Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Late drama at Portman Road Ipswich 2 v AFCB 2

Match Report
21 April 2014
Ipswich 2 v 2 AFCB
Attendance 20,356 (890 AFCB supporters)
We have arrived at Portman Road.
Just a couple of huddles left for this season.
You could not have asked for any more effort from an AFCB side that has made this a truly wonderful season. Right up until the last minute against Ipswich they were still trying to get a winner, which would have been fully deserved. It was two points that the Cherries could not really afford to drop if they were to keep their play-off hopes alive, but they showed once again that they are a match for any team in the Championship and with a bit more luck they could have had even more success this season. What has stopped AFCB doing better though is the large amount of goals conceded and in this match they let in two poor goals that were certainly preventable and typically for this side came against the run of play.

Around the back of the stadium there is
an all weather surface training area.
Eddie Howe brought back Charlie Daniels and  Elliott Ward for the match against the Tractor Boys with Tommy Elphick and Ian Harte moved to the bench. There was not sign of Harry Arter though despite having served his three match ban.

Mick McCarthy also made some changes as his Ipswich side had only had 48 hours since their last outing against Watford and into the team came Richardson for his first start, Anderson and Hunt.
Time to shake hands.

With the sun blasting its rays down on a large crowd all was set for a match that would see two sides go toe-to-toe for a chance to claw themselves nearer to the play-offs. AFCB started much the better with Surman directing play most effectively while Williams and Anderson could only pick up offside flags in the first few minutes. Bournemouth were getting their passing and movement going well and Daniels looked keen to start getting more involved up the left wing. But every now and again Surman or Pugh would lose the ball.

Meanwhile, Ipswich response was to play long balls which were easily swallowed up by Camp. Kermorgant was moving well and linking up play, while Grabban was soon fouled, after 9 minutes, in the centre circle as Ipswich looked to keep an eye on Bournemouth's leading goal scorer.

Ian Harte's absence was immediately felt as the ball was kicked straight out from the free kick. Daniel's next involvement was to take down Chambers on 10 minutes. Francis, O'Kane and Ritchie dealt with the danger but the ball up to Grabban was too strong. O'Kane tried another through ball moments later which was again to heavy, but the next time Grabban did get away only to fire his shot at Gerken on 13 minutes.

Ipswich's response was a wild cross from Anderson. Things were looking good for the Cherries as they were well on top. Yann Kermorgant was chasing things down but went a bit far when he caught Skuse. AFCB soon had the ball back though and Grabban shot wide on 15 minutes.

Richardson was doing a lot of work at right back having to keep Daniels and Pugh quiet, while Grabban was drifting over to the left now and again to make it even harder for him. All Gerken had on his mind was banging long balls up to Murphy but Ward was always there to cover.

Grabban played a cross ball that almost reached Pugh but Richardson just got their first. Pugh the fouled Chambers. Most of the game though was being played in Ipswich's half with AFCB keeping possession much the better. Murphy was again caught offside on 19 minutes as the pattern of play looked pretty set.

Pugh won a corner then on 21 minutes after a cross and AFCB took it short with Surman and Ritchie when the ball was sent over to the far post it was just deflected out for a second corner, this time from the left. Surman was first to have his shot blocked before the ball come out to Francis who hit a pile driver of a shot but well over!

Murphy then fouled Cook and AFCB had the ball back again.It became a bit of the Yann show for the next few minutes as he first headed over from a Francis cross and then went closer still with a header off of a Pugh cross. Ipswich were starting to look at all at sea at the back with a cross from the left that Yann Kermorgant first went for and was blocked before Ritchie passed to Pugh or O'Kane that went over on 28 minutes.

Kermorgant was also doing his bit in defence blocking Anderson from getting a shot in while Murphy just kept getting flagged offside. If it wasn't Gerken playing high balls up to Murphy it was Smith from centre back but Grabban fouled Smith on one occasion when he had tried to do that. 

It came a s a bit of a surprise when Ipswich broke well and Anderson and then Williams came forward, passing on to Cresswell on the left who shot wide on 33 minutes. If that was a warning it wasn't noted, because on the next throw Skuse burst through and crossed from the right wing. The ball went right across AFCB's box with Francis seeming to let it go not knowing that Anderson was coming in behind from the left and his shot was smashed passed Camp to make it 1-0 to the home side.

It was just typical. AFCB had played brilliantly, but had switched off for a second and were one-nil down. that could so easily have been two when Williams was brought down on the edge of the box and the resulting free kick from Cresswell was thwacked against the right upright with Camp just getting a vital touch. Pugh managed to get the ball away from goal after that.

AFCB than had a strong move with Ritchie playing the ball over to Pugh in a good shooting spot but Pugh missed his kick. Grabban might have done a bit better seconds later as his shot went wide, but at least it was out for a corner. The ball looked like it was cleared off the Ipswich goal line. The pressure was really mounting on the Ipswich goal and on 42 minutes Grabban was fouled. As the ball came into the box from the free kick, Cook got a head to it and the ball went straight up and yet he was quick enough to position himself for an overhead kick on the six yard line and, as he hit the ball, it fairly rocketed into the roof of the net to make it 1-1. I had thought at first that it was Yann Kermorgant and I was stunned when I realised it was Cookie. Any striker would have been proud of that finish. Cookie ran towards the away supporters with his arm aloft pointing to the sky.  AFCB were back in the game and had score right on half time.

