Saturday, 6 April 2013

Cherries come back against Magpies for big win

6 April 2013
AFCB 3 v 1 Notts County
Attendance 7551 (including 293 away supporters
AFCB players warm up

The pre-match group hug
The mascots enjoy the occasion

As I have already said, this is a game that worried me more than most in AFCB's run-in. I had hardly sat down when Notts County's Labadie managed to out whit Daniels with consummate ease before Jeff Hughes headed goal wards. Despite Allsop's valiant attempt his hands were not enough to stop the ball falling into the back of the Cherries' net. The silence was deafening for a moment. I just looked at the clock - 1 minute 42 seconds!

Are the cheerleaders still on the pitch?

Can we start again?

Notts County fans were jubilant and the Cherries were shocked. But by the time the ball was back in the centre circle the North Stand had already started to sing "Eddie Howe's Barmy Army". The fans were up for the contest and it was soon apparent that the AFCB players wanted to respond as quickly as they could. No heads went down. There was a game to win and the Cherries needed to show their character to come from behind.

Francis was first to take the fight to Notts County as he sped in at goal but had his shot saved at the keeper's feet.

Jamal Campbell-Ryce caught the eye early on with his busy style and quick feet in the middle of the park. It was the Cherries that were looking a bit shaky with Francis looking for Ritchie with a strong cross field ball that Matt could not control.

On 8 minutes though Pitman had a direct run at goal only to strike his shot well left of the target. Still, it was enough to pick the crowd up. The game was very open with lots of gaps to exploit and when Ritchie found a hole in the centre of the pitch he was quickly scythed down. Bournemouth's attacks were fizzling out before they had started.

Notts County's big number 9 was Enoch Showunmi and he almost got between Elphick and Allsop with a high bouncing ball, but lost out in the end. O'Kane was getting on the ball and Arter had a shot blocked on 14 minutes. A few moments later Arter was taken down by Labadie which received the afternoon's first yellow card. Ritchie was next to have a shot wide of the left post.

Bournemouth got back on level terms though when Daniels pulled back a cross from the left which seemed to miss everyone at first only for Ritchie to run on to it from the right and finish smartly on 17 minutes. 1:1 and you knew there was more to come.

The next move saw AFCB get right into their passing game with Tubbs Daniels and Pugh stretching the County defence, but when the ball broke to Tubbs a bit later he decided not to shoot when it seemed that he only had the keeper to beat. He tried instead to find Pitman, but the chance had gone in an instance.

Pugh then crossed a great ball for Cook who headed over. Notts County did get an opportunity to have more of the play when they won a free kick on our left but it was quickly cleared. AFCB were soon on the break and Tubbs took a shot that was saved on 24 minutes. At least he shot this time.

As the ball stayed down the Notts County end it was Pitman that latched on to a loose ball on 25 minutes and he hit it low and sweetly past the keeper from the edge of the box to put the Cherries 2:1 up. I think that's six goals in six games for him, amazing!

Tubbs continued to draw the fouls as Andre Boucaud was given a yellow card after the re-start. O'Kane was finding Ritchie at will and Bournemouth passing game was in full effect with players swapping positions and rotating well. Notts County were getting opportunities on the break though, mainly instigated by Mr Campbell-Ryce. However, Arter and O'Kane were breaking play up when they could.

At the back Cook was having a great game winning his headers and playing with extreme calm. Even when Showunmi fed in a cross to Labadie he did not connect and Elphick tidied up.

When Pitman intercepted a pass on 31 minutes his shot was tipped over. Francis also had a good run at goal and found Pitman who shot wide on 37 minutes.

The Cherries seemed to lie in wait for Notts County to lose possession and then counter swiftly at every opportunity. 

The Magpie's were not giving Allsop much to do in return. Bishop's effort before half time was easily blocked and things became even worse for Notts when Arter was fouled by Boucaud, who saw yellow for the second time, after some hesitation from the referee. This was then quickly followed by the red card and it was now half time.

Notts would have to play the second half with 10 men. The omens were looking good for the Cherries, especially as other fixtures were also going their way. The second half started as it had all day for Tubbs being fouled and knocked to the ground. Pitman soon had an effort go over the bar and Cook was tackling well unlike Francis who gave away a free kick on Jeff Hughes. Luckily Sheehan blasted the kick straight into the wall.

