Saturday, 17 August 2013

Wigan stumble as Grabban guides Cherries to home win

AFCB 1 : 0 Wigan
17 August 2013
Attendance: 9097

AFCB are ready to play Wigan Athletic, all handshakes at this point.
Hang on a second. Isn't this the team that got thumped 6:1 last week? With the exception of Daniels and Surman it was basically the same team, but the Cherries had a point to prove and boy did they master the conditions and the FA Cup holders.

Pittman and Harte came into the starting line up as Bournemouth took on Owen Coyle's side who were fresh from their last outing at Wembley, in the Community Shield, against Man Utd. While Dean Court may have been less glamorous than the national stadium the Cherries were to serve up a performance worthy of a good Championship side, in this rain soaked and blustery encounter, that would see Wigan reduced to 10 men in the second half. In the end I was wondering just who hadn't yet been booked. Harry Arter - oh, thanks for that.  

Those who were slow to their seats almost missed a near dream start for the Cherries as Grabban coasted into space and had a one-on-one with Scott Carson that resulted in the ball dribbling aimlessly towards goal, only to be cleared off the line as it span just too slowly for AFCB.

The pattern of play then seemed set for the day. Wigan players kept getting caught offside, especially left winger Besausejour who lost his temper very early on. Free kicks broke up play in the first 10 minutes and MacDonald found it hard to keep his feet in the middle of the pitch, but he was to end up having one of his best games for AFCB. 

The first goal threat from Wigan came from James McCarthy who shot over from the edge of the box on 6 minutes. Wigan then had a corner and while Bournemouth cleared it soon came back after Fraser's poor pass out. Wigan had settled and were dominating and Arter made a good clean tackle on James McCarthy when he was breaking at speed with the penalty box approaching.

AFCB won a corner on 11 minutes, but Wigan soon had the ball again with Beausejour making a great cross for McCarthy, but the midfielder miss-kicked. There was a period of head tennis which AFCB were never going to win, in the middle of the park, before Holt and McCarthy ganged up on MacDonald . On the break Beausejour was adjudged to have handled the ball much to his disbelief, as he remonstrated with the ref and the home crowd. 

McArthur was the next Wigan to be prevented from having a clean shot by Cook who conceded a corner. With Emmerson Boyce missing the header, it wasn't long before the ball was back for yet another corner. The rain was really tipping down now with 19 minutes gone.

Free kicks against Arter and Grabban had us all wondering if the ref was going to give Wigan a great opportunity from one of the set pieces, but after 22 minutes AFCB produced some of their best play with Fraser putting in one of his dangerous crosses from the right. Pitman and Grabban then played a one-two which almost saw Grabban in. Bournemouth's lines were also holding well with Holt caught offside shortly afterwards.

Arter had been quiet but he had a shot on 24 minutes that was so high it cleared the Ted MacDougall stand! Not one for the collection Harry. Still he was willing to have a go from distance. 

Harte and Ward then both got away with handballs, as they ran back in defence, even though they were both clear for all to see in the West stand. Arter gave away a free kick on the edge of the box but Watson took it too quickly and had to retake it but with no better luck. Wigan were pressing now with Holt forcing Francis to give a corner on 27 minutes, which Ward headed out safely for another corner. McArthur produced a volley that reached Watson, but he headed the ball out.

While I was watching Eddie Howe, all dressed in black, I suddenly saw Carson slip over in the Wigan goal. He looked like he had injured himself but the embarrassment was perhaps worse. Meanwhile, Pugh was battling manfully against three players on the left wing but with little joy. 

There was then a strange bit of play when Beausejour predictably got pulled up for offside again and Elliott Ward looked to take a free kick from half way. Ward pondered and fretted so much about where to put the kick that he ended up passing it all the way back to Allsop to the loud jeers and boos from home supporters. I don't think he'll do that again next home match!

Crainey was the next player to slide over. Fraser then won a corner on the right and the step-over routine ended up with Pitman's shot being blocked. Guess what - yes, Beausejour was caught offside again.

Pugh had been quiet but he came into the match more as half time approached and found Grabban who sent an ambitious overhead kick just wide on 41 minutes. MacDonald was doing all the excellent clearing up work in the middle. 

The deciding moment in the game followed. Wigan expected the ref to blow his whistle with the ball on the half way line and a Wigan player in the left back position, Perch I believe, nonchalantly half passed a ball back the keeper and Grabban stole in to round Scott Carson on his left side and put the Cherries 1up! That is now four goals for Lewis in the Championship - Sssshhh..., he can't stop scoring!.

McCarthur tried to respond before half time but his shot went well over. 

A half time message for supporters in the Family stand
on the shorts of the Cherriett
Second half
Wigan started this half the better. While Fraser was looking dangerous on the break he forgot to take the ball with him. Bournemouth got back control though and after am Ian Harte long-range effort on goal, Pitman suddenly went down under challenge in the Wigan box - penalty! While Holt, Barnett and Boyce crowded around the ref, the decision had been made and Beausejour was given the yellow for the foul on 52 minutes. Pitman stepped up and shot to Carson's left but the keeper parried it away! The score stayed at 1:0. So much for me saying Pitman was a penalty king!

