Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Leeds despair as Cherries run riot 4-1

Match Report
AFCB 4 v 1 Leeds Utd
25 March 2014
Attendance: 10,109

There were only two points between these two teams before the start of play, but at the end of the game you would have thought the gulf should be much wider. I have know idea what Eddie Howe said to his team before they came out, but the appetite they had for this game was clear to see from the start. They wanted this win more than anything and Leeds were a well beaten side in just half an hour as the Cherries cut them open on numerous occasions. The pace and direct play caused havoc in the Leeds ranks as they tried to play a high offside line which was easily penetrated with both Grabban and Kermorgant helping themselves to the goals.
All seemed well for Leeds at this point.
More pictures can be seen by going to Match Day Gallery.

Eddie Howe kept his team management in mind by leaving O'Kane on the bench and keeping Fraser out of the squad, while Pugh and Arter came back into the team. But this game was about the running power of Simon Francis and the finishing power of the two up front who look a threat to any defence now.
The teams prepare to play.
Brian McDermott had to make one change to Leeds Utd as Connor Wickham had been recalled by Sunderland so Hunt came in to replace him in the starting 11.
Leeds players, ready to kick off.
Most fans had just taken to their seats when Grabban forced his way into the box but slipped at the vital moment. Pugh then picked up the pieces and fired a shot in that from some parts of the ground looked like it was in but only rippled the net behind the goal. From the corner Francis was lined up to hit a shot on the volley from outside the box. It pinged its way to the far post and Yann Kermorgant was in the right place to stick it away and give AFCB an amazing 1-0 lead after one minute and seven seconds.

Leeds did there best to restore the damage with a right wing cross that Cook cleared and McCormack was seen off by Surman. When Austin went in for a tackle on Grabban Pugh almost benefited from the rebound. Grabban was next to have a shot go over on seven minutes.

Hunt, Smith and Danny Pugh were working hard for Leeds, but Bournemouth were knocking it around confidently at the back. Grabban fouled Tom Lees and gave Leeds a free kick, but Surman cleared Danny Pugh's cross. Austin was effective in closing AFCB players down, but a move could have ended in Grabban being in the clear if Pearce had not have got a thin header on the ball from Kermorgrant's lofted cross.

The game began to settle with Grabban getting caught offside and Pearce winning a free kick, but Leeds were playing into Bournemouth's hands by pushing up all the time, leaving plenty of space in behind. The second goal came after a superb move with Ritchie waiting for Francis to time his run up the right wing and once the offside trap was sprung, Grabban raced into the box where he steered the ball effortlessly across the outstretched Butland and low into the left hand corner of the net. Two-nil and just 18 minutes played.

It was almost three a moment later when Ian Harte zipped in a cross from the left that span up off Butland. Ritchie then went down having been hit in the face by  Alex Mowatt.

Cook and Elphick were again dominant at the back for AFCB wining headers and tackles on the industrious Ross McCormack who was always buzzing around Bournemouth's back line. But while AFCB were holding out, Leeds succumbed to another smart finish as Yann Kermorgant and Francis began a move which saw Arter get involved before Francis back heeled a pass for Grabban in the box, who cut inside and made it 3-0 on 28 minutes. "Easy!" was the chant from the Steve Fletcher stand. Indeed, Leeds were being cut apart. 

The best move of the first half was still yet to come though. Ritchie fed Grabban with a pass to the right wing and he pulled the ball back for Kermorgant who thundered a shot against the right hand post! Butland was well beaten but the goal frame kept the score down.

Leeds just couldn't find a way into the game and when Grabban broke on goal on 35 minutes with Ritchie to his right, he decided to try and lay off a pass to Matt which was too strong when he could have chosen to shoot himself. I wish he had because it would have been his hat-trick.

There was a slight scare for Bournemouth when Camp dropped a corner on 39 minutes but he recovered and the ball was soon cleared. Leeds best chance came when McCormack did some good work on the left wing and found Mowatt who blazed over, leaving McCormack to shake his head in displeasure. So it was 3-0 at half time and you wondered just what the score might total at the end at this rate with AFCB playing so freely.
Half time score line 3-0.
Second Half
We all hoped for more of the same in the second 45 minutes, but Leeds were onto the field early determined to make a decent fist of it. Ian Harte immediately responded by fouling Sam Bryam. Leeds made a mess of the kick putting it straight out.

