Friday, 31 January 2014

Just Yann or two more deals on deadline day at AFCB

So Deadline day is drawing to a close with just a few hours left to go. AFCB have eventually secured their main man, Yann Kermorgant from Charlton Athletic for a fe
e believed to be between 400k-500k, but undisclosed. We hope the striker can bang in plenty of goals for AFCB. Yann signed in time to play on Saturday so as long as the weather holds off we could see Yann take to the pitch in Red and Black this weekend. The deal is a two-and-a-half year one for the 32 year-old striker.

Of course AFCB still have to go to the Valley having had their Fourth round FA Cup tie on the day that the original fixture would have been played. I think it might be worth getting a ticket to that game as the banter on Yann might be a bit tasty, assuming there is no gentlemen's agreement for him not to play in the one (no date has yet been re-arranged yet for that fixture in case you are wondering). He's is AFCB's player after all and not on loan. By the way it's going to cost you a bit to get all those KERMORGANT letters on the back of your next shirt!

Not sure about the last goal on this video. Yann you start from -1 in an AFCB shirt!

At just gone 2pm AFCB also completed the signing of Ben Whitfield from Guiseley AFC on an 18 month deal. Another Development squad player.

Ben Whitfield also signs for the Cherries.
I do wonder what players do if they are settled at a club and don't want to be contacted during deadline day. Do they switch their mobiles off and go for a long walk? Or is the thought of going to a better paid job too much for most players? I expect there were a few Odemwingie's out there with the phone on emergency redial to their agents and the car revved up and ready to go. Hopefully the the one twitter rumour read of Ritchie being unsettled was total rubbish.

There were some other rumours about (some of which I might have started – naughty me), but they did not come off. In light of Sam Allardyce's misery having been castigated by Jose Mourinho at his side's 19th Century style of football with 11 players in the box, West Ham looked destined to release some key players. I hoped that Jack Collison might be among them and that AFCB could snatch him up. Maybe we are not quite that rich yet, but there is a bit of time left.

The good news is that Eunan O'Kane is likely to be staying at AFCB for the foreseeable future so we don't need Collison at this point in time. There were no bids for any of AFCB's players to my knowledge which can only be seen as a good thing from a fans point of view. I think most of us are pretty happy with the squad staying together.

I do wonder who made that grey deadline day scarf. I imagine it was sent to all 92 league clubs. That was a missed opportunity for me to have Cherry Chimes on it! To be honest I am quite partial to Jim White's signed yellow tie that was being given away on SkySport's News.

It's not just Nugent AFCB have to keep quiet

Leicester City are dropping in on Dean Court on Saturday and while you look at the stats and start to creek at the qualities of David Nugent and his impressive goal haul of 17, you might think that AFCB will be doing okay if they can stop him. Sadly though the job is bigger than that for our lads. Leicester City have the best attack in the Championship with Jamie Vardy and Lloyd Dyer also chipping in another 19 goals together, two in the last game against Birmingham. Only Derby have scored more goals than Leicester, but Derby have let in several more goals than Leicester who sit proudly at the top of the division.
Leicester players warm up at the King Power Stadium when the teams last met.
I have to admit that I was never that sure whether Nigel Pearson was a good manager or not. He has had his struggles in the Championship but he seems to be a good fit at Leicester and is pushing his players on to greater things than the play-offs last season. It has to be in part down to him that Leicester are riding so high.

The signing of Kevin Phillips also raised eyebrows with the striker now 40, but he has already shown great understanding with Nugent and if he can teach a few tricks to the Foxes strikers as well as filling in for the last 20 minutes of games he has to be an astute addition to the squad. You can't fault Phillips' desire of his bottle when he helped Palace to the Premiership. He just keeps on going.

It is Dyer that I was most impressed with when we played Leicester away. He has startling pace and gave Francis probably his hardest game of the season. They also have Knockaert on the right who is no slouch while Drinkwater strides around imperiously in the centre of the park for them. 

Yeah, they are a Premiership outfit in waiting more or less with Schmeichel in goal and Konchesky, de Laet and Moore all being highly praised for their performances at the back. Having won their last seven when this article was written you have to say that AFCB have their work cut out. But these kind of challenges are something that our players have to look forward to. Imagine what a win against such a side can do for morale and belief in the games to come. 

AFCB have held their own against many of the top sides away, but it would be great to see them score a few more goals at home. I am sure Eddie Howe will ask the team to defend well, but attacking Leicester is what AFCB will try to do. Perhaps an early goal for the Cherries can turn the pressure onto the Foxes so that we can see how they respond to that. But Leicester have won a record eight games on the bounce so this is a very tricky game and a draw would not be a bad result in my opinion.

Check out Hot Radio's chart with Eddie Howe pre-match on our side bar with Jordan Clark and enjoy the rest of transfer deadline day.

Leicester Away form:

AFCB Home form:


Yann signs

Finally, a few words from Eddie Howe on Yann Kermorgant from AFC Bournemouth's official site. Apparently he has just signed a 2.5 year deal - well done Eddie you finally got your man!

Match Preview: Cherry Chimes talks to Leicester Til I Die

AFCB v Leicester City
Match Preview
Blogger Interview - Leicester Til I Die

Leicester Till I Die Badge
Cherry Chimes speaks to Chris Forryan who write the Leicester Til I Die website. We spoke earlier in the season when the Cherries lost 2:1 away to the Foxes and since then Leicester City have gone to the top of the league so how confident is Chris that his team can stay there until  the end of the season?

CC: Are you surprised to be clear at the top after the Christmas games?

LTID: What a difference 12 months make. This time last year we couldn't buy a win this year we're looking at the possibilty of a winning record. Wasn't surprised to be top, mildly surprised we managed to stay there and are 8 points clear. (CC: I can tell you Leicester won midweek and have that record 8 wins in a row!)

CC: Leicester have been on a great winning run since mid-December, do you think the players believe in themselves now - that Derby Co game did the trick didn't it?

LTID: The Derby game was amazing but the Leeds game was just as important showing we can soak up pressure and still win, something that we wouldn't have done last season. The memory of the bad run and play-off semi defeat in the way it happened has galvanized them.

CC: Why has David Nugent been such a prolific scorer for you?

