Sunday, 6 April 2014

Arter sees red while another Harry watches QPR lose 2-1 to Cherries (photo gallery)

Match Report
AFCB 2 v 1 QPR
5 April 2014
Attendance: 11,307
AFCB fans knew that if they won this game something special
could just be on the cards this season for their team.
Write the Cherries off at your peril. All the commentators have said they have no hope or a slimb hope of making the top six. It's a long shot they say. AFCB have to beat the best teams to get there. They are playing catch up. It's unlikely, it shouldn't be possible. And yet, here we are after another match when they were supposed to come unstuck. Well, not a bit of it. Even with 10 men they gallantly fought with a determination and grit to topple a QPR team packed with star names that was led by a managing legend - good old Harry. Eddie Howe has his Bournemouth team ticking, tick, tick, tick - boom! They are coming. Coming after that sixth spot. It's a Juggernaut that is going to take some stopping and I know you can't believe it. But you know it's true.

QPR fans were hoping for something different.
Eddie only made one change after that big win at Birmingham with Andrew Surman coming in for Eunan O'Kane, while Harry Redknapp brought in Simpson at right back and Hoilett on the right wing, Traore at left back, Maiga up front for his first start (on loan from West Ham) and Jenas in midfield, while Charlie Austin made it to the subs bench. Harry needed a win and he had brought plenty of big guns to the south coast in his first competitive game at Dean Court against the Cherries since his managerial days at the club.
A big day for both clubs.

Visit  Match Day Gallery for more pictures from the day at the Goldsands stadium

First Half
All those QPR changes did not see the Hoops start poorly. On the contrary, they bossed the game for the first 25 minutes as the drizzle fell to make the pitch a very slippery arena. As early as the first minute though there was a stoppage as Clint Hill and Yann Kermorgant clashed heads. Hill fell on top of Yann and looked spark out of it, but he slowly got to his feet after 4 minutes. Francis and Elphick were under pressure from the start making headed clearances as Traore ventured forward and Maiga was looking for spaces in front of AFCB's back four.

Kermorgant and Arter were also battling hard to try and win the ball but QPR squeezed the pitch and kept play in Bournemouth's half with some well structured play. When Pugh was fouled on 8 minutes it was just a relief to see a Bournemouth player on the ball. AFCB just could not get any control. Eddie Howe was signalling his players to push up and try and expand the game, but QPR were camped in. It was tense and yet riveting as AFCB looked to get Grabban on a run to break the strangle hold.

Hoilett was caught offside on 12 minutes and slowly AFCB were starting to whether QPR's strong start. Kermorgant then fouled Assou-Ekotto and invited the pressure back on. Ritchie was even having to drop back and help Francis as Assou-Ekotto was seeing more of the ball on QPR's left wing. Cook too was making defensive headers to clear, but Morrison and Jenas were always on hand to pick up any lose balls with the first meaningful shot coming from Jermaine Jenas on quarter of an hour which saw Camp at full stretch to his left to make a terrific save. The corner came out to Assou-Ekotto who tried his luck from distance but hit his shot straight at Camp's mid-rift.

A free kick on Kermorgant saw the Cherries relieve the pressure again and Grabban had a shot blocked on 17 minutes. It was a worry that QPR were so quick on the break with Hoilett giving Harte problems and Morrison flashed a shot that was deflected off Surman for a corner. Camp had to make another great save from Carroll this time and another corner followed.

With 20 minutes gone I was wondering how the Cherries were going to turn the pattern of play around. What had happened to the quick AFCB starts? But then Arter drifted across from left to right with the crowd urging him to pass. He found Grabban and the ball came back to Ritchie who shot just wide of the post with Green diving to his right. 

QPR were soon back down at the North end though and Hoilett's shot came off Arter for another QPR corner. Carroll, Jenas and Morrison were making the game look easy but it was Arter who was getting his tackles in and breaking up moves and pulling Bournemouth into the game. Things were livening up and on 28 minutes Ritchie played in Grabban who had his shot deflected wide for a Bournemouth corner. Pugh's shot was blocked but Yann Kermorgant won a throw.

AFCB just couldn't get much build up play going. Kermorgant was fouled by Dunne for climbing and AFCB were starting to see more of the ball for once. The decision's weren't exactly going AFCB's way when Ritchie's defelected shot ended with the referee awarding a goal kick, but the Cherries were in the game with the floodlights full on by now. A free kick by Harte missed everyone out on 34 minutes as it was fired over to the far post. 

Surman and Gabban were linking well and Grabban's cross from the right found Kermorgant who released his shot from 12 yards, only to see Green scramble across his goal and for the ball to hit him when it so easily could have been the breakthrough. I am sure Green knew little about the save but he managed to keep the shot out just by filling the space at the last moment.

A Pugh cross just after saw Yann again bring a save from Green. But just when you thought AFCB were getting the upper hand, Hoillett broke down the right wing and pulled the back superbly to Traore on the edge of the box and his finish was well wide! A real let off, although Redknapp applauded Hoilett's work.

