Sunday, 15 September 2013

AFCB 1:2 Blackpool: Cherries switch off and Ince sent to stands

Match Report
AFCB 1 v 2 Blackpool
14th September 2013
Attendance: 9446

They don't make flags as big as that in the club shop to sell.
There was something not quite working on Saturday at Dean Court. It was as if someone had plunged the team into darkness at the crucial moments of the game. At first, I thought it was just the scoreboard on the blink, as no minutes were being shown in the first half,  but at least the floodlights were on. Yet, when two moments called for someone to switch the lights on in the minds of AFCB players, when defending set plays, no one did and it would turn out to be a gloomy day for those supporting the Cherries. For full match day gallery click here

The teams are led onto the pitch.
Paul Ince knew where he should be when watching the match, but even he found himself out of position and watching from the stands. He had already seen left back Robinson sent off for two yellows and after what became a bit a bad tempered affair in the second half, Blackpool's manager incurred the wrath of the fourth official. Apparently, there was an incident with Paul Ince around the 80 minute mark, for which Ince later apologised - he was aiming for his own dugout, after Delfouneso missed a great chance to seal the match.

Those white shirts with orange stripes made the
numbers hard to read Blackpool, thanks for that! 
Still, this was the league leaders Bournemouth were playing who had only let in two goals in league games and a two-one defeat could, and perhaps should, have been so much better for the home team. Eddie Howe had only made one change to the previous game's starting line up as Eunan O'Kane came in for Harry Arter in central midfield.
The subs bench was very dissimilar though with the first appearance of Harry Cornick and the return of Josh McQuoid. However, there was no Tokelo Rantie in town. The Cherries will have to wait until Tuesday to see their new South African striker.

Players almost ready to go - team photo first.
First Half
Far from being slow out of the blocks, it was Bournemouth that created the fist chance with Pitman providing an opening minute cross for Grabban to head narrowly wide. Blackpool countered with Barry Ferguson and Tom Ince down the right. Ricardo Fuller took Blackpool's first shot but it rebounded out towards Pitman who sent Fraser tearing up the pitch, before he ran into a brick wall of tangerine defenders!

Blackpool were going to take the fight to Bournemouth from the off and while a free kick Ferguson took was met by Fuller, Ward managed to put the ball out near the family stand near the corner flag. Danger averted we thought! Well, not quite. From the deep throw the ball was lobbed in to the box and everyone went up for the first header. The ball bounced and found its way straight through to Ricardo Fuller who, unmarked, stooped low on the penalty spot to nod home the first goal. 0:1 to the visitors and just 7 minutes gone.

Blackpool's tails were up and Neil Bishop was next to have a shot which looped up from the edge of the box into Allsop's hands. Daniles was making a break up the left wing but overran the ball. Moments later Fuller and Ward tangled with them both ending up on the floor in what was already becoming a central battle of the match. 

AFCB got back in the game when a throw from the left wing was headed on by Ward to Grabban, who fired home into the bottom of the net after 12 minutes - 1:1. Grabban had taken his goal tally to five for the season as he pounced quicker than the defenders around him near the penalty spot to hit his shot low and hard past the keeper.

The goal unsettled Balckpool and Gary Mackenzie showed his nervousness with a short back pass but got away with it. Pitman almost broke the Blackpool back line himself, but did a cheeky little back heel which Grabban latched onto on the edge of the box. Lewis' shot on 15 minutes took a deflection though and went over for a corner. Francis put in a deep cross from the resulting corner and Pitman fired the ball back into the box but wide of the goal. The home fans gasped - it was a near miss.

Fraser was being his tricky, quick self, but not quite getting the run of the ball. Tom Ince had started to assert himself on the game and on the right wing he was finding some space. His ball in found Ricardo Fuller who headed wide on 18 minutes.

A minute later AFCB won a free kick for a foul on Grabban and Daniels delivery fell to Ward who took a powerful shot, but it rebounded out off a defender and Pugh's cross was caught by the Blackpool keeper.

Tom Ince was creating problems by running at players and he was linking up with Robinson on the right. O'Kane was AFCB's player in the middle of the park who was trying to be king maker, setting Fraser on his way a lot of the time. Pugh had us all amazed at his spinning turn, but he wasn't getting much time on the ball.

It was Tom Ince and Ricardo Fuller that were dictating things, while MacDonald was scrapping at their heels and O'Kane kept trying to feed Pitman, Fraser and Grabban. An important yellow card was shown to Robinson for a foul on Fraser on the edge of the box on 28 minutes. While Daniels shot hit the wall, the yellow card would be bad news for Blackpool in the second half.

Francis and Fraser started to combine some more with Fraser cutting in from the right to hit a low shot that Gilks saved easily.

Blackpool were still creating plenty of chances with Osbourne and Basham on the right wing trying to work a shot and when the cross did come over, Bishop put the chance over. But if that was not close enough, AFCB gave the ball away around the half way line and Fuller sent a pass away to Ince who was left almost to run in on goal, running at pace towards the right side of the box, while Cook and Daniels scrambled back well enough to see Ince's shot come off  the post. Blackpool should have been ahead.