LTID: He has had 12 penalties of which he has scored 9 so that helps his figures. Being the reconised penalty taker will help the stats but he has struck up an amazing partnership with Jamie Vardy, who has won most of those penalties for the team.

CC: Leeds recently played a high pressing game against Leicester and they almost got the lead so is this where Leicester are a bit vulnerable when their defenders are harried at the back?

LTID: In past seasons yes, but this term even if we go behind we feel we can come back and win, just look at the recent 5-3 win over Bolton Wanderers.

CC: While Leicester have scored plenty of goals they have also let in an equal amount, so do you expect a few quality defenders will be required over the summer no matter where you finish?

LTID: As I said look at the Bolton game so yes is the simple answer. We have a good squad but a small one.

CC: How do you think the team will be set up when you play away to Bournemouth?

LTID: The team currently picks itself with the same starting line up for the past 8 games so don't expect any changes. It is for you to worry about us.

CC: Are you worried that Nigel Pearson could be tempted to leave the club if a Premiership managerial position comes available and do you think he can do it in the Premiership?

LTID: Nigel is very loyal I believe. The club stayed loyal to him and think he would to us. Having said that if a Manchester or Chelsea came in for him who would stand in his way, but I don't think he is that good just yet.

CC: Kevin Phillips was a surprising signing considering he is 40 years old, but do you think his experience is what the team needed at this stage of the season?

LTID: Defiantly. Could be the signing of the Championship this season.

CC: Is there any player in your team that you think Premiership or foreign clubs might come in for in the summer?

LTID: Take your pick. Schemichel, Knockaert, Vardy, Drinkwater, Moore it would be easier to say who wouldn't they come in for.

CC: Which games do you feel are most important to win now, you still have some top six teams to play - late March and early April looks tricky when the pressure will be on won't it?

LTID: To be honest without sounding big headed we need to win every game. We are the team to beat and the pressure is on the other teams to come and beat us, we have the points on the board.

CC: Who do you think your player of the season will be?

LTID: Take your pick from 11. For me though Jamie Vardy. Bought form Non League Fleetwood Town for a non league record fee of £1 million he struggled last season but has been brilliant this term. He's quick and know where the goal is.

Okay, Chris thanks for your answers. It looks like it is up to the Cherries to try and stop the Leicester juggernaut. I wondered if you might be confident having seen eight wins in a row. It will be intriguing to see if the pitch is a bit of a leveler after the rain we have had, while AFCB's players have found a bit of form at home and did okay in the slippery conditions last time out. Let's see if Leicester can hold their footing at Dean Court!

For more of Chris' views please visit his site at Leicester Til I Die.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

AFCB's Development squad strengthened with Muleba (video)

It is not just the first team squad that AFCB are strengthening this January window. I was joking at lunch time with a colleague of mine who is a Chelsea fan that they surely have some players that they might want to off load to a club like AFCB in the Championship. While the Cherries are a little down the pecking order to attract the likes of Juan Mata, there was no problem in picking up Chelsea's U18 captain Jonathan Muleba.

Muleba can play anywhere along the back four, according to the official AFCB website, and the Chelsea youth team have been winning a lot of games in their Premier U18 league as you might expect. Here is a short video in which Muleba gets a few mentions but doesn't quite get on the score sheet, as Chelsea U18 take on Aston Villa's U18s.

With Josh O'Hanlon also joining the Development squad this week I am hoping that there are a few more games for the team to play. Jonathan has a two-and-a-half year contract.

What would Yann Kermorgant add to the Cherries?

I have to admit I didn't know that much about Yann Kermorgant, although he is not a young striker (32) and has been playing in England for some years, having first played over hear for Leicester City. When a forward scores a special goal against your team in the opening game of the season you don't always want to know much more. But Eddie Howe certainly knew that Kermorgant was a striker worth watching and to sign him from Charlton Athletic would be making a statement that an experienced forward is not adverse to leaving a London club for the south coast.

Yann has scored eight goals this season, five of which were in the league. In his career at Charlton it's 29 in 88 games. I don't see him as having as much pace as some of our other forwards but in the box he has the technique and sharpness to put away chances, which is something our strikers have not found easy at this level. Charlton fans also talk about his strong heading ability, his flicks and ability to find players in good shooting positions. Yann could find the service that our overlapping full backs can provide is also like eating off a plate a dinner time! We can only hope that if he does sign that he fits in quickly and starts to add to this seasons tally of goals.

I could also see him being used to play alongside Tokelo Rantie, as Yann can hold the ball up well with his strength and Rantie could make runs in behind more effectively off him than some of AFCB's other strikers. The plan I am sure involves getting more out of Rantie, but I wonder how many years Yann has left in him?

At least Yann has a good knowledge of the Championship and has experience of playing against these teams. Such a player could help the Cherries establish themselves in this division. The signing certainly would take something away from Charlton, their leading goalscorer for starters. 

Even if it doesn't happen, AFCB are showing that they have the ability to look at other Championship players and can keep hold of players of the quality of Lewis Grabban. All the time AFCB are looking to close the gap on the so-called bigger Championship sides.

Nervy AFCB fans await transfer news

Transfer windows are supposed to be tense and exciting and this one is potentially a key one for the Cherries. The latest transfer speculation at AFCB is getting a bit nervy as news is slow to filter out of Dean Court.

Twitter conversation is rife between Charlton and AFCB fans on the future of Yann Kermorgant in particular. There are doubts whether Kermorgant will sign for the Cherries now, while Rhoys Wiggins has been offered a 4.5 year deal to stay at Charlton Athletic, according to BBC Solent's Kris Temple. Kermogrant may wish to stay at Charlton but could also still be tempted to go north to Celtic so perhaps Charlton fans should not rejoice quiet yet if Yann does not come to AFCB.

Meanwhile, there are strong reports that AFCB tabled a £1.5m bid for Cardiff City's Joe Mason that was turned down, although a fresh bid could be imminent. Other clubs now said to be chasing Mason include Championship rivals Bolton Wanderers, Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday.

While the talk is all about whether AFCB can secure the services of Kermogant, Wiggins and Mason I am happy that news is deflected away from any of our players. So far no bid news has come in of big clubs looking to steal away our young crop of talented Championship players and yet I am sure that some are waiting until the last minute. Shwan Jalal is the only likely mover so far to Bradford City, while Partington is likely to extend his loan to Aldershot, says the Bournemouth Echo.