We did not have long to wait before normal service was resumed. Bournemouth had won a free kick and while Harte's delivery from the left wing was too long and over everyone's head, Ritchie recovered the ball and crossed from the right, picking out Yann Kermorgant who nodded home number four! That was enough for some Leeds fans who headed for the door. 

There had been 51 minutes played and you could not see a way back for Leeds now. Eunan O'Kane was brought on after 53 minutes and off went Andrew Surman to generous applause.

Leeds then won a free kick for a foul on Matt Smith and the ball in bounced off a couple of heads and out for a corner which Camp cleared with a fist away.

Leeds made a double sub on 57 and 58 minutes with first Noel Hunt coming off and White coming on and Murphy came off for Stewart. Francis was continuing to play well with a superb sliding tackle on McCormack.

More pressure came from a Bournemouth corner on 63 minutes that saw Steve Cook make Butland make a save at full stretch. 

Leeds though grabbed something from the game as a header on from Smith found Ross McCormack with Arter and then Tommy Elphick still to beat, but the Leed's top scorer found space on 69 minutes and smashed in a low shot from the edge of the box that nestled in the corner of the net to Camp's left. The Leeds fans finally had something to shout about 4-1.

Elphick tried to cushion a header back to Camp a few moments later that evaded the keeper and went out for a corner, but Leeds could not mount anything of a big comeback. McCormack tried his best though firing a shot high and wide of the goal on 74 minutes. Arter also conceded a needless corner two minutes later but the following header went wide.

On 78 minutes on came Tokelo Rantie for Bournemouth as Ritchie was brought off and within seconds Rantie found himself with a one-on-one chance which perhaps came to him a bit quick but Jack Butland made the save when Rantie had been favourite to slot the chance away! The home fans could not believe it and were quick to let TK know it.

Yann Kermorgant was subbed on 82 minutes to let Pitman have a bit of a run out. Rantie might have had a penalty another day when he was pushed in the box, but the referee looked long and hard at it and gave nothing on 83 minutes. Meanwhile, Pitman's first contribution was to get caught offside.

Rantie tried to spray a ball wide for Grabban that was too long and as we approached 90 minutes know body expected too much more. But then Rantie again broke through to have another one-on-one with other Bournemouth players either side of him. He decided to take responsibility and yet again Butland made the save! To miss one chance was unlucky, but two and you have to start to wonder if Rantie is made of the quite the right stuff. 
4-1 a big win for Bournemouth.
While some Leeds fans left early the majority kept singing right to the end.
AFCB simply out played Leeds on the night.
Stewards and police in front of Leeds fans.
Not a good night's work for Brian McDermott.
Now that's what you call entertainment. It was an emphatic win for the Cherries at home, but this was against a Leeds Utd team that on their day can cause problems for any team in the division. Yet on occasion they looked devoid of ideas and totally unable to cope with the running power and intelligent movement of Kermorgant and Grabban. Had AFCB been a little more clinical it could have been double the scoreline that it was. Simon Francis was my man of the match. He ran up and down the right wing all night and provided most of the assists - it was a perfect performance in my book.

At the back AFCB were solid and only the outstanding talent of Ross McCormack stopped them from picking up another clean sheet. So in all it was job well done. Emm, seven points off the play-offs. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Keep racking up the points and let's see where it takes us.

Match Highlights

Camp, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Harte, Ritchie (Rantie 78) , Arter, Surman (O'Kane), Pugh, Kermorgant (Pitman 82) and Grabban.

AFCB Subs:
Allsop, Smith, Pitman, Rantie, Macdonald, O'Kane, Ward.

AFCB Ratings
Camp 7, Francis 10, Cook 9, Elphick 9, Harte 7, Ritchie 8, Arter 7, Surman 7, Pugh 7, Kermorgant 9 and Grabban 9.

Leeds Utd
Butland, Byram, Pugh, Murphy (Stewart 58), Lees, Pearce, Mowatt, Austin, McCormack, Smith and Hunt (White 57)

Leeds Subs:
White, Tonge, Wotton, Zaliukas, Stewart, Cairns, Walters.

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