Blackpool were well in charge now and Cook was hurling himself into challenges with Fuller only to lose his boot. Bournemouth tried to hold possession with Pitman and Grabban, but before you knew it Blackpool were coming back with Osbourne shooting well over.

The shape of things to come were seen on 43 minutes when Fuller whacked ward in the face and Elliott fell to ground. It had been a fierce contest but fair. Now things were starting to get more nasty as the ref was letting a lot of the fouling go. So 1:1 at half time.

Blackpool fans
Second Half
The second period started in just the way Eddie Howe would not of liked. It is not the first time that the team has come out in the second half and conceded a goal almost straight away. This time it was a basic corner towards the near post, which Neil Bishop met by running across the Bournemouth defender (possibly MacDonald) to head past Allsop and O'Kane on the post. It was 1:2 to Blackpool after 47 minutes on the clock, which had miraculously decided to start working in the second half, unlike our defenders! 

Blackpool made a sub on 52 minutes with Basham being replaced by new signing Bradley Orr. AFCB won a couple of corners, while Orr's first contribution was to foul Charlie Daniels.

The game changed when Fraser was brought down by Robinson for a second yellow and he then saw red to the sound of  "cherrio" from Bournemouth fans. 56 minutes had gone and for the third home league match the Cherries would play substantial part of the game against 10 men. Tom Ince was also shown a card after arguing with the referee I thought, but it was actually Ferguson.

Paul Ince made a sub on 62 minutes with Martinez being replaced by Delfouneso. AFCB went straight for goal now with Fraser looking like his tangle with a defender in the box should have been a handball, but Blackpool escaped any punishment. Pitman's follow up was a long shot that went wide. Bournemouth threw everything at the visitors with Ward staying up after corners and Cook doing a superb marshalling job on Fuller and Ince with some great last ditch tackles.

Blackpool were already playing for time with Gilks chief culprit and he who was booked after 70 minutes. Pugh then came off for Wes Thomas as Bournemouth looked to press home their one man advantage. While the Cherries had the possession they did not have the cutting edge. Thomas had a good chance from a right wing cross but headed straight over, when he looked favourite to score. Fraser also got into the box, but his shot lacked any power and was easily gathered by Gilks.

Meanwhile, Blackpool took Fuller off to bring on Nathan Tyson on 75 minutes. Tom Ince was still pulling some strings and appeared round the back of AFCB's defence, with Pitman having no idea where the Blackpool midfielder had gone.

Thomas managed to chop down MacKenzie in an uncultured manner which did not earn a card, but a few moments later MacKenzie would go right through the back of Thomas in retaliation. Thomas had a great opportunity to score a few moments later, but had his shot was deflected after some good work by Fraser.

The last 10 minutes of normal play were pretty frantic. Cook made a mess of a pass and let in Delfouneso one-on-one with Allsop, but the Blackpool player fired well wide. Moments later, the game stopped as Paul Ince was sent to the stand - and to think I was searched for bottles before I entered the ground - perhaps they need to check managers too?

While Bournemouth tried everything they could, you got the feeling that Blackpool's professional job of stopping the Cherries was going to see them through. Grabban had a couple of chances, Daniels was knocked over in the box but nothing was going to be given for the Cherries.

While Tom Ince had the ball in the back of the net with a few minutes to go, he was ruled offside and it didn't count. With five minutes of extra time the home crowd did what it could to help get the goal the team deserved and while Pitman had the ball in the net after a late charge, the assistant referee put his flag up for offside.

Game over - not used to seeing Cherries lose!
There were times in this game when AFCB played some entertaining and fast football but it was mainly in the first half. When they had the man advantage the ball wasn't moving around quickly enough and Blackpool were masters of holding things up and stopping any momentum the Cherries tried to build. 

Blackpool fans celebrate.
While some creative wizardry was required for the final pass, which a Harry Arter may have found, if he had been on the pitch or a moment of forward genius play, which Tokelo Rantie may provide in future, what will hurt Eddie Howe is the manner of the two goals that Blackpool scored. Bournemouth switched off for two moments and in those two instances, the seasiders from Lancashire punished the Cherries by taking their chances. And while the Cherries home winning run has ended, many will have gone home thinking Bournemouth were much the better side.

Allsop, Francis, Cook, Ward, Daniels, Fraser, O'Kane, MacDonald, Pugh (Thomas 71), Grabban and Pitman

Flahavan, Elphick, Harte, McQuoid, Thomas, Hughes, Cornick

Gilks, Robinson, MacKenzie, Broadfoot, Basham (52 Orr), Ince, Bishop, Ferguson, Osbourne, Martinez (62 Delfouneso), Fuller (75 Tyson).

Blackpool Subs
Halstead, Orr, Grant, Tyson, Chopra, Delfouneso and Barkhuizen.

AFCB player ratings
Allsop 6, Francis 7, Cook 8, Ward 6, Daniels 8, Fraser 7, O'Kane 7, MacDonald 7, Pugh 6, Grabban 8, Pitman 7.

For full match day gallery click here

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