Although Eddie Howe has remained fairly quiet about transfer targets it appears now that he certainly has been given funds to go and strengthen the squad and some major efforts are going in to bringing in more players. The starting 11 on Saturday could have one or two new names in it. The injury list that includes Daniels, O'Kane, Fraser and Rantie may mean that it will be quite a different team any way.

I would expect the Kemorgant and Wiggins deals will be sorted one way or another today, but the Mason target is the one that I believe Eddie Howe has been after for a long time and will more likely conclude tomorrow if successful.

Sit tight, it could be a long day and an even longer evening tomorrow night. UTCIAD!

AFCB can look to start their charge up the table

We know that the Championship is a difficult league and to get back to back wins is extremely hard at any stage of the season. That has marked the top teams out from the others. One minute AFCB look like they are struggling a bit against some of the sides and then they play like they could tare any one apart.  
Eunan O'Kane is becoming a real leader on the pitch.
There has been lots of talk about the team not shooting often enough and passing too much around the box in looking for that opening. I don't think that is necessarily true although we all want to see more shots on target. The problem is in working so hard to make golden opportunities there are occasions when a snap shot could just take a keeper by surprise. It's more a case of mixing things up a little more in the final third and having the odd pot shot instead of always trying to engineer the perfect goal. AFCB supporters are sounding more like Arsenal fans every day!

The point is the team is not doing badly. A couple of wins and the table does not look so daunting or the teams in it. While AFCB managed a win in mid-week, most of the other results also worked out quite well for them with several draws. If AFCB can start to think about the matches one at a time and just trying to play positively the table will take care of itself.

It also helps that the Cherries are attracting good players like Lee Camp and Adam Smith. It is also expected that the Cherries will complete the signing of Yann Kermorgant later this morning as discussions continue, while Rhoys Wiggins is said to be back on the Cherries wanted list. These are good times. I believe the players are enjoying the challenge as noted in Grabban decision to stay and Eunan O'Kane's statement that he wants to reach the Premiership one day with AFCB rather than with another club. It's all positive stuff and AFCB fans should realise by now that they have a team to be very proud of. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Josh O'Hanlon looks a good prospect for AFCB (video)

I had a sneaky look at the video on Josh this afternoon to see what had excited Eddie Howe about this youngster from Longford Town. He has good close control and is not afraid to take on difficult shots from what I have seen. As an 18-year old I would think that he would be trying to make his mark in the Development squad first under the teaching skills of Stephen Purches, while I am sure Joe Roach will take a look at him having done so well with AFCB strikers' development.

While it is good news to see the first squad doing well it is important that the Development squad gets some games so I would not be surprised if Josh goes out on loan at some point if there are not enough matches arranged. I heard that Harry Cornick went out to Dorchester on loan earlier this week and that the Development squad had a good 5-0 win against Portsmouth with Coulibaly scoring a brace as he looks to get some game time.

You can see the Josh O'Hanlon video here.

Can AFCB add more teeth to their attack?

Roy Keane was pretty brutal in his assessment of AFCB's attack in the last third against Liverpool last weekend, but I guess you can't expect many positives from Roy. In a way I like the way he gives his opinions in a forthright manner with no hesitation and stern belief that he is right. You cannot disagree though that AFCB did not have the tools to hurt a team like Liverpool on the day, but can Eddie Howe strengthen this transfer window?
The main attacking threats AFCB currently use - Grabban, Pitman and TK.
Whether the attacking threat AFCB has changes in the near future is a question that AFCB fans will be keen to know. If Eddie Howe is going to dip into the transfer market for a striker this window he is leaving it late. There has been speculation that Yann Kermorgant is the man that AFCB could be after if Powell does not stay as manager at Charlton. While Josh O'Hanlon is reputed to be joining the club from Longford Town in Ireland, I imagine as a Development squad player.

At the moment 34 goals from 27 games is not strong enough to challenge for the play-offs. It is the most difficult area to strengthen as we have seen. Some may have hoped that Tokelo Rantie would have provided more ammunition than he has so far in front of goal, but perhaps last night is all that he needed to get going. It is good to see a smile on his face any way, even if he was not pleased to miss out on a second goal last night. But it's not just Tokelo that needs to find the net regularly. Brett Pitman and Andrew Surman need to be doing better in front of goal and they will want to be doing better, while Josh McQuoid is still waiting to get a run in the side. Surman is starting to be more involved and getting into threatening positions and Eddie Howe seems to like him above Josh McQuoid and perhaps Pitman with the 4-1-4-1 system.
Andrew Surman is yet t score this season.
What was a little surprising was to hear TK say that Eddie Howe should not be changing anything and that the team is best using him as a second half sub at the moment. If that suits AFCb and TK has more success that way then surely it is a good thing as Rantie gets used to playing English football.
Tokelo Rantie score his first home goal for AFCB.

Rantie starts to feel at home - must be the weather!

It was great to hear that Tokelo Rantie have a good evening at Dean Court last night. The value of strikers in this league shows itself all the time. Huddersfield were lacking their main forward while AFCB could bring on their highest costing striker to win the game. At some points during the evening there were worries that the game could have been abandoned, but thanks to some frantic forking before kick off and half time the pitch just about stayed playable.
Rantie breaks his home scoring duck.
The conditions were terrible at the Goldsands stadium last night but it was a battling effort that won AFCB the three points. Huddersfield goal keeper Smithies made three amazing saves in the first half with Ward, Arter and Ritchie especially going close. Marc Pugh was said to run himself into the ground on the wings where it was treacherous under foot. It was Pugh who won the first opportunity to get AFCB on the score sheet and this time there was not many complaints from the Huddersfield players when he went down in the box. The pressure must have been on Grabban more than ever, to take the spot kick having missed his last one. At least this one was at the other end of the pitch in front of the north stand and with him slotting away the kick it looked like AFCB were well on their way to a home win.
TK could do no wrong against Huddersfield and was cheered after scoring.

It wasn't just the weather that was making it hard for the Cherries to get that home win though. Huddersfield are a good footballing side and they were able to strike back quickly through Calum Woods and yet again I had that sinking feeling that it might not be AFCB's night after all.