Ipswich were fighting hard now though and Wordsworth hit a solid shot that Camp had to save well before the break. So it was 1-1 at half time.

Ryan Fraser at half time.
I thought the Grand National was the other week - Ipswich's mascot.
Second Half
The second half saw Green come on for Wordswirth. Anderson was getting on the ball early and Ward soon took him down from which Anderson never really recovered.  Pugh chased Richardson into the box and while the away supported yelled penalty for a handball Andy D'Urso wasn't moved.  A corner to AFCB led to a blocked shot from Pugh. The best early chance of the second half  went to Grabban though when he had the chance to collect a through ball from Surman but he lost control and the ball ran away to Gerken in goal.

Ipswich were doing better on the right wing with Richardson and Green, but Anderson had to be subbed after still feeling Ward's challenge and on came Nouble after 53 minutes. AFCB were having to do some defending and Francis fouled Williams that led to a free kick near the corner on the left for Ipswich. It was a set piece that took ages to take as the Ipswich men looked to confuse and get their players in the right place. It worked to perfection as a knock on led to Green stopping low to head Ipswich 2-1 up on 54 minutes.

The Cherries had it all to do now with the home crowd loving every minute. But AFCB still kept playing their steady passing game and looked to get back into the game. Murphy was still the main target for Ipswich but again he was caught offside, while Nouble tried to keep him company the sub went in late on Camp but the referee gave him no more than a gentle warning.

Bournemouth's possession was very strong and they just needed to find a finish in the last third and it looked like it would come on 63 minutes when a Francis run down the right was sent right across the box and Pugh coming in late from the left managed to blast the ball over from six yards! It was just like Ipswich's first goal only Anderson had tucked that chance away.

It might be that Pugh was going to be replaced any way but after that Eddie Howe made the change as Rantie replaced Pugh on 66 minutes. Ritchie switched to the left wing as well as Adam Smith came on the right wing to replace Daniels and AFCB went three at the back to chase the game.

Hunt won a corner for Ipswich , but Surman cleared with a header. Grabban made a great run on 69 minutes with the Ipswich defence stretched but when he got to the byline and pulled it back Rantie was in the wrong place and it was easy to clear.

Adam Smith was doing well on the right wing and beat Skuse to the challenge. Rantie though was having less luck as he was caught well offside.

Williams was taken off on 76 minutes for Mings to come on as Ipswich looked to shut up shop. Ipswich won a free kick for a foul on Murphy and then a corner. I still felt AFCB could get something from this game but time was running out.

With Rantie's pace it seemed that AFCB might have a chance on the break but Mings was covering well and blocked a Rantie effort. Tommy Smith for Ipswich was a little more clumsy and took Rantie out on the right side of the field in front of the box. That was just the chance that AFCB needed. Yann Kermorgant Ritchie and Surman stood over the ball and with a quick flick Surman laid the ball off to Ritchie to strike and after a deflection, off the foot of the wall, the ball landed in the back of the net. It was 2-2 and no more than Bournemouth deserved having bossed the game for large periods.

The last 10 minutes would be full out action. Surman won a free kick on 82 minutes but it came to nothing and Ipswich won a free kick for a foul on Nouble and came close with a header from Mings. While AFCB flung crosses in Grabban was not able to reach them, while Cook's long throw was also missing its target. Camp came well out of his goal on 87 minutes looking to get the ball deep into the Ipswich half and Kermrogant

Ipswich won a corner and we all hoped that it would be cleared safely and it was. There was still time to see Grabban shot wide again and a Bournemouth throw that saw Yann Kermorgant head wide. It ended 2-2.
A great effort by AFCB's players.

I know the players enjoyed the support at Ipswich it was immense all game.
It was good to see Charlie back.
I don't think 42 was kissing his team mate.
Eddie Howe says a goodbye to the fans.
A great performance by the Cherries was just not quite enough to beat an Ipswich team that still look in a much better position to reach the play-offs than Bournemouth.  It is not quite mathematically over but you could see in the player's faces that they knew they had to win this game realistically. The thing that scuppered Bournemouth were the two Ipswich goals that perhaps better teams would have kept out. It is something that Eddie Howe will surely now look to strengthen ahead of next season because it is the soft goals that are all that have really prevented AFCB from finishing even higher in the Championship. If they can tighten up at the back next season I can only see even more joy on the faces of AFCB fans and players to come.

Gerken, Richardson, Cresswell, Wordsworth (Green 45), Chambers, Smith, Anderson (Nouble 53) , Murphy, Skuse, Williams (Mings 77), Hunt

Ipswich Subs
Loach, Mings, Greeb, Tabb, Taylor, Marriott, Nouble

Camp, Francis, Ward, Cook, Daniels (Smith 66) , Ritchie, O'Kane, Surman, Pugh (Rantie 66), Kermorgant, Grabban

AFCB subs
Allsop, Elphick, Harte, Smith, MacDonald, Fraser, Rantie

AFCB Ratings
Camp 6, Francis 6, Ward 7, Cook 8, Daniels 7, Ritchie 7, O'Kane 8, Surman 8, Pugh 6, Kermorgant 8, Grabban 7

Cook got my vote for man of the match but it was tight between Kermorgant and Surman as well. 

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