Sunday, 6 October 2013

AFCB 5: 2 Millwall: Fraser's screamer starts magnificent Cherries comeback

Match Report
AFCB 5 v 2 Millwall
5 October 2013
Attendance: 9624

AFCB during the warm up.
Every now and again you go to a game where you witness just about every emotion you could possibly hope to go through. There is pain, anguish, despair and heartache, before the surprise, joy and exhilaration of seeing you team come through the test. We also saw an unsavoury moment as well, but I'll come back to that. For this game should be celebrated and stored in the memory banks for AFCB players and supporters, because to be entertained like this is something special on Saturday afternoon. You can see more pictures by on the Match Day Gallery now.

Henderson gets a stretch on. 

Malone and company at the Millwall end.

Millwall do some sprinting.
Collison makes his AFCB home debut.
Eddie Howe made a couple changes for the Millwall game. In came Stephen Henderson in goal for Ryan Allsop and we were amazed to see the reintroduction of Harry Arter starting in midfield. He was finally back from injury, which meant O'Kane was moved to the bench. Collison was to make his home debut as well as it was good to see Harte keep his place as AFCB set up 4-4-2.

Millwall were always going to try an impose themselves on the game, which was the express wishes of Steve Lomas and with the first minute Abdou won a towering header over the diminutive figure of Rantie. Grabban started lively with a cross and another pass to set up Pugh who sent a ball over for Fraser who was never going to be tall enough to win the header.

Also making his presence felt was Trotter in the middle and Martin feeding off his passes. The nerves could well have been back we thought when Steve Cook shanked a pass straight out on the left. Grabban then seemed to be held back when he burst into the box off a Francis pass. Francis was pushing forward but when he went down on the edge of the box there was no flag for a foul.

Rantie was trying to get involved but was stopped for a handball on the half way line. From the resulting free kick which Forde took,  Francis headed back the ball into the path of the unrushing Trotter who found himself waltzing into the box unopposed, only to pick out Waghorn to his left, who was in even more space, and he thumped the ball past Henderson to put Millwall one up with almost six minutes gone. We were already feeling pain!

Moments later Waghorn tried another shot but it was straight at the keeper while Fraser's presence in the middle ended with a shot that was well wide of the mark. With eight minutes gone the singing coming from Millwall fans was deafening. They would be singing even louder on nine minutes when Arter played a suicidal ball backwards that was picked up by Waghorn as the Bournemouth defence looked wide open. Suddenly Trotter was played clean through and it was 0:2. This didn't look bad it was awful! We were going to get hammered at this rate.

Picking themselves up, the Cherries won a corner on 11 minutes and tried the now familiar step over routine for Ryan Fraser to hit, but Millwall cleared the shot off the six yard box. The Lions' breakaway looked dangerous and Waghorn had lots of options but chose to shoot wide. Collison was now giving the ball away as well and when Pugh got on the ball, Dunne took him out and was shown yellow.

Fraser took the free kick from the left wing and delivered a good ball in to the far post. The ball ran out to Arter who shot over from the edge of the box. Ward then fouled Martin with 14 minutes gone. The Millwall free kick though was taken too soon by Malone and he was shown a yellow card and had to retake it. Malone's later shot was blocked by Collison and from the corner Henderson caught the ball cleanly.

On 17 minutes Francis crossed again from the right and Pugh's header just lobbed up for Forde to catch. By now the feeling of despair was very evident around the Family stand but we could see the players were trying. Out of all the players Ian Harte was looking the most assured - something I wouldn't have dreamed of saying a few weeks ago. The referee Mr Collins was not having his best game and played the advantage for AFCB, when Rantie was caught, only for us to see Pugh unfairly hauled off the ball and the ref not then pull the play back for the initial foul.

At least Derry was given a yellow card for his poor challenge on Arter on 20 minutes. Pugh managed a stunning turn in the middle, which every one enjoyed, and it seemed like things were picking up for the Cherries. The foul count for Millwall was going up with Dunne on Rantie. Harte's free kick amounted to nothing but Forde's time wasting in goal was beginning to frustrate.

Millwall were coming back at the Cherries with Osbourne and Derry linking up well. They pushed on and found martin who came in from the right wing with a driving run that ended with a shot going just wide on 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, Francis was trying to keep his cross count up but it was wild and behind Pugh and Grabban. Rantie was giving flashing back heels on the half way line when we wanted him to be doing that in the last third of the pitch. Grabban's shot was then spilled before Forde recovered. Collison almost found himself on the end of a good Bournemouth move but slipped when he was on the edge of the box.

AFCB were still having to do some defending with trotter and Woolford on breaks. Derry and Robinson were also playing well for the Lions, while Malone reminded us of his talent down the wing when he won a corner off Francis on 31 minutes. Grabban then went on a curious run that took him to half way when he ran out of options and simply lost the ball.

