Sunday, 4 August 2013

Goal-getting Grabban grabs first day brace

Match day Report

AFCB 2 v 1 Charlton Athletic
3 August 2013
Attendance 10,108 (including 1421 away fans)

There was a quiet confidence about the assembled home crowd for the opening Championship game of the season at Dean Court. Charlton would certainly be one of the better teams AFCB would face over the course of the season, but with a packed ground and lots of vocal support behind them, the Cherries were eager to put their stamp on their newly won place in the Championship.

While the cheerleaders did their best to warm up the crowd with their dancing display, it was the 11 men in Red & Black that needed to show they could up their game. Before the match, AFCB supporters were worried that we did not have enough fire power up front, but that was forgetting that Lewis Grabban who would regain his goal scoring touch.

The surprise in the team selection was that captain Tommy Elphick was on the bench, while Pitman had not recovered sufficiently to win a starting spot and Ritchie was still nowhere to be seen. The striking duo of Grabban and Thomas was perhaps not the pairing that Eddie Howe would have expected to have chosen to start this game when pre-season began, but both put on a very strong performance and were ably supported by Mohamed Coulibably on the right and the secure partnership of Arter and MacDonald in centre midfield.

The first few minutes saw corners at either end with Charlton's Marvin Sordell heading over. Callum Harriott also fired wide in the first five minutes for the visitors.

Arter then started to find Coulibaly up the right wing and on 8.30 minutes the two juggled with the ball on the edge of the Charlton box before Coulibaly unloaded a shot that just went wide of the left post. Arter was finding his stride and pinged a ball from the halfway line right into Thomas' path and Bournemouth soon had another corner. Arter received the ball from the quickly taken corner and, despite a suspect handball, managed to get a shot off just wide of the target.

Charlton then built a good chance on 10 minutes, but Sordell could not stretch quite far enough to direct the header goal wards. Bournemouth soon had the ball back up the other end for another trio of corners before the quarter hour mark. Macca was doing much of the closing down in midfield and pushing Charlton into mistakes. 

A foul on Arter gave Daniels the chance to take a free kick on 15 minutes, but it did not trouble the Addicks defence. Charlton were showing promise with Harriott on the break on the left wing, but they were not keeping possession as well as the Cherries. Grabban was running the channels well and Thomas was doing his best to link up play with midfield.

Charlton then had a free kick some 30 yards out, on the left, which Mark Gower took but when Yann Kermorgant headed it back across goal Pritchard was off side. It was around this time when Pugh decided to switch wings with Coulibaly, having not seen much of the ball. Typically the ball went straight over to the left wing, where Coulibaly and Daniels looked to fashion a chance for Thomas and Grabban, but Charlton were blocking out wide well. Thomas did head over on 25 minutes and while Cook had a cross headed out for a corner. The quickly taken kick with Pugh and Arter sent in a cross which Grabban rose for and headed high into the top right hand corner of Charlton's goal on 26 minutes. Mass celebration broke out among the home supporters. The Cherries were 1:0 up! 

Bournemouth were straight on the attack after the restart and Pugh crossed for Thomas on the six yard box, but the strikers effort just slipped past the left side of the post. Being a goal up the Cherries were really starting to play some excellent passing football now. Macca and Arter were orchestrating things from the centre and Charlton's best method of stopping play was to start fouling. This led to a Bournemouth free kick on 29 minutes from which Arter fired a long range harpoon of a shot, which bounced just before Ben Hamer in the Charlton goal, but was safely held on to.

While Kermorgant and Harriott were finding positions in Bournemouth's box they were being quickly closed down. Meanwhile, Gower could not do any better than watch his header drift harmlessly over. A slip by Ward almost presented Kermorgant with a chance, on 36 minutes, but Cook was in quickly with a flying header on the edge of the box to clear the danger.  

