Sunday, 13 April 2014

Yeovil deflate Cherries' play-off push 1-1 (Photo gallery)

Match Report
Yeovil Town 1 v 1 AFCB
12 April 2014
Attendance: 6931
Huish Park - will it still host Championship football next season?
 Yesterday's game would have a big say in the matter and it would also have
a big say in the Cherries' play-off push.
If AFCB supporters thought that all their team had to do was turn up at Huish Park and start banging in the goals they were sadly mistaken. At the start of the sun was shining, the inflatable balloons and beach balls were airborne and the singing was underway. But as soon as the conditions turned to overcast and the wind started to blow, Bournemouth's players were faced with a spirited Yeovil team who not only competed but defied their lowly league position with some excellent football going forward. It was no surprise when the Glovers scored first and a rescue mission is all you can say the afternoon became for AFCB. I said before the game that Yeovil needed a bit of luck. Actually it was the Cherries who had all the luck and via a fluke of a rebound found themselves able to escape Somerset with a point. The party is not over for AFCB, but it is on hold.

The teams are out.
Eddie Howe made a single change to the team with Ryan Fraser replacing Marc Pugh who dropped to the bench. Lewis Grabban past a late fitness test and it was good to see former Glover Shaun McDonald on the bench. Gary Johnson made a few more changes with Stech, Palazuelos and Moore coming into the starting 11 while Dunn, Davis and Grant were moved to the bench.
Synchronised circles.

After a perfectly obseved minute silence for the 96 killed at the Hillsborough tragedy the game kicked off at 3.07pm.

You can see more pictures from the day on Match Day Gallery

First Half
It was Bournemouth who had the first chance of the match as soon as the second minute with Grabban up against Webster on the left wing with his cross reaching Ritchie who blasted his shot over the bar!

O'Kane was having to break up Yeovil's strong play and Cook had to make a great tackle taking the ball off of Hayter's toe as he was about to shoot. A further cross came in but Camp did enough to put Kieffer Moore off. Harte was then tackled by Edwards on Yeovil's right wing and O'Kane needed to come across to cover.

AFCB looked unable to get into any rhythm and Yeovil were by far the better starters as noted by Edward's shot that went high and wide after 7 minutes. Grabban was finding the offside flag a little too often and Kermorgant seemed to be having to do more work in his own half rather than where we wanted to see him - up front. 

Fraser won a free kick on the left of the box after 15 minutes, but as Harte's kick went in AFCB were flagged offside. Bournemouth were not finding their passes and kept giving away possession. The Cherries were having to clear crosses with Cook and Elphick very busy winning headers. Surman was getting more into the game but was unable to get the Cherries playing their normal fluent passing style.

When Harte started a left wing break with Grabban holding off three or four challenges I thought things were about to start happening, but Francis' cross was far too long. Flowing a block from Ayling, Grabban did get a good ball into Fraser who shot well with Stech making a good diving save to his left on 20 minutes.  

AFCB soon slumped back into their problems of losing the ball again - Ritchie this time.Then Fraser completely missed the flight of a cross field ball as it went straight out of play. Ayling was proving a threat down Yeovil's right side and he was linking well with Moore who shot well but right at Camp after about 22 minutes.

Fraser was basically then upended by Ayling and while the free kick was cleared Cook had to move across quickly to stop Moore in his tracks on the break. Play was broken up again though as Ritchie was fouled. At this point AFCB started a good move with about 13 passes only for Grabban to whip in a cross right across the box with nobody anywhere near it!

Yeovil got back into their stride with Edwards and Lawrence pushing up and Ritchie had to make a good clearance, while when Bournemouth broke and Ritchie had his shot blocked before Yann Kermorgant was flagged for offside. It just wasn't happening for the Cherries. 

To annoy Bournemouth fans even more, Hayter had gone down and Yeovil put a good ball into the box from the free kick that Cook deflected away. Unfortunately, it landed at the sharp shooting feet of Kieffer Moore on the right side edge of the box and he volleyed a shot straight past Camp and into the top right side of the goal to put the Glovers 1-0 up on 26 minutes. It was a stunning strike and a clinical finish compared to the haphazard passing that had gone before.

Bournemouth hadn't turned up yet, I wrote in my notebook. They were devoid of energy and intensity and it was costing them. Yeovil's tails were up and they looked to press the advantage home. 

AFCB best chance came and went on a flash. You couldn't have asked for any one better though to have the chance but Lewis Grabban and so when he was given a ball from the right wing, he has a great chance to equalise and yet somehow scuffed his shot and did not make a clean contact from about 10 yards out! AFCB still had a corner, but even the set-pieces didn't look like coming off with Webster and Duffy at the back. Stech as well was proving to be good at taking the ball in the air.

Grabban did have another chance when Kermorgant played a ball through but Grabban hit his shot wide and I was already wondering how fit for this game Grabban was? AFCB had to do a bit of defending towards the end of the half as Hayter won a free kick, but Camp caught the ball well after a right wing cross and soon after it was half time.
Not the best of scores. C'mon Cherries step it up this second half!
Second half
We hoped for a more passionate performance by the Cherries in the second half and the omens were good with Grabban shooting early but wide again in the 46th minute. Surman was then fouled and I thought things were perhaps starting to go our way.