For some reason Willo who is always confident that TK can do the business was even more sure that Rantie would score when he came on. And surprise, surprise Rantie wasted no time in finding the back of the net with the help of an upright. While it was a battle to the end this win makes a tremendous difference not only to the look of the table but to the players' confidence. Now the home games are starting to bring points and TK is going to feel a lot more at home after this.

Rantie is interviewed after the match.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Match Description: TK tip-toes through the rain to score AFCB 2 v 1 Huddersfield

AFCB 2 V 1 Huddersfield Town
28 January 2014
Attendance: 7258 (including 326 Huddersfield fans) 

Under the floodlights (pic Harry Brown)
The teams are out but the groundsman still want to do their work.
AFCB named an unchanged team for the visit of Huddersfield. Having recovered from their exploits in the FA Cup this was always billed as a tricky home fixture for the Cherries having seen five goals fly past them in the away fixture earlier in the season. But there was no James Vaughan or Adam Hammill for the visitors and AFCB fans were buoyant having heard the news that Adam Smith had signed a permanent deal with the club even if he was not available for this game.

HTAFC are very artistic so here is there nice diagram.

Match Description listening to BBC Radio Solent: As it happened
AFCB kicking towards the Ted MacDougall stand this half with Huddersfield in yellow. Graham Horwood's first game as ref in the Championship we hear. Wells is tackled by Francis. Arter up to half way and his pass is cut out by Anthony Gerrard.Danny Ward to Woods and Wells had a nice shot but camp makes the save.

The ball is played out quick but Grabban can't get to it in time. Huddersfield have it until it goes out for a throw. Francis heads out. Gobern loses the ball and O'Kane to Grabban, Gerrard comes in and it could have been a penalty, but an initial infringement is given instead - corner. Ritchie takes a corner, Ward and then Arter looked like they would score but the keeper brings off brilliant saves from point blank range! Grabban is now offside. "Fantastic reflexes," says Willo.

Francis on the right to Ritchie and Gerrard puts it out. Arter to Surman, Ritchie fires wide. Huddersfield just playing with three at the back. Huddersfield throw and Danny Ward almost scores with a header but goes past the left hand post. Elphick did just enough to put him off. 

Daniels loses the ball. Smith takes the throw but Arter has it then Ritchie and Francis. Ward counters with O'Kane chasing. Elphick volleys the ball away after 8 minutes. Huddersfield win a corner off Francis. Norwood takes it. Matt Ritchie charges it down but its back in to Woods and Clayton but Dixon over hits it as Grabban closes.

Wells wriggles away from Elphick but shoots wide. Willo not impressed that Elphick let the ball bounce there. Daniles to Pugh, low cross but its out for a goal kick. There's puddles on the pitch apparently in some spots! Grabban puts Wallace under pressure and gets a corner. Ritchie now with Francis and Grabban but Wells clears. 11 minute gone. Surman tries a long pass but it's out for a goal kick.

Daniels is in trouble and Steve Hard comes on to the pitch. Daniels is coming off after 13 minutes and Ian Harte gets ready to come on. "He's probably got something to prove here," says Willo. O'Kane to Arter, now a chance for Woods and Gobern to Clayton who finds Dixon but it's cleared.

The Cherries have the ball. "A lot of water came off that ball," says Willo. Francis and Ritchie, but there was an important touch by Danny Ward. 17.5 minutes gone. Grabban wins a through off of Wallace, chasing lost causes. Francis and Ritchie linking up again. Long ball to Ian Harte, but Dixon gets the header wrong and its a corner to AFCB. Harte and Ritchie by the ball. It comes to Ritchie and a terrific save around the post for another corner. Loads of pace on that corner but a great save. "That's the third save Smithies has made, got down to his left at full stretch," says Willo.

Pugh in field to O'Kane and Ian Harte. Arter looks for ugh, but it's easy for Smithies. Huddersfield down the right with Ward crossing but Camp claims it. Ritchie to Grabban but Clayton has it and looks for Wells, Woods and Gobern and through to Camp.

O'Kane to Surman but Dixon wins it to Clayton and Norwood and Elphick wins the ball. O'Kane looks for Grabban and Gerrard gets a good tackle in. Harte takes a corner but it's cleared out of play. the rain has nearly stopped - light drizzle.

Ritchie and Pugh to Harte and onto Grabban. O'Kane on half way and now Elphick. Harte to Grabban trying to link with Arter but Huddersfield clear. Ritchie seems to have a floating role and is switching wings. Wells and O'Kane battle for the ball. Now Pugh and back to Elliot Ward. Elphick to Francis and Surman. Now Arter and Clayton is away. Dixon has a shot and Camp goes down well on his right hand post. Pugh loses control on the break. "It's an attritional night," says Temple.

Grabban is being forced away from goal. Wells on the break and it's back to Camp. O'Kane and Ward. Grabban is offside as Surman looked for him. "Magnificent pass," says Willo. Grabban down the right and Gerrard gets in when Surman and Pugh wanted the ball.

O'Kane feeds it through to Grabban who is offside again. The rain is back, 32 minutes gone. Danny Ward finds Wells in his green boots but Arter blocks Norwood. Francis though gives a free kick against Francis on Norwood, dead centre near the box. "A shooting opportunity," says Willo.

Norwood to take. It's too high and over the bar. The Cherries get a free kick. Ritchie is annoyed that Elphick is not giving any information to him. Grabban to Arter and Surman. Harte in support, Grabban heads it behind. Handball by Gobern. Surman to Grabban outside box but Gerrard slides in.

"Danny Ward has the cleanest of the Huddersfield shirts," says Temple. It hasn't been the most thrilling of spectacles he adds, apart from some chance is the first 20 minutes. Elliott Ward air shots but has a second attempt to clear and Arter is fouled. Ritchie over to Harte. Pugh to Ritchie and Grabban was on it but the ball did not hold up. Six minutes until half time.

Francis has a shot but its scooped away. O'Kane to Surman and AFCB get the throw. Dixon cannons it off Ritchie and gets a throw. "Red Army" is belted out! still 0:0 here. Woods plays back to the keeper who clears in a hurry. Francis now caught by Woods. Francis with the free kick, but Smithies collects.

Both teams get four to six passes in but then it keeps breaking down.Two minutes added on. Wells looks for Ward but it runs out for a throw. Pugh is caught and another set piece half way inside the Huddersfield half. Harte takes but it's half time. Smithies the busier of the two keepers, but it's 0:0 at half time.