On 40 minutes, Surman went down in the box and we all shouted penalty! But Mr Moss in black was having none of it. A rash challenge then by Arter saw him given a warning as he flew into a challenge. AFCB's came close again when a long ball to Grabban was helped on by Kermorgant back to Grabban and he shot a metre wide from the left side of the box when he had a good angle on goal. That was after 43 minutes and it looked like being 0-0 at half time, but with several minutes of added on time AFCB won a corner and while I though Kermorgant had out leaped everyone it was Tommy Elphick who put the Cherries 1-0 up with his first league goal of the season to tremendous cheers. While Pugh and Kermorgant ran into each other and Green in the final minutes, all were okay as half time arrived.
There were plenty of mascots for the game.
AFCB subs.
The Cherriets keep everyone entertained.
Second Half
I was a bit slow getting back to my seat for the second half and as I sat down I just saw Armand Traore receive a cross ball from Tom Carroll and go past Francis on QPR's left wing and somehow flick the ball into the net from a narrow angle for the equaliser 1-1. We were stunned! Having felt that AFCB were in the ascendancy they now had to do it all over again.

Traore went down hurt a few minutes later before recovering. Bournemouth had Grabban and then Kermorgant called offside and Carroll was starting to run the show again as QPR looked to kick on. AFCB did have a good break though with Kermorgant who passed to Surman who beat a couple of QPR players on the edge of the box before firing a good shot that Green took no chances with and parried over the bar.

The second Bournemouth goal arrived on the hour as Surman won the ball and played in a great ball to Kermorgant down the left wing. It was his cross that was met by Grabban ahead of Green and with the ball bobbling along the six yard line with Clint Hill slipping over and Robert Green looking helpless on the floor, Grabban readjusted to move the ball on and slam it into the net 2-1! We were up and singing once more - "We're AFC Bournemouth, we score when we want!"

QPR won a corner straight after that was cleared but then Pugh handled the ball on half way. AFCB won a free kick though a few moments later and with Kermorgant, Grabban and Pugh involved the ball eventually came to Arter who made Green pull off another great save to his left

QPR made a sub on 65 minutes with Charlie Austin coming on for Maiga. A push on Kermorgant by Jenas was ignored by the referee, but an even bigger decision was to go against the Cherries moments later. Arter was adjudged to have made a two-footed challenge on Junior Hoilett and even if he did get some of the ball he was given a straight red on 68 minutes. At first I did not expect a red card, but having seen the replay I can see why Harry was sent off, even though he definitely was going for the ball and got it first his studs were up. The way he stamped down on the ball caused him to follow through onto Hoillett's ankle and, while I don't think there was intent to injure, it was a kind of challenge that could always cause an injury and in an area on the pitch where Harry did not need to dive in.

So AFCB had to make an enforced sub and O'Kane replaced Kermorgant on 70 minutes. Meanwhile, QPR brought on Yossi Benayoun for Jenas and a few minutes later Fraser came on for Ritchie. It did not take long for a Simpson cross to find Austin but the striker put his effort wide.

Cook was now winning most of the headers in defence as the Bournemouth back line came under intense inspection. A burst from Fraser saw him kicked in the face by Dunne, but no card was issued. Ian Harte picked up a yellow though for arguing with the referee. QPR then subbed Traore as they brought on Zamora in a push for a winner.

You might expect the last 10 minutes to have been all total defence from the Cherries but they still had Grabban charging around up front and causing problems. There was a moment when Francis slipped and sat in the box as play continued around him, but luckily some AFCB player cleared. Morrison was the next to get a yellow card, for a foul on Fraser if I remember correctly.

QPR's best chance looked to have come and gone when Hoilett let a fierce volleyed shot go from the edge of the box which just cleared the bar on 84 minutes. Pugh blocked a minute later for a corner. Bournemouth then had a great break with Fraser and Grabban had the chance as Green came out and the Bournemouth striker hit his shot against Green's chest! 

If anyone expected a quiet ending to the game they were wrong. Five minutes of extra time and Grabban had set Fraser in but he was chopped down by Dunne who finally picked up a yellow card, not that he had a number on his shirt anymore having had to switch to a blood shirt replacement that fitted a little tighter than he probably liked. Up stepped Ian Harte with his left foot wand and his strike was hit firm and true, causing Green to tip over a well stuck free kick.

As time was running out Eddie Howe made what turned out to be an inspired substitution as Pitman replaced Pugh and ran straight to the right post to defend a corner. He must have had a premanition as Dunne's header was destined  for that part of the goal before Pitman's leap cleared the ball off the line! That was it - 2-1 and the party could start.

Final score.
AFCB may have just done enough to sneak through this tight game, but QPR will be disappointed that they did not make more of having to opportunity to play the last 25 minutes with an extra man. While Bournemouth did not have their electrifying start this match they used will and determination to get into the game and with Grabban and Kermorgant they always looked like they carried a goal threat up front. QPR pressed well and like good teams did not allow AFCB any time to build up attacks, but in the end they were undone first by Elphick's giant header and secondly by a team that did not want to see their play-off hopes disappear after they had been put on the floor by Traore's equaliser. There is belief in this AFCB side that they have something special and that could just carry them further than we all though possible this season. 

Match Highlights

A great three points for Bournemouth against a top three side.
Job done, let's think about Tuesday and Reading now.

Camp, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Harte, Ritchie ( Fraser 74), Surman, Arter, Pugh (Pitman 95), Kermorgant (O'Kane 70), Grabban

Allsop, Pitman, Rantie, Ward, O'Kane, Fraser, Smith

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

Green, Simpson, Traore (Zamora 80), Dunne, Morrison, Hill, Carroll, Jenas (Benayoun 72), Hoilett, Assou-Ekotto, Maiga (Austin 65)

QPR Subs
Austin, Yun, Henry, Young, Zamora, Murphy, Benayoun

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