Sunday, 16 February 2014

Cherries come close to surprising Burnley 1-1

Match Report
AFCB 1 v 1 Burnley
15 February 2014
Attendance 10,422 (including 1406 Burnley fans)

The players stand for the minute silence for Sir Tom Finney.
 The silence was impeccably observed.
There was a lot of excitement and apprehension in my mind for this game. Burnley were on a winning streak and would come down to Dean Court looking to impose their style of play on the Cherries from the off. While they did try and hit Sam Vokes, the big man, with the early ball it was a tactic that AFCB seemed well able to cope with and they looked to be first to the second ball when ever they could. By half time I was already scratching my head wondering if the Clarets really were 24 points higher up the league, because AFCB were playing to the conditions and causing the away team more problems. This was almost the perfect end to a hard weeks work. And while AFCB did not manage the win in the end, it will not be long before they are winning such games and getting the points that their play deserves.

Here we go.
More pictures are now on show at Match Day Gallery.

Eddie Howe brought in Tokelo Rantie for a start and left Andrew Surman out of the team as he looked to play a 4-4-2 formation and give Burnley something to think about. Burnley remained unchanged from their mid-week win at Bolton.

The tactical battles were evident all over the pitch from the very start. Elphick was pitted against the heading power of Sam Vokes, while Steve Cook looked after the nippy speed of Danny Ings. Francis was also kept busy marking Michale Kightly, while Arter and Marney fought for control of the centre.

AFCB won an early free kick as Arfield brought down Marc Pugh, but Ian Harte over hit his free kick. Burnley came forward with Vokes prominent in attack but Harte managed to clear for Burnley's first corner on 4 minutes. Michael Kightly got a shot away but Camp saved with ease.

Arter won a free kick moments later and AFCB soon gained a corner themselves on 7 minutes. David Jones made the clearance and while AFCB worked to get the ball back it was annoying that Rantie overran the ball and gave Burnley a goal kick.

Grabban was full of running and creating space well and while he had a shot blocked the ball ran back to Steve Cook who had a shot from a long way out that Tom Heaton saved without much trouble. The early exchanges were not that goal threatening as both teams took their time to get to grips with the playing surface. On 13 minutes Vokes went down in the box after Elphick's challenge, as if poleaxed, but he rose to his feet once no further action was being taken.

The next big shot came in from Simon Francis on 19 minutes. He was well outside the box but tried a power driver that Heaton had to get fully behind low down as it was a well struck shot but straight at the centre of the goal. Ritchie then won a free kick and Arter decided to take a crack at it, only he almost ballooned his shot over the South stand. My friend Colin reminded me that he was doing exactly the same in the warm up!

There was an interesting bit of play a short while later when Grabban stole in and there was a back pass from Michael Duff that the referee let go. AFCB tried to apply further pressure after a Ritchie shot that was blocked and a bit of ping pong followed in Burnley's box, but both defences were on top in this game.

Rantie was doing his best to get in behind and he was cut out by Michael Duff for a corner on the half hour. Heaton made a one handed punch clearance and while Arter slipped and Kightly almost profited, Eunan O'Kane was there  to cover for AFCB when Kightly just overran what could have been a dangerous break.

Arfield was looking to get past Ian Harte when he could, but AFCB's experienced left back was having none of it. David Jones and Ben Mee were pushing forward when they could, while Marney was coming more into the game. The assistant referee running along the East stand finally managed to remember he had a flag to hold out when Burnley were offside.

Grabban went as close as anyone when he volleyed wide on 36 minutes. Ritchie soon after needed attention for a head wound and he returned to the field with a big white head band. No sooner than he had been mended than O'Kane went down with a hip injury. He tried to continue but was subbed on 44 minutes as MacDonald come on. Although AFCB had a corner right on half time it was over hit, which kind of summed up the first half. Nil-nil was the score.

Lots of action on the pitch at half time.
Second Half

The physical nature of the game was taking its toll on the Bournemouth players. Matt Ritchie returned with a more fetching balck headband than his white bandages in the first half.

After the break it was Burnley that came out early and started to take the second half by storm. Harte was forced to chest down a ball to Camp but gave away a corner in the process. Pugh was quickest to clear and although Jones and Kightly were doing well to keep the pressure on Tripier put the ball out of play. Francis was also having to contend with Trippier. Kightly was the next to try a cheeky chip, but Camp was alert to the danger. 

Bournemouth managed to get down to the North stand eventually and Grabban won a corner. The first was cut out on the near post. It was at this point that I said AFCB never do anything at corners, before remembering that Francis scored last week from one! I had to eat my words even more though on 50 minutes as Burnley failed to put anyone on the posts and the tiny frame of Rantie out leaped everyone, timing his run to the front of the six yard box with perfection, to nod home the opener. Lovely, 1-0 to the Cherries!