Ian Harte then picked up a yellow on 54 minutes by fouling Maloney with a Kung Fu kick. Acrobatic perhaps, but not for the football pitch Ian! Maloney made the most of it though with a couple of rolls and cradling his arm on the floor. 

McCarthy was next to shoot over after a Holt knock down. The game was bitty and the ref was blowing at every opportunity, Allsop entered the book next for time wasting on 56 minutes. The wind was also whipping up now and while AFCB piled forward with Ward trying to get a header in the ref predictably blew up for a minor push.

MacDonald had been AFCB's most tidy player all game and continued retaining the ball and winning challenges all over the park for the 90 minutes. Callum McManaman who had just come on to replace McArthur suddenly saw red for a lunging tackle on Pitman near the dugouts. All hell broke loose with Carson appearing in the middle of it all and McClean and Arter being given a severe talking to by the referee on the hour mark. Carson duly ran back the 40 or so yards to his goal after all the entertainment.

MacDonald was soon in command again with a flying header out of defence. Wigan brought on Marc-Antoine Fortune for Grant Holt who had not really had much chance of scoring on the day, which says a lot for Cook and Ward. Allsop went down in the box for a long time after a Wigan cross, when it looked like he had run into Ward and a Wigan player on 70 minutes. Flahavan was not needed though as Allsop carried on. 

McClean also visit the ref's book on 73 minutes after a poor challenge on Arter. Pitman was unusually very unselfish when he had a good break on the left of the Wigan box and instead of shooting himself tried to find Grabban running in. When the ball did come back in, Pitman's header was straight at the keeper. Pitman himself picked up a yellow for a challenge on Boyce on 81 minutes.

The last 10 minutes of normal time took an age with Fortune the first to have a header on the AFCB goal clear the crossbar. AFCB's Thomas went down on the edge of the Wigan box to win a free kick that Pitman took quickly forcing a last gasp save from Carson, who pushed the shot around the post on 84 minutes. The home crowd were in full voice singing "we're on our way" by this point. 

A free kick in the last few minutes to be taken by Maloney had everyone on the edge of their seats, but it hit the wall and the follow up shot was soon cleared.

Six minutes of extra time ensued but only McCarthy's shot from the edge of the box caused any worry and that went wide to the left of goal. That was it, AFCB had beaten the FA Cup holders! You don't hear that every day.

Now that's a better score than last week!

Happy AFCB players thank their supporters.
Eddie Howe seems pleased with the day's work.
Wigan simply didn't hurt AFCB with the aerial power that they had with Grant Holt and when they failed to supply him with crosses they did not seem to have much else to offer. I don't remember Ryan Allsop being made to make many saves although the one he made in the sixth minute to push the ball over the bar from McCarthy was excellent.

As for AFCB, they created lots of chance and could have had a much bigger winning margin. Fraser had another good match on the right and Grabban has now even scored a one-on-one chance. Pitman will be eager to score now having seen his penalty saved. MacDonald played a blinder. The back line also recorded a clean sheet. Moreover, that's six points out of nine and I think all of us would have taken that when we first looked at the initial three fixtures.

Allsop, Francis, Cook, Ward, Harte, Francis (Thomas 78), Arter, MacDonald, Pugh, (Elphick 90) Pitman and Grabban.

Flahavan, Elphick, Surman, McDermott, O'Kane, Thomas and Stockley

Carson, Crainey, Boyce, Perch, Barnett, McCarty, Watson, Maloney, McArthur (McManaman 56), Beausejour (McClean 56), and Holt (Fortune 65).

Wigan Subs
Nicholls, McCann, McClean, Gomez, Espinoza, McManaman and  Fortune.

AFCB Player ratings
Allsop 6, Francis 7, Cook 7, Ward 8, Harte 6, Fraser 7, Arter 6, MacDonald 8, Pugh 7, Pitman 7, Grabban 8.

Going home happy!


  1. Our threat died when Holt went off and we couldn't find an answer to such stoic defending. Beausejour became increasingly frustrated and he has previous of giving away penalties with clumsy challenges like that.

    If you were to pick a team of the day, there would be ten representatives from Bournemouth with only Scott Carson making the lineup from Wigan. I think that says a lot about who was the better side. :)

    Good luck for the season and all that! :D

  2. Hi Dan, thanks for leaving a comment. I was surprised that Wigan did not get the ball in the danger area more often against AFCB. You do have many quality players and will have much better days than this. Bournemouth needed to play after that Watford second half performance and defending against set-pieces was something they would have been doing all week long, so they were ready for Grant Holt. McCarthy's shot in the first five minutes had me worried. But Coyle failed to change things to give you more of a goal threat. All the best for the season.