That doesn't look good - goal mouth at the North stand. (pic from Geoff zzzzz)
A delayed second half as groundsmen try and clear the pitch of standing water!

Second Half
Ritchie to Grabban, avoids Wallace and now Pugh across goal, beats everyone but wide! Almost a great start for AFCB. Arter to Grabban across comes Wallace. Arter and Surman and Harte to Pugh but the cross goes out. Ward tidies up in the Cherries half. "Is it more of a three up top," says Temple looking at AFCB's formation. Ritchie certainly has a floating role tonight. Ward shoots for Huddersfield but Camp saves.

Clayton and Gobern runs into Harte. Arter has it but plays it behind Pugh and out. Harte plays it forward. The ball is sticking in places but there's no more rain. Pugh over half way and Surman on through the middle. O'Kane turns and into Gabban but it's cleared. Norwood to Clayton and Dixon. But Surman has it. Wells almost in but Ward gets a head in. 

Pugh now has a shot well off target on his left foot. O'Kane against Norwood. Huddersfield down the left with Dixon and Wells charitably hooks it into Elliott Ward. Ward to Pugh but Gobern has it and Wells bends his run but the ball is too strong.

Pitman is limbering up. Gobern to Woods level with the box. Dixon overlaps, Ritchie knicks it back. Harte to Pugh and goes down. Penalty to AFCB! "The game needed livening up," says Temple. Grabban to take the penalty - deep breathe1 He missed his last one. "No mistake this time! 54 minutes, low to the keeper's left - 1:0 to the Cherries.

I am praying that the game is not called off now. "Eleven times when AFCB have scored first they have won the game," says Temple. Don't you just love meaningless stats!

11 minutes gone in the second half. "We're on our way," being sung. Another few goals would be nice. "Eddie Howe's Barmy Army" now. handball against Gerrard played on. Cherries on left with Ricthie, but Clayton wins it and Ward then Woods with Dixon to Wells and a one to with Woods. GOAL! Woods low shot and it's 1:1. A rasping finish from Woods. Cut along 18 yard box. It was a one-two that undid AFCB. Top corner finish. " Absolutely leathered the ball, cutting on to his favourite foot," says Willo. 59 minutes gone.

Gobern goes off and Southern enters the game on the hour. Ward up to Gerrard. and Norwood. Ritchie wins the ball. "Nine of the last 11 goals for AFCB have come from Ritchie or Grabban," says Temple. Harry  Arter slides in and comes off worse. Free kick to AFCB.

Pugh turns from Smith. Harte to Grabban and Arter, back to Harte. Pugh to Harte, but can't find O'Kane too much water! Ritchie with Francis, but Huddersfield defending well. Arter and Surman shoots blocked by Gerrard. Francis to the byline headed out by Gerrard. Pugh now but Ritchie loses it until O'Kane and now Francis, but Huddersfield clear.

Pugh almost unlocked the door again. A quarter of the game to go. Francis puts the ball out. AFCB make a sub. Rantie comes on and Surman comes off after 68 minutes. Wells to Woods and Dixon. Southern dinks it in Smith is there but Harte hacks it away. Norwood's cross is headed out by Elliott Ward.

"The last three goals in the Championship have been Grabban penalties," says Temple. Wells is offside. Willo was not sure about that one. GOAL! Francis to O'Kane and Rantie has his first goal at home. 18 minutes to go and it's 2:1. Willo was sure that Rantie would score and he has. Rantie gets booked for over celebrating. "Let's hope that it's the first of a lot more to come," says Willo.

O'Kane had broken through the middle and while Rantie hit the post it went in - they all count! Pugh is caught by Norwood and Norwood is booked. "Rantie give us a wave," sing the North stand. " He's just running across the ground and not even making foot prints - Rantie, says Willo.

Scannell comes on for Norwood after 76 minutes. 13 minutes to go. Here's Ritchie to Rantie but Wallace clears. Now Arter but Rantie is offside. Scannell loses the ball and Elphick plays it up to Rantie who wins a throw. The conditions are ideal for him. Stead replaces Woods the goal scorer. Grabban spins looking for Rantie and wins a corner.

A good delivery please Ian Harte. Here he comes. It's volleyed clear by Clayton. Pugh has been running through quicksand all night," says Temple. AFCB given a throw after Huddersfield tried to grab too many yards. Arter to the byline volleyed clear. Scannell has the ball finds Ward and lee camp at full stretch from Wells' shot. Francis missed the header and got underneath the ball. It's a corner to Huddersfield. Francis heads back towards his own goal. Another corner. Wallace jumps with Harte. Clayton shoots but it's hammered clear by Arter.

Eight minutes to go. The ball is out on the far side. Lee Camp again saves from another Huddersfield shot. AFCB hitting the channels for Rantie to chase. Harte holds up Scannell. Six minutes left. The Cherries have it with Arter and then Rantie takes on Wallace but Smithies gets the ball. Five minutes left. Stead wins a throw in off Elphick by the corner flag.

Goal kick now to AFCB. Rantie has support with Grabban but it's a Huddersfield goal kick. Three and a half minutes to go. Southern to Dixon and Stead but Francis gets in and plays it back to Camp. Francis has had a ropey 10 minutes.

MacDonald comes on for Ritchie. Dixon crossed but Pugh clears. We are into the 90th minute. Elliott Ward clears to Southern and Scannell and Pugh gets a block in for a corner. Ward takes it. camp was being blocked but the ball lands on to of the net. Five minutes of extra time.

O'Kane again is man of the match on text. The ball came in to the back post and Danny Ward had a good chance and could not keep it down. That was a dangerous ball  in the corridor between centre back and full back and they all missed it for AFCB!

Pugh releases Rantie at the corner and wins a throw off of Wallace. Grabban and Arter fight for possession. Pugh and Harte annoyed that Huddersfield have the throw. The Cherries have a throw now. 1 minute left of extra time. Smithies clears from Rantie.

Rantie is in and goes round the keeper and can't get the ball away and it sticks under his foot. Rantie bows his head in frustration, but it doesn't matter. The whistle has gone. 2:1 to the Cherries.

AFCB team sheet not so polished but it's the official one.
The hand is a nice touch.