While we had seen Vokes trying to win headers in the first half we had not seen much of Danny Ings, so when he did get on the end of a move he received the usual ironic cheers with his wide shot. You get the feeling that this was not going to be a game of many clear chances. But Burnley were not lying down. Scott Arfield shot wide on 53 minutes and Kightly had a shot blocked two minutes later before Ben Mee shot from open play but again did not trouble Camp in the Bournemouth game.

Francis then had a blinding run up the right wing but was not even given a corner when it looked like he had won one. 

Burnley made a substitution on 60 minutes as Kightly was replaced by Ross Wallace and in the next minute Arfield came off for Keith Treacy. AFCB were still enjoying a good share of possession but Rantie went down on the edge of Burnley's box at the end of one attack. He was soon up again, but Arter pulled back Dean Marney and gave a free kick away around the centre circle.

The next few moments were a bit of a blur, but Trippier played the ball down the right wing for Dean Marney who back heeled it to Wallace. It was Wallace's cross that 
came in from the right and was deflected off Arter. The ball lobbed up over the centre of the defence and was met by the on rushing Keith Treacy who scored at the far post, just six minutes after coming on. It was 1-1. Tracy timed his run well between MacDonald and Francis and was right on top of the goal, which meant Camp had next to no chance of saving it. 

AFCB made a sub on 69 minutes with Rantie coming off and Yann Kermorgant coming on. He immediately won a corner as AFCB looked to get back in charge. AFCB kept coming with Arter battling in the centre cricle and releasing Pugh and then Grabban who ran into the box and saw his shot at the near post going close as Heaton made the save on 73 minutes. This led to a corner which almost resulted in a spectacular goal. Cook won the first header at the far post and Elphick powered his head goal wards from the centre of the penalty area only for Tom Heaton to make a great save by pushing the ball over the bar.

A minute or two later I was out my seat again as Ritchie made a cross from the right that saw Yann Kermorgant rise up at the penalty spot to knock a header downwards and towards the goal but it went despairingly wide! Burnley were living dangerously and it did not look like the match was going to end 1-1. I felt even more certain of this when Grabban was tripped as he was running into the box by Kieran Trippier, but the referee took a quick look at his assistant referee and pointed towards a spot just outside the box. While Burnley refused to retreat the statutory 10 yards, Yann Kermorgrant tried a chipped shot that went just over the bar.

Burnley then subbed Sam Vokes on 80 minutes and brought on Ashley Barnes. AFCB were still pushing for a win and won a couple of more corners. Pugh was being particularly effective on the left wing and got in around the back and crossed to MacDonald who tried to shoot but ended up letting the ball run to Francis who thwacked his shot hard against the bar!

Pitman then came on for Grabban in a last effort to get the win. Pitman's main contribution was to pick up a yellow card for a foul on Trippier. In the last minute of normal time Pitman found Ritchie who had his shot saved by Heaton. Four minutes of extra time were given which saw Kermorgant pick up a yellow card, but AFCB could not get a clear shot to give them the win.

I can't fault the teams effort which was incredibly strong and I also thought the players tried everything they could to get the better of a team currently in second place in the Championship. On another day AFCB could well have won this game. Okay, they did not keep a clean sheet, but I always felt they would need two or more goals to win this game. The big pluses have to be the way our central defenders hardly gave Ings and Vokes a kick all game. That is outstanding considering how the Claret's front pair have been pulling defences apart in other matches.Once Elphick and Cook showed that they would not be dominated in the air, Burnley tried to go down the sides but both Francis and Harte held firm. 

Up front Grabban always looked lively and Rantie got his goal even if his first touch was looking a bit shabby at times.The work effort of players like Arter and O'Kane was clear to see while I thought Marc Pugh had his best game for a long while and was my man of the match.

You can say that Burnley looked a bit tired and perhaps the mid-week game took more out of them they they thought, but AFCB bossed this game for large periods and the progress they are making should bode well for the future.

Camp, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Harte, Ritchie, Arter, O'Kane (MacDonald 44), Pugh, Rantie (Kermorgant 69) and Grabban (Pitman 85).

AFCB subs

Allsop, Smith, MacDonald, Surman, Fraser, Pitman, Kermorgant

AFCB Ratings
Camp 7, Francis 8, Elphick 8, Cook 8, Harte 8, Ritchie 7, Arter 8, O'Kane 7,
9Rantie 7, Grabban 7.

Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield (Treacy 61), Marney, Jones, Kightly (Wallace 60), Ings and Vokes (Barnes 80).

Burnley subs
Long, Barnes, Stanislas, Wallace, Edgar, Cisak, Treacy.

1 comment:

  1. Great game for the neutral.
    High tempo game with few clear chances as both teams cancelling each other out.
    Great header by Rantie!