Monday, 2 December 2013

Brighton was tough: QPR and Reading are a different kind of test

For once the Cherries really went at the opposition in the first half against Brighton. The worry was that they looked as if they ran out of steam a bit in the second half. Brighton played well in the second period and AFCB have to work out why that was. Some of it must come down to AFCB not managing to do all the things they were doing well earlier.

Team spirit and grit will be needed at QPR. Dig deep AFCB!
Oscar Garcia has to be given some credit as well as the Brighton players for getting back into the game. They clearly saw Ritchie as a problem and they kept him a little quieter second half. The physical side of Brighton's game suited them in this match as the referee was weak in not making a booking for the first poor tackle.

Brighton managed to pin AFCB back and I thought Conway was instrumental in that with his runs on the left wing, while Arter and O'Kane found Rohan Ince more than a handful through the middle. I was pleased when Ince went off half way through the second half. Crofts was kept fairly quiet though for most of the game, which is a credit to O'Kane and Arter as he has been one of Brighton's most influential players.

Still, Brighton are a team who were in the play-offs last season. They were strong and their management of the game was good. AFCB are still learning the art of defending leads when under pressure, but they did not come under the kind of pressure that made Camp have to make too many saves. It was the possession play of Brighton and their movement that kept AFCB at arms length in the second period. Bournemouth's passing also has to remain at the levels it was in the first half, but the energy looked sapped in a few players after the Seagull's goal.

It will be a different kind of tests though against QPR and Reading away. The away form which was so worrying at the start of the season has become a source of real hope. If AFCB can get a lead away from home they must hold on to it this time. They did not manage that against Burnley or Middlesbrough, but if they can just do it again like they did against Doncaster they can climb the table again. Brighton at home was the pressure game, now the QPR and Reading games should be ones that the players now try to enjoy. 

If they play without feeling fear against these teams they could just surprise themselves and the opposition because they have the creative talent on the pitch to do that. We've all seen it in action and it is time that those chances were taken so that the team can get three points. 

Ritchie is certainly a bonus for AFCB in these games, but a goal for Rantie, Pitman, Thomas, O'Kane, MacDonald or Arter would do even more to give the team confidence now.

Later this afternoon,  I'll post an article of an interview I had with Tony Gibson of the Loftus Heights blog. So don't miss it he has some excellent information for visiting fans.

All Departments has a new Kangeroo Court out, talking about AFCB's draw with the Seagulls visit Michael Dunne's site at All Departments.

Finally, pictures of Dean Court on Saturday are up on Match Day Gallery - are you on there?

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