Camp, Francis, Ward, Elphick, Daniels (Harte 13), Ritchie (MacDonald 88), Arter, O'Kane, Surman (Rantie 68), Pugh, Grabban

AFCB Subs: Allsop, Pitman, Harte, Rantie, Cook, McQuoid, MacDonald

Huddersfield Town:
Smithies, Smith, Gerrard, Wallace, Woods (Stead 78), Dixon, Gobern (Southern 59), Norwood (Scannell 76), Clayton, Wells, Ward.

Huddersfield Subs:
Holmes, Scannell, Clarke, Stead, Lolley, Bennett and Southern.

Huddersfield are ones to watch

I know we had a bad experience last time AFCB played the Terriers. That scoreline still resonates in my memory banks, but I have to admit Mark Robins and his team intrigue me. This January he has really been splashing the cash, not on experienced players but on youthful talent. It may be more in an attempt to build for next season than to have a dash at the play-off this time around, but I like his thinking.

New signing Joe Lolly from Kiddermister Harriers is set to make his first start for the Terriers having singed a 2.5 year deal with a six figure transfer fee. Lolly is 21 years-old and has 11 goals in 25 games this season. Whether he can make the step up is perhaps give a bit of credance by his FA Cup goal against Peterborough on a week or so ago.

The real poucher I have heard about is Nahki Wells who was a regular scorer at Bardford City over the last two seasons. The transfer has broken the club record so even a player from League One is not cheap to pick up at the moment - think about that a moment those of you who still want Leon Clarke at AFCB.

Robins has also brought in Sondre Trondstad a Norweigan U18 international and Harry Bunn, a 21-year-old striker who was on Man City's books - I expect they could spare a few players with their squad. So is Robins building for the future? I think so. It looks like he believes they are heading towards safety this season and that he can give some young players a chance to get used to the Championship. It could be a good move for next season as long as the results keep coming in for Robins.

Against AFCB though I would expect a strong side from the Terriers with at least one of the new signings starting and some more of them on the bench. Wells has been getting an opportunity right away and he scored a good goal against QPR. Vaughan remains the big threat though as we know all to well. We may have to tell the ground staff to reinforce the corner flags with his goal celebrations!

But at the back too they been pretty measly with letting in goals. Their defenders include Calum Woods at left back who was signed a couple of seasons ago from Dunfermiline, while Paul Dixon also came from Scotland when his contract ended with Dundee Utd. Peter Clarke though is the player at the player at the back that I remember power his headers against AFCB in the League One play-offs a couple of years ago. He is strong and a real handful when he comes up for corners.

It is reported that winger Adam Hammill is a doubt for the game and will have a fitness test. He scored the opener against Bournemouth last August if you remember and basically ran the match with Vaughan.

It is only the top teams that have been knocking Huddersfield over. Everyone else has found the Terries a difficult team to get a result against. Still Bolton was their last away win back on 3 December and they have found things more testing away from home.

Bournemouth will be looking to improve on their last home league draw against Watford. Goals are becoming a bit hard to come by for the Cherries and they need to find more of a goal threat pretty quickly. I am confident that AFCB can hold Huddersfield but they really need a win to kick-start their 2014.

Huddersfield Away League form:

AFCB League Home form:

Also check out the blogger pre-match interview with Thrice Champions at Rival Lines.

Smith returns to Dean Court on a permanent deal

Adam Smith (22) is the latest signing for AFCB in the January transfer window as he signs on a three and a half year deal. Cherry supporters will remember him from the time of Eddie Howe's first managerial stint at AFCB, although he probably played as many if more games in the number 15 shirt under Lee Bradbury. He certainly played a pivotal role at right back as the Cherries sought to get into the League One play-offs in 2010-11. As a Spurs player Adam has spent loan periods with Milton Keynes Dons, Leeds Utd, Millwall and Derby County as well as with the Cherries. He is a quick full back that has shown he can deliver telling crosses while also being a stern defender.

The move is likely to see Adam contend for a starting place in the team with Simon Francis. There has not been much cover for Francis since Eddie Howe returned to the club and with the amount of games stepping up again as we approach the Easter it would seem a wise move to get some more support for Francis at this time.

Tricky wingers in the Championship have been able to get round the back of Francis on occasion this season and his pace is something that is perhaps a slight worry to Eddie Howe. I have no worries about the way Adam plays his football. He is versatile and strong in the challenge and should be a good addition to the team.

I was disappointed when Smith decided to go to Milton Keynes having been at Bournemouth at the start of the 2011-12 season, only because I though he was one of the best young full backs I had seen at the club in recent years. Having been capped at U21 for England Smith is still one for the future and if Spurs feel he is not ready to feature in their match squads then I'm very glad that he'll be playing for us rather than one of the other Championship clubs. With Kyle Walker holding the right back position at Tottenham, I am pretty pleased that they can allow Smith to come out on loan as Walker does not give me much confidence even if he may make the plane to Brazil in the summer.

Cherry Chimes interviews Huddersfield blog Thrice Champions

Match Preview
AFC V Huddersfield
Blogger Interview - Thrice Champions

Cherry Chimes speaks to Greg Marah, editor of Thrice Champions - a Huddersfield Town blog, who has been keeping tabs on all the new players arriving at the Terriers while also being adamant that the Terriers can hold off Premiership interest in to their inform striker James Vaughan.

CC: You ran Burnley and QPR close in recent away games so how do you feel about how Mark Robins has set the team up away from home?

TC: Robins' has set up not to nullify the opposition like some do away from home, rather play our own fluid game. Whilst we didn't play that well away at Burnley we were unlucky not to get a point. In the QPR fixture most fans felt happy in the overall performance, its just we didn't take our chances unlike QPR. Had we taken those we would have come away from Loftus Road with 3 points.

CC: Are you pleased that Huddersfield are signing young players like Harry Bunn from Man City, Joe Lolley from Kidderminster Harriers and Sondre Trondstad, a former IK Start player from Norway?

TC: Personally I'm delighted we are focusing our transfer policy on young hungry players rather than signing has beens who are looking for one last payout

Lolley will be involved in the first team squad primarily, while
 Tronstad and Bunn will be involved in the development squad with the aim of pushing for the first team. Hopefully as we continue to sign young players we find a couple of gems who either take us towards a play-off charge in the future or go for a large sum of money like Jordan Rhodes did.