Millwall were keeping possession better, but Bournemouth were starting to link up.  Harte especially was getting forward now and starting to get crosses in. Fraser's move to the left wing was met with a hard hit shot that cannoned off Robinson so hard that he went down for a few minutes. The medics were on stand by as the physio checked him out. Thankfully, he started moving after what seemed ages.

Rantie was next to have a shot having got down the right and into the box but he couldn't shake the defender off enough to get the shot on target. Grabban was busily trying to make things happen and his ball to Fraser on the left did not seem to dangerous, but when Fraser cut in and let fly with a curling shot, from the edge of the box, we were all surprised that Forde was beaten as the ball rattled into the bottom left corner of the goal. The score was now 1:2, it was game on and a couple of minutes until half time.

Cook came striding out of defence next and managed to off load a pass to Harte but Ian was not alert to it. Arter and Grabban were seeing the ball more now and they set up Collison on the edge of the box to see Forde tip his shot over. AFCB really had the pressure on now and Grabban was played virtually through and could have played in Rantie, but he took a shot instead and the ball went over. Anguish and frustration for all of us.

Half time- it could have been worse I suppose.
At least the sprinklers are working well.
Second Half
Henderson was made to make a save early on from Dunne and was at full stretch. yet, Millwall were soon having to defend manfully with Pugh, Collison and Rantie trying to get through.The sun was now shining right in Forde's eyes. 

Arter tried a glory ball out to Francis but only succeeded in giving possession away. Most of AFCB's passes were getting cut out. Pugh and Collison were guilty of this. When Rantie did get in the box he just couldn't get a  shot away. However, on 47 minutes the Cherries won a corner and Cook met the ball with a powerful header that went in off the underside of the bar 2:2! Cook wins the first  AFCB defender of the season to score - not many AFCB fans got that right.

You had the feeling that Bournemouth could do this now. Millwall's fans had gone deadly silent while we were rampant and up for completing the comeback by going in front. Grabban was putting himself about around the Millwall box and was fouled. Harte too a bending free kick that struck the bar full on to reverberate the metal for a few seconds. Then, sure enough, on 55 minutes the ball ricoched back to Arter, from Rantie's ball in, on the edge of the box and he pinged it into goal to make it 3:2 and headed off, perhaps not so wisely, towards the Millwall fans in celebration.

Millwall made a double substitution on 58 minutes with Derry and Trotter being replaced by Bailey and Morison. Immediately afterwards the Cherries planted a long throw into the box and Dunne handled it to send AFCB fans delirious. Dunne was given a second yellow and then the red card and Grabban was given the opportunity to score from the spot which he duly did, right in the right hand bottom corner - 4:2. "Who are yah, who are yah?" We sang. 

The police are out in force as the game is held up
with a Bournemouth player injured.
There were some ugly scenes which I said I would refer to earlier. Grabban and others celebrated near to the Millwall fans and I am guessing something was thrown on the pitch and hit Cook, because he went down for a while and the police quickly moved in to stop any further trouble from the Millwall supporters.  

Lomas then made another sub as Waghorn was replaced by Connolly on the hour. While Millwall managed to win a free kick which Malone took on 62 minutes, they still looked shell-shocked. Down to 10-men they were up against it now. Martin was looking their best bet for a goal, but it was damage limitation from here on in for the Lions.

Morison played up front on his own for the visitors. While Millwall did their best to make a game of it the work ethic of players like Grabban and Francis were just not letting up. Francis even took a boot in the face rather than let Millwall get possession. Martin was running hard and trying to make the Cherries make a mistake but it was a lost cause. Pugh was enjoying himself with a classy pull-back on Martin and the possession was now all one way. A few Ola's rang out.

Surman was introduced on 77 minutes and Rantie was taken off.  Abdou still had enough energy to foul Grabban but the spirit had been taken out of the Millwall side. Surman's first major contribution was to take a shot but it was well wide.

O'Kane then came on for Pugh with 83 minutes gone. Harte was getting forward at will by now. Arter was the last Bournemouth player to be taken off as Pitman was given a run out on 87 minutes. "We're on our way" was the call from the Bournemouth fans. I felt that we could do with another goal to reduce that negative goal difference we had. Collison and Surman were doing their best when Surman was fed with a good ball from the on loan hammer only to shoot wide. 

Extra time now. Was five minutes enough extra time to get another goal? Sure enough though, Fraser popped up in the corner of the box and as he turned back inside, Connolly blocked his path and Fraser had nowhere to go but down - penalty! There was no fight for the ball. Grabban headed for the touchline for a drink, while Pitman gratefully grabbed hold of the ball and fired Bournemouth 5:2 up. the comeback was complete.