Bournemouth hit back with a Grabban shot, and then Thomas hit his effort well over from 20 yards. When Macca was then taken down on 43 minutes the crowd wondered if Daniels' free kick would double the lead before the break. We had to wait for a head injury to Ward to be cleaned first, but Charlton held out.  

The second half saw no immediate changes. Charlton made a good start with Kermorgant finding Harriott who had his shot saved by Allsop. The Addicks then had a free kick from the left, on 46 minutes, with Solly standing over the ball. Before we knew it, the ball came in from Wiggins on the left, deflecting off MacDonald, before Kermorgant twisted sharply to volley a terrific shot past Allsop to bring the scores level at 1:1.

Sordell was keen to try and press the Addicks advantage home but had his shot blocked, before Pritchard headed over. On 55 minutes Coulibaly was injured and had to come off. He was replaced by Ryan Fraser who got involved straight away. Fraser had one of those games when he looked a dynamic and exciting player, taking the game to the opposition head on. His direct style led to him being fouled regularly, as Charlton sought to stop him at every opportunity.

Thomas was the next to have a real opening and as he looked to beat defenders and keeper he saw his shot deflect off of the Charlton goalie, when it could easily have found the back of the net. Fraser then miss hit a Pugh cross, when we all hoped it would be cleanly volleyed home. Almost as if to make up for our disappointment, Fraser sent a stinging shot in which the keeper held on to on 59 minutes.

On 64 minutes Sordell was replaced by Simon Church. The change may have distracted the Addicks for a second because a moment later Grabban found himself picking up the ball some distance out but had the space and time to turn and fire in a missile of a shot that erupted in the back of the net - the Cherries were back in front 2:1.

From then on it was almost a case of how many fouls would little bustling Ryan Fraser draw from the Charlton heavies. Thomas was the one though who suffered a big clash of heads in the centre circle, although he managed to recover. It was good to see him throwing himself at everything wholeheartedly for the cause in this match.

Fraser was down on 67 minutes, but got up again. Chris Powell then made another switch with Hughes and Gower coming off and green and Stevens joining the action.

Bournemouth were grateful for Ward's positioning on 80 minutes when he cleared off the line. Moments later Fraser found himself on the deck again. This time it was a red card for Bradley Pritchard on 82 minutes.

Eddie Howe then brought on new signing Surman for Thomas who left the pitch with a satisfying standing ovation. Meanwhile, Pugh flashed a volley high and wide on 85 minutes. Charlton also had a chance from a corner but Dervite headed wide. With a minute of time to go Grabban was replaced by Pitman. 

Extra time saw Allsop save from Pritchard and Pitman had a shot saved by Hamer. But after a couple of corners Andy D'Urso finally blew the whistle and Bournemouth had the dream start we had all hoped for - 3 points!

AFC Bournemouth:
Allsop, Francis (captain), Ward, Cook, Daniels, Coulibaly (55 Fraser), MacDonald, Arter, Pugh, Thomas (83 Surman), Grabban (89 Pitman).

Player Ratings:
Allsop 7, Francis 6, Ward 6, Cook 7, Daniels 6, Coulibaly 6, MacDonald 8, Arter 8, Pugh 5, Thomas 7, Grabban 9.

Sub: worth rating: Fraser 8. Subs not used: Flahavan,  Elphick, O'Kane, Harte.

Hamer, Solly, Morrison, Dervite, Hughes (75 Green), Wiggins, Pritchard, Kermorgant, Gower (75 Stevens), Sordell (64 Church), Harriott.

Bournemouth: Grabban 26, 66 
Charlton: Kermorgant 49

Pritchard 82, Red card, Arter yellow

1 comment:

  1. Good match report.

    I was a little bit disappointed with Pugh's performance today but he often had 2 men on him including Pritchard until his deserved red.

    Just to mention, Arter did pick up a booking which is a concern as this may be a weekly occurence!

    I wonder what the selection order will be when Ritchie is fit as he would presumably start with a choice of Coulibaly and Fraser on the bench, not forgetting McQuoid.

    Fantastic start to this new journey!