CC: Huddersfield may have something against newly promoted sides having thumped AFCB and Yeovil 5:1 - were they similar games?

TC: The only way they were similar was the scorelines. Against Bournemouth we clicked and took our chances while AFCB did ask a few questions of us. The Yeovil game was a walk in the park for Town and we won at a canter without getting out of second gear. Realistically had we taken all of our better chances and played better than we did, it could have been 10-1.

CC: Do you think the Terriers can still mount a play-off challenge or is mid-table okay for you this season?

TC: The heart says we could scrape the play-offs but in this division everyone has to be realistic. From surviving by the skin of our teeth on the final day of last season, mid-table would be good progress. A top half finish would be a brilliant season for us and isn't unrealistic but anything better than 10th and we have really overachieved, but that is testament to Mark Robins' terrific management and a shout to the work of Ross Wilson and Dean Hoyle behind the scenes.

CC: Do you think a bid is likely for James Vaughan in the summer if it does not come in this January?

TC: He won't be leaving in this transfer window, our chairman has said that and he doesn't lie! However, just like Jordan Rhodes, if a ludicrous bid comes in for him then we can't say no and there are plenty of teams sniffing about including Celtic. Vaughan was a shrewd signing and only cost us 600k, so to potentially get millions for him, especially with his injury record we would be mad not to say no. However, without that injury record he wouldn't be at Huddersfield Town as he is Premier League quality.

CC: Is there a player that has done better than you expected this season for Huddersfield, not counting Vaughan?

TC: Everyone has improved from last season but the one stand out is Tom Smith, our young defender. We signed him on a free transfer from Man City and he was a stalwart for our development squad for 18 months until he got an opportunity with Peter Clarke being injured. He's come into the side and hasn't looked out of place, in fact was our best player away at QPR and is one of the first names on the team sheet.

CC: Which game do you think was the best performance for Huddersfield this season and why?

TC: Burnley at home where we won 2-1. Again we could and should have been 4 or 5 up at halftime but didn't take our chances, but for 65 minutes totally dominated the then top side in the division playing fantastic football. We just need to do that for 90 minutes and ensure we score when on top.

CC: Which three teams do you expect to go down?

TC: Yeovil - nice story that they got promoted but that squad just isn't good enough. Barnsley - one season too far of relegation scraps. Charlton - Just a sneaky feeling as they lack an out and out goalscorer.

Although I've put a quid on Blackpool at 33/1 as they are in free fall. Sacking Ince may have saved Blackpool's season.

CC: What do you think Mark Robins has got right this season?

TC: Playing passing fluid football, it's good to watch. Also having interchangeable formations within games, we primarily start with a 3-5-2 formation but depending on the opposition and the state of the game can play 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1 with the same starting line up... he's a clever one is Mark Robins.

CC: How do you think new signing Nakhi Wells might do for you - he has already scored I hear?

TC: Two goals, two games. A natural goalscorer with pace and a snip at £1.3million plus add ons. He can help us towards a top 6 finish... next season.

CC: Thanks for your input Greg. Huddersfield Town is certainly a team that is building its squad up and Mark Robins seems to be making a successful go at manager's job. As a former striker it looks like he has an eye for young forwards and with the strike force that he is assembling it is likely that some clubs will be watching the progress of Huddersfield's front line. I only hope that they draw a blank at Dean Court and help AFCB start to move up the table a bit.

As for those you suggest are going down the Charlton comment worries me a little if we are to pick up Yann Kemorgrant, not someone you rate I suspect, perhaps we will hear more on that topic today from AFCB. I heard that Huddersfield were all over Charlton in the FA Cup tie but it was the Addicks that got through. No backlash please! 

To read more about Greg's thoughts, visit the Thrice Champions blog.

Monday, 27 January 2014

AFCB is starting to out grow Dean Court

For the first time on Saturday I could clearly see that on such days with big football matches Dean Court is really beginning to feel the strain. Okay, it's not every week that AFCB play Liverpool but you can see that there is trouble ahead. It is beginning to look ever clearer that the club is starting to out grow the ground which is something that I didn't think would happen so quickly. AFCB has managed in the Championship when big teams have come down, but you can see that if the club went up another division it would not be able to sustain itself with a crowd of 12,000.
The Goldsands stadium was packed from early on Saturday.
While AFCB could have drawn a team like Liverpool at any stage of their previous 13 years or so since the new Fitness First and then Goldsands stadium has been built, it has rarely happened that a side has caused the ground to basically bulge at the seams. But that was the case on Saturday. The electronic hoardings were cramped in down the edges of the pitch, cameras had to be marooned in islands of seats and the car park had to be very carefully managed. As we left the ground it took almost an hour just to get to Wessex Way!
Is there a way to expand Dean Court while improving
traffic congestion around the ground?
The frustration of drivers and local residents will be hard to contain if and when this happens regularly and as a supporter I want the club to do well and to be able to host big football matches. We already know that the Legends Bar was closed in part because the team needed the extra space for match preparation and Hot radio is similarly under pressure to remain at the stadium. We also heard that Jeff Mostyn is looking at plans for a new slip road exit to the Wessex Way to ease congestion from the ground.  A new slip road appears to be heading up the agenda.

In such circumstances buying the stadium back may not be such a priority unless a new stadium with a bigger capacity can be built on the same land. Otherwise AFCB may find that it is looking for a new home and I got the feeling that such a consideration is not a wild pipe dream but a possibility that the club has to take seriously in the next few years. Success brings growth and we know that the Liverpool game could have been sold out two or three times over. But such new stadiums take years to get planning permission for and are fraught with costly planning applications, delays and possibly years when AFCB is still trying to fill a new stadium with enough supporters. 

Standing room at the edges.
Moreover, who would fund the project? Would Maxim Demin and his fellow board members support such a venture? We only have to look at Brighton's Amex stadium to know that such new stadiums are difficult to build, but in the long run it may be the option that the club ultimately goes for. At the moment the temporary stand at the South end is evidence that Dean Court is still in transition, but will expanding that stand to the same size as the North stand itself create problems over more numbers coming through the turnstiles?