O'Kane had the chance to show his speed across the ground racing in from the right but was caught in full flow by a last ditch tackle. Francis tried to show that he could tackle as well but while it seemed he had won the ball fairly on AFCB's box he was given a yellow, much to the pleasure of the away fans.

When Labadie managed a shot at goal Allsop made a save on 51 minutes. Arter upped his performance second half and was demanding the ball from his team mates whenever he had the chance for a one-two. Pugh and Daniels also began to link up better this half.

Tubbs had an effort that went right across the goal when he beat the offside trap, but it was put out for a corner. Cook again was plucking balls out of mid-air with great skill on the balls of his feet and starting off play from half way.

Bournemouth were playing with more control now. Pugh managed to start getting crosses in and even when Sheehan, Bishop and Showunmi were scrambling to win the ball in Bournemouth's box they soon lost out.

The Pugh and Daniels show was getting stronger, while Arter was at the heart of everything, directing play and feeding Pitman or going himself as he did after 62 minutes when Bialkowski was at full stretch in the County goal to keep the shot out.

Arter was also drawing fouls and Notts made a change after 62 minutes with Labadie coming off for Greg Tempest to come on in midfield. AFCB were playing patiently in steady build up play, but Tubbs felt he should have had a penalty when he went down in the box.

Almost immediately it was Showunmi that was howling for a penalty in Bournemouth's box, but again nothing was given. 

AFCB than made a change with Grabban coming on for Tubbs on 69 minutes. Cook was still controlling the ball effortlessly at the back while Campbell-Ryce was doing his best to run through one AFCB player after another. Ritchie seemed to be the Cherries danger man as he was shooting at goal on site.

Showunmi was replaced on 74 minutes by Tyrell Waite, while O'Kane came off injured for Macca to come on a minute later. 

AFCB were powering on now looking for the third goal with Pugh's cross headed over and Elphick then finding Pitman with a beautiful long pass that Brett put over to the left of the goal.

Daniels then broke down the left and almost got through but when the ball come out to MacDonald, outside the box, he ran straight through a couple of tackles and into the box, and he was about to hit a drive when the ball was taken off him at the final moment.

Grabban's running was also causing problems for Notts County but he had a habit of not looking up and crossing to know one in particular. He would do better next time.

Pugh seemed to come to life in this period winning corners and trying to unlock the Magpie's defence. But it was Grabban that found the space to set up Ritchie for his second and Bournemouth's third on 85 minutes. The celebrations were in full swing now - 3:1.

Kelly was replaced by Arquin for County. Elphick then picked up a yellow card on the edge of AFCB's area with a few minutes of normal time remaining, but Sheehan blasted the free kick well to the right of the goal.

Fogden came on for Pugh after 87 minutes and the home fans started chanting ''Oh Eddie Howe'' with another victory in sight.

In extra time Waite and Hughes tried to get a shot at goal, but when the ball broke to Harry Arter he ran with real intent towards half way, being taken out by Liddle as he passed to Pitman. Brett had the rest of the pitch to run, cutting in from the left and while he could have threaded a pass for Fogden to put away, he chose to have a go it alone on goal and put hois shot to the the right of the target as the keeper narrowed the angle. Liddle was then booked as the whistle blew for full time.

Game over

AFCB have another three points
SummaryThe day was given an extra special meaning by Notts County's early goal. AFCB have not been so good at coming from behind this season at home, but there is a belief and a confidence that is not so easily shaken in this team now. They can see that finishing line and they would like the chance to go up automatically. While it is still out of the Cherries hands the pressure is really on the chasing teams now as the gap grows.

A day's work well done

The timing of the sending off no doubt helped the Cherries cause, but even before that they were in control. AFCB are still slow at killing off teams when in command, but the way in which Ritchie celebrated his second goal, after another flowing move, showed that this team is doing everything with a smile now.

Pitman has been unbelievable with his finishing and now Cook at the back is even more solid with Elphick by his side. If this was a possible stumbling block for the Cherries or their Becher's Brook, if you like, they cleared it with six feet to spare. At times their play seemed almost effortless, although we all know that it is hard work that has got them to where they are now.

Man of the match for me was Steve Cook.

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

AFCB subs not used:

Jalal, McQuoid, Hughes, Seaborne

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