Seven goals! Value for money today.
I could simply agree with the many AFCB fans shouting out 0:2 up and you messed it up - to be polite. But it was a bit more complicated than that. Fraser's goal was crucial to get the pendulum swinging the Cherries way. Once the crowd was back behind them it was going to be tough for Millwall to hold on despite the lead they were gifted. Once they sensed a victory was on Bournemouth warmed to the task in the second half and a nine minute spell with three goals was a period of play that Millwall would never recover from, especially as they were then reduced to 10-men. 

A happy Steve Flecther Stand.

Eddie thanks the crowd.

Henderson, Francis, Ward, Cook, Harte, Fraser, Collison, Arter (Pitman 87), Pugh (O'Kane 83), Grabban, Rantie (Surman 77).

AFCB Subs:
Jalal,  Elphick, Pitman, O'Kane, Thomas, Surman and Hughes.

AFCB Player Ratings
Henderson 6, Francis 7, Ward 7, Cook 8, Harte 8, Fraser 9, Collison 7, Arter 6, Pugh 6, Grabban 7, Rantie 6.

Forder, Dunne, Robinson, Osbourne, Malone, Trotter, Abdou, Derry, Waghorn, Martin, Woolford. 

Millwall Subs:
Bailey, Lowry, Keogh, Easter, Bywater, Connolly and Morison.


  1. Excellent piece yet again Peter!!
    As you rightly say, Ryan's glorious goal was pivotal, because after 10 minutes I was searching for my calculator on my phone. To myself, I was questioning why Arter started ahead of Surman, especially as he was giving the ball away far too much. But then he goes and scores a lovely goal and alls forgiven. Henderson must of wondered what the heck he'd let himself in for, he did little wrong for me, the fact he was QUICKLY releasing the ball and starting attacks was a breath of fresh air. I don't know what Allsop's instructions have been, but I hope he was taking notes, it must of been a valuable lesson. Ian Harte has come in for some stick, and to be honest I'd been disappointed the little I'd seen of him, a shadow of the player I expected. Not Saturday, I thought as the game wore on, he was showing his class, especially that free kick, so I was pleased for him. Now my take on Rantie, he is coming in for some criticism, not scoring, what a waste of money and so on. I don't buy that one bit. He, along with Fraser in particular, causes mayhem with defences. OK, so he's not hit the net yet, but so what, his pace, his not giving up lost causes, his ability with the ball, draws defenders in to try and stop him leaving space for others, or being fouled and getting us free kicks and so on. No, I don't have a problem with TK, I think he's great, and really hope he does score soon, for himself and to shut a few up. I was shattered when I arrived home, my wife not understanding one bit all I'd been through watching that incredible game. What with the break and two away games, it's going to be far too long before we get to see The Mighty Cherries again, but I just can't wait, I'm loving every minute of this seasons highs and lows. I don't know about value for money, Saturdays game was almost worth buying a season ticket for alone, ok, I exaggerate (a little), and to finish off, Lomas complaining about the referee, I bet he wasn't griping when Millwall were getting all the decisions in the first half, not to say that I agree with Lomas's after match comments. I've seen us tonking someone for a while now, and if we can stop this obligatory let's give the opposition a two goal start, and get our passing game going more often than not, we'll slaughter even more teams. UTCIAD

  2. Hi AFCBPete
    It was indeed an entertaining game. I like the comments you make about Henderson. He was so at ease I must admit I did not worry about the ball when it was played back to him and he made one brilliant take in the second half from a corner wich we are just not used to seeing at Dean Court. I'll be writing on Tokelo soon and Arter. Harry Arter is something special and such players often come with some mishaps or else they can't do special things.

    I do think managers say things they must later cringe about when they hear it back. Steve Lomas probably was just happy to say something other than speak about the coin incident. Thanks for your comments pete

  3. This was a proverbial game of two halfs. At one stage in the first half I thought it was going to be a Huddersfield result where we could do nothing, I was contempating leaving early and having a miserable drive back to St Neots. I am not sure why we start so slowly, have you picked up on the stat that we've conceded more goals in the first 15 mins than any other Championship side? We played well at Leeds and the Alsop sending off was crucial and I think undeserved, however, I also think the Milwall defender being sent off was harsh. But we were on a roll second half and the sending off did not affect the score. I saw a Millwall fan first thing today (you know a real Millwall fan) and they are ashamed of the idiot who through the coin, their fans are helping to identify him.

  4. Hi Norman, I am glad you did not leave early and miss what is probably one of our matches of the season. I am aware of the early goal stat - see my frantic 10 minute post, but it has mainly been developed by the Blackburn and Millwall games at home. If you remember the Middlesbrough game we were two up in about 10 minutes, although that was away so perhaps it is a home game thing. I also have a great conversation with a Millwall fan and showed him to the away end. He had supported the club over 20 years and was disappointed with the reputation the club still has. Sadly it wasn't enhanced any by this match.