There will come a tipping point when some kind of action is taken. The first has already begun with all available space at Dean Court being carefully monitored and ensuring that best is made of all resources at the club. The car parking is an ongoing discussion with local residents and the council as AFCB would still like to make use of all the space by the ground. It is evacuating the immediate vicinity of the ground that is the problem when there is a capacity crowd. I wish I knew the answers but there are cleverer people than me working on this aspect of AFCB every day I would imagine.

While it would break my heart to leave Dean Court I can clearly see the need for the situation to improve as the club continues to grow with more potential supporters becoming aware that they have an excellent footballing side on their doorstep.  

BREAKING NEWS: AFCB appear to be making a bid for Yann Kermorgant of Charlton Athletic.

Our big FA Cup day did not disappoint AFCB v LFC

As usual it was going to be a long drive down to Bournemouth from Redhill. It was the early start of 6.30am which we were not so happy about - thanks ITV for the early kick off time! Still, sleepy-eyed we hustled into the car and were soon past Winchester and on to Bournemouth. Stephen and Robert were dressed for the cold but totally buzzing for today's big match. Their aim was to fill their programmes with as many autographs as they could get so first stop was an early visit to the club shop.
Stephen asks where is everyone?
Robert watches young players training.
Stephen along side the Ted MacDougall side of the ground. 
While there was less than 20 people hanging around the front concourse at Dean Court at 8.30am, we decided to hurry into the shop and buy the programmes as quick as we could to ensure a good spot on the barriers by reception for the rest of the morning. We were pleased to leave the shop with a handful of programmes and a joint AFCB/Liverpool scarf - hey I supported both clubs in my youth, so I make no excuse for purchasing a souvenir for the day - it all goes to help out club!
Early on the front ropes, Stephen and Robert set about autograph hunting.
Stephen tries to hide the joy of  getting Ryan Fraser's signature.
Tommy Elphick is loaded up with goods. Not that fair to ask
him to sign with his arms full of stuff - but he manages it.
Then we waited for players and celebrities to arrive. We spotted young Ryan Fraser first and nabbed his autograph. Tommy Elphick was next and I got him to sign my programme as well and wished him luck for the game.
Charlie Daniels with Stephen.
Charlie Daniels signs Robert's programme.
It as at this point we saw a Liverpool fan arrive selling his fanzine magazine which caused the boys to laugh as he had to hold his arm up for a long time with his fanzine waiting for any early pool fans to arrive. Charlie Daniels came in with what looked like his bathroom bag. We then spotted Stephane Zubar by his car but before we could ask him about how his knee was and if he was back training, he was off!
Stephane Zubar makes a surprise appearance. ZUBAR!!!
Jason Tindall was clutching a pair of trainers so perhaps he was hoping to play. Sorry Jason, not this time. By now it was getting busy. The official photographers were about the place and asking us to pose for their respective publications. Chairman, Jeff Moystn arrived in his grey suit and talked to us for a short while. I praised him for his recent interview on All Departments and he thanked us for our support for the club. We wished him luck for the day.
Jason Tindall is keen to get going.
Jeff Mostyn is calm as ever.
The photographers move in.
Brett Pitman gets ready to sign.
Steve Cook - no hanging about.
Lewis Grabban looks forward to playing Liverpool.
Brett Pitman was all smiles as he came over to us. Steve Cook was in a hurry and dashed straight in, but Lewis Grabban was happy to fill the boys programmes up with another signature. Andrew Surman asked us if we were feeling all right and despite our sleepy eyes we said "yes, simply buzzing for the game!" We asked more importantly how he was doing? And he said," Just fine, looking forward to it."
Andrew Surman makes a tour to come and talk to us.
Ryan Allsop spots a regular AFCB fan.
Eunan O'Kane says hello.
Simon Francis - sharp exit right.
Gabriel Clarke was particularly pleased to talk to us.
Elliott Ward - what has he got in that bag?
Laurie McMenamin enters the Main Reception.
Allsop, O'Kane and Simon Francis followed in before we had a little chat with Gabriel Clarke of ITV. We joking said we did not have his picture in the programme but we desperately wanted his signature, so he very kindly came over and said he would do the biggest signature then on the back cover and use all the space up. He even asked the boys names and ensured he had them right and wrote best wishes. Elliott Ward then came in with what we reckon was the biggest man bag of the day. He was followed by Southampton ex-manger Laurie McMenamin - maybe some of his 1976 club luck could rub off on the Cherries I thought. 
Liverpool's team coach arrives.
The Liverpool coach finally arrived next and we got ready with the surge from behind pressing us right up against the ropes by this stage. Off came the Liverpool stars one by one, but it was a shame that none of them stopped to sign anything. The camera men were right in front of us now but we tried to take some video footage of the players coming off the coach (I apologise if you hear any foul language on the videos - I don't have the software to bleep it out). 

WARNING BAD language: Brendan Rodgers, Martin Skrtel and Martin Kelly arrive.
(plus camera man who would not get out of the way!)

WARNING BAD language: More Liverpool players come off the coach at Dean Court including:
Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Stirling, Victor Moses, Brad Jones, Iago Aspas,
Kolo Toure, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez with drink.

We decided to go around the ground after that to take in some of the atmosphere and goings on as the fans turned up. We headed for the North stand where ITV had constructed their hideaway commentary box. Who should we see but Roy Keane waving and smiling at the fans below.
The ground is filling up now.
Roy Keane shares a joke with fans. Sadly he didn't have his boots with him.
The Ted MacDougall stand. This is as close as e could get.
Further round we were diverted away from the Ted MacDougall stand as only Liverpool supporters with tickets were allowed anywhere near it. The security checks looked rigorous and yet once again away supporters managed to smuggle in a smoke grenade which went off after the first goal.

Steve Fletcher in his nice big coat!
We entered the Family stand and had a quick bite to eat while the players warmed up. We saw Steve Fletcher getting interviewed in front of us with the lady interviewer having to watch her step in her non too clever footwear choice.

Eunan O'Kane speaks to the cameras. 
Eddie Howe does his pitch side interview for the
cameras. It looks like the lady can't keep her eyes open - spellbound by Eddie's good looks.

Teams come on to the pitch at Dean Court. Robert's arm makes a guest appearance.
You'll see all our photographs of the player warm ups and the crowd in our Match Day Gallery.

All Departments' Kangaroo Court of AFCB 0 v 2 Liverpool is live to view at All Departments website or on our side bar.