Saturday, 13 April 2013

Cherries win in style at Shrewsbury to stay second

Match Description

Shrewsbury Town  0 v 3  AFCB
13 April 2013
New Meadow Stadium Attendance: 6047
(including 935 very happy Cherry fans)

Picture courtesy of Paul McCann

Nothing comes easy to those who don't deserve it, but AFCB's players are really turning on the style in their pursuit of automatic promotion to the Championship. This team has "a steely determination" in the words of Eddie Howe's post-match comments. Indeed, the character that they are showing during this run-in is quite outstanding and if they are under pressure they are hiding it extremely well.

For the 935 Cherry fans who made the trip to the New Meadow Stadium this was a match that many would have been worried about but nerves were quickly settled.

A swirling wind and a bobbly pitch greeted the two teams who would surely find it difficult to play controlled football in such conditions. Shrewsbury were not without their goal threats but getting the opportunity to have a shot at Bournemouth's goal was going to be a difficult task. 

Both teams set up 4-4-2, with one striker dropping back when the other team had the ball. But before any pattern could be established, Bournemouth broke the deadlock. Pugh passed to Pitman and  went for the return in the Shrewsbury box, but was up ended by John Taylor.

Pitman stepped up and simply put the Cherries 1:0 up from the spot. The keeper dived well and early but had no hope of saving it. That's 7 goals in 7 games for Brett! And just five minutes had elapsed on the clock.

Taylor had the first header for Shrewsbury at Allsop's goal but Rocky, as he is known by his team mates, took it okay. Grabban was soon caught offside for a second time, but AFCB were getting into their playing mode. Quick passing and some great understanding between O'Kane and Grabban on the left was opening Shrewsbury up.

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury were trying to get the ball forward to Eaves quickly and at the back Cook and Elphick had to be mindful of the uneven pitch.

Morgan and Summerfield were usually battling well in midfield for the Salops and getting Richards on the ball who won a corner early on.

Richards was becoming a threat sending a cross in for Morgan who got in front of Allsop, but thankfully he was offside. There was a bit of a panic in the Cherries defence for a moment but such instances would be rare.

Pitman was getting his sights in having an early shot from 30 yards out, but wide left of the target. O'Kane then made a good run through the centre and Grabban went down, but did not complain. Ritchie was also seeing a lot of  the ball on the wing as the Cherries tried to break down Shrewsbury's offside trap.

Grabban was the main target for O'Kane and Arter. Pugh was also trying to beat Hurst on the left as Bournemouth tried both wings. 

The referees' slip caused a big laugh with 20 minutes on the clock gone.

Shrewsbury's chances were gone in a blink of an eye with Morgan doing the best work in looping a ball towards the penalty spot, looking for Taylor on 27 minutes, but Bournemouth soon saw it clear.

It was Pitman who missed a golden chance of a volley, when the two Shrewsbury centre halves left the ball for each other, on the six yard line - it was "astonishing that Pitman did not connect,'' said Willo.

But AFCB were playing with a good shape and the right kind of passes being played, according to the Radio Solent duo.

Both teams were squeezing up as they play in the middle in a 20 yard section. Eaves was going wide on the left now but Francis was always hounding him. Shrewsbury were keeping possession better, but were not making much forward progress. 

Bournemouth were well in control and has not really made a save. The problem in recent weeks has been in getting 2:0 up for the Cherries. Still, it was evident that there was a distinct gap in quality between the two sides.

Half time

A quick glimpse at the table as it stood at that time. Hey, it's looking good!

                      P   GD  Pts

Cherries        44  19    79
Doncaster     44  17   79
Brent            43   15   75
Sheff U         42   17   73
Yeovil T        43   14   72
Swindon T    43   30   68

AFCB were playing towards travelling support in second half like they do so often at home. Ritchie was tripped early on by Jacobson.

Elphick then tried a ball over the top but it caught wind and went out before Grabban could get to it. Bournemouth were turning the screw with quick passing now, Arter to Pugh, Daniels to Arter who burst into the area, but Grandison got across to usher the ball out for a corner. 

Morgan and Somerfield played the ball wide to Hurst on the byline and his cross header to Richards to send the ball goal bound, before Cook cleared from underneath it right on the line. It could have been a different story if that had gone in!

However, a few moments later, on 53 minutes, Pugh on half way found Pitman who thumped his long range shot into the far corner of the goal. He curled quite it effortlessly into the top left corner when Arter admitted, after the game, that he was hoping Brett would not shoot from there. A wonder goal by all accounts!

By this time Bournemouth fans were singing the 80's hit "Nah, nan na nan na nah, Baby give it up, but with Bournemouth are going up! instead as the words. Aren't you lucky you can't hear me sing it?

The game was lost for Shrewsbury and the points were going south.

On 57 minutes Asante came on for Morgan.

Bournemouth were playing at a casual pace now and before you knew it Pitman's flick across goal from Arter's cross had Grandison scrambling as the ball came off a combination of him, the post and the bar for the Cherries to go 3:0 up on 62 minutes. 

Summerfield than came off for McAllister on 63 minutes.

Ritchie picked up a yellow card for unsporting behaviour, but not much worried Bournemouth in the remaining minutes. Jacobson's shot on turn that fell to Mambo was their best chance but Mambo put his effort wide. 

Goldson came on for Gradison on 74 mins. Lewis Grabban was also subbed for Hughes on 76 minutes. 

Asante was lively for Shrewsbury, but the contest was well over by now. Pugh came off for McQuoid with 6 minutes left. 

AFCB fans could now singing Oleah, Oleah, Oleah as Bournemouth's passes mounted up. Francis had a last gasp chip to the back post it did not quite find McQuoid. Had he seen Pitman it might have been a hat-trick for Brett although he still tried to claim the ball after the match any way, as  he disputed the own goal.

O'Kane came off for Shaun MacDonald in the final minutes as Bournemouth recorded their record 7 club wins in a row.

Man of the match had to be Brett Pitman. Jermain Dofoe's consecutive Bournemouth goal record is now under real threat. Eddie Howe summarised that the early goal helped settle any nerves today. "The second goal from Brett was also a great finish....''

Eddie was really pleased with the team's performance though: "We kept the ball well on a really difficult surface.The wind was not too much of an issue, but the pitch was really crusty in the middle. We were aware of it and you make sure the players take no unnecessary risks,'' he said.

He felt that we had made it difficult for ourself in recent weeks by having to hold on to 1-nil leads. 

''This was another clean sheet away from home and the second record we have tied this season,'' Howe noted. ''But we hope to go one better next week,'' he said.

Howe added: ''It's great to win by a bigger win than our past games. We could also give some of the players a rest late on today.'' 

"They are a good group, young and with their feet on floor..... But we are aware that a lot of teams are snapping at our heels,'' he stressed. 

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

Subs: Jalal, Seaborne, MacDonald, Hughes,Fogden, McQuoid, Tubbs.

Shrewsbury Town:
Weale, Grandison, Jacobson, Summerfield, Richards, Morgan, Taylor, McGinn, Mambo, Eaves, Hurst.

Subs: Anyon, Purdie, Goldson, McAllister, Wilding, Asante.

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