striding over opposition players before finally being stopped. Pitman was a bit less cultured in managing to hoof the ball out over the East stand, but at times anywhere would do. Hughes in particular made a great tackle to gain AFCB possession again when others were unable to get a foot in.

On 87 minutes MacDonlad came on for Grabban, while Ritchie took the ball into the corner to kill time. There was a howl of despair when the crowd were told their would be 4 more minutes of extra time. Carlisle the brought on Mustoe for Beck.

Before you could look up at the scoreboard to check that we were still ahead, the ball was crossed from the right wing and Pugh and Pitman found themselves up against the last Carlisle defender on the edge of their box, wide on the left. But Pugh managed to nudge the ball on to Pitman in space and he smashed home AFCB's third goal into the bottom of left corner. Pitman had done it again! That's 8 goals in 8 games. The Cherries had done it. Pandemonium broke out.

The score we all wanted to see

Did someone say keep off the pitch?

We want Eddie Howe, we are going up!


Mass hysteria in the stands and on the pitch was well under way now. The Cherries had put away a very dangerous team who at times had threatened to take the game away from them. But AFCB were too strong for Carlisle today. I can't believe we will be playing in the Championship next year. 

I was asked today what it would mean to me to see AFCB at that level, all I could say is it means everything to me.

We wait for news of Sheffield Utd's result

And what a bonus - I won't have to fast forward half an hour through the Championship highlights on the BBC's football league programme before getting to AFCB's match!

Party time for the players

We can all look forward to the Tranmere game now. Happy days!

A tearful but happy Eddie Howe carrying his child

Eddie Bear still on the pitch!

Player Ratings

Cherry Chimes let Robert and Stephen do it for the last home game, but I'm not sure about their scoring. Arter MoM for sure.

Allsop 10, Francis 10, Cook 10, Elphick 10, Daniels 10, Ritchie 10, O'Kane 10, Arter 10+, Pugh 10, Grabban 10, Pitman 10


Jalal 10, Seaborne 10, Hughes 10, McQuoid 10, Fogden 10, MacDonald 10, Tubbs 10

AFCB players and staff and the souvenir photo

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