Monday, 16 December 2013

Home blues for AFCB

I'm struggling to see why AFCB are still not picking up points at home. Early goals against the Cherries are really killing the game and if AFCB don't get the first goal they seem to have problems coming back. That is not something they struggled with against Millwall, but since then the team have found scoring from behind difficult.

Mentality can be a strange thing and I can't see any explanation other than the players finding it hard to pick themselves up after going behind. While AFCB had lots of shots some of the saves Randolph made were as Kris Temple put it 'comfortable'. The clinical finishing that was on show at the Madejski stadium was severely lacking at Dean Court on Saturday.

AFCB didn't find that clinical cutting edge in front of goal.
For the first time this season I am questioning if Eddie Howe got his tactics right. He started with a 4-5-1 which is unusual for a home game but then AFCB went 4-4-2 when Fraser came on and he finally went to 3-5-2 when Daniels came off. It wasn't that AFCB did not have good possession but it was trying to find a way of getting behind the Birmingham defence to open them up. When Rantie came on that became a lot easier as he got in behind countless times on the byline, whereas AFCB had been playing in front of Birmingham's defence for a lot of the game.

AFCB have to work out ways of hurting teams when they are on top at home and while there were many crosses, very few had the quality to give our players a good chance of scoring. That was not the same for Birmingham who hardly had a chance, but when they did for their first goal the cross was perfect giving the striker an easy finish.

When Howe was asked by BBC's Kris Temple if playing at home was becoming a problem it was interesting to hear Eddie say: "No, I don't think so. I thought the crowd to day were excellent. I'm very appreciative of their support and how they backed the players to the end of the game. So there is no way that that can be used as an excuse. We enjoy playing here, I know the players enjoy playing here, but I just think we are going through one of those spells." 

Still, the evidence is that AFCB are not picking up points in front of their home fans. Thank goodness next week they are playing away.

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