It was Yeovil who were playing with confidence, Edwards, Lawrence and Ralls seeing lots of the ball.
Meanwhile, when AFCB pushed the ball up field Duffy was swallowing everything up and was having a magnificent game for the Glovers. Palazuelos was also getting more of the ball and won a corner off of Surman on 50 minutes. I thought the following header that only just went wide came off Surman but it must have been a Yeovil touch in the end as a goal kick was given. That was close to a second killer goal!

The referee was having a difficult game I thought as players were going down all the time and asking for free kicks and both sets of fans were getting rattled by some of the decisions. Eddie Howe tried to liven things up with the introduction of Adam Smith on 56 minutes as Ian Harte was taken off. Almost immediately Smith showed a bit of immediacy and intent that had been lacking in the Cherries play going forward.

Smith put in a well crafted low cross from the left wing which perhaps hit Webster on his arm but the referee waved the calls for handball away. AFCB were soon to be more content though when another move with Ritchie and Cook fed Smith down the left and Fraser ran in to follow up Smith's ball in which Webster had tried to clear, only hammering it right into Fraser's face, which saw the ball loop up and spin right up over Stech and into the Yeovil goal! It was 1-1 and Bournemouth had received a mighty big bit of luck with 59 minutes on the clock.

You might have hoped that AFCB would kick on from here and get the all important three points. And a minute later there was a shout for a penalty as a Bournemouth player went down (perhaps Surman) in the box, but nothing was given. Smith had certainly livened the game up. Francis was still finding it a hard days work though as he took out Lawrence and entered the ref's book. 

Yeovil won a couple of corners and had a good chance that Hayter almost buried as the ball was fired across the box, but it was just wide. It was clear they were still going for the win. A goal mouth scramble followed with Francis eventually clearing. 

AFCB came back with a shot from Smith, but it was well wide. Pitman was then brought on after 67 minutes as Grabban was rested. But it was defending that was the problem for the Cherries as Yeovil mounted another goal mouth scramble, followed by a Yeovil run up the left wing that saw Francis completely out flanked and O'Kane and Elphick having to block out the impending danger.

Yeovil were managing to obstruct and cancel out AFCB's attempts to get Francis free down the right wing. Ritchie and Fraser had tried switching wings at times as well with no real advantage gained. With about 20 minutes to go, Surman put in a free kick that Stech punched away with Kermorgant closing.

McAllister made a foul on Ritchie as the game entered the final stages and the chances to score were coming now. AFCB had a superb chance to get that winner with 15 minutes to go, when Ritchie put in a cross from the right wing which was dummied by Pitman I think for Fraser to hit over the bar! Kermorgant had been just behind Fraser and you could see that he was upset not to have had the shot himself.

For Yeovil it was Ralls that looked most likely to score, but Elphick was always marking him tightly. Rantie was sent on for the last 10 minutes as Fraser made way for him.

Yeovil were doing their best to add to their tally and Moore saw his shot blocked after Lawrence had done some good build up work. Smith also had a shot blocked for AFCB to win another corner.

McAllister finally made one clumsy challenge too many on Ritchie and picked up a yellow card, but the game was getting niggly now. Cook had also picked up a yellow for a rash tackle when Yeovil had been on the break. The really strange one though was when Ritchie kind of fell on the ball in front of the D and while he was getting kicked the referee decided only to give a drop ball instead of a free kick!

In the last minute Yeovil brought on Hoskins for Hayter, more to use up time than anything else as the game slowly came to a close at 1-1.

AFCB did not play well, but don't take away anything from a Yeovil side who were perhaps robbed of a win if the Cherries had not have been a little fortunate with their goal. The Cherries have been playing at an unreal standard for the last month and a drop off from that high standard is disappointing, but something that can happen, especially when you are playing a team that is scrapping for everything to stay in the division. 

In shot, AFCB did not get into their passing game with any consistency for me. Without an Arter keeping the tempo going and adding some urgency, it was left to Smith when he came on to try and get the Cherries on the front foot. The sharp finishing wasn't there either and I only hope that Lewis Grabban is back to his brilliant self by the time Sheffield Wednesday come down to play the Cherries later this week. AFCB are still only two points off the play-offs but the form was not there for this game and we wonder if it will be a sweet or sour Easter for the Cherries. The team certainly needs to find more energy from somewhere.
Andrew Surman thanks the travelling support.

Eunan O'Kane has not been made to look smaller in this photo!

A point away is a still a point gained and equals AFCB's
best ever haul of 62 points in the Championship.

Just not AFCB's day

Camp, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Harte (Smith 57), Ritchie, O'Kane, Surman, Fraser (Rantie 80), Kermorgant and Grabban (Pitman 68)

AFCB subs
Allsop, Pitman, Smith, Ward, MacDonald, Rantie and Pugh

AFCB Ratings
Camp 7, Francis 6, Elphick 8, Cook 8, Harte 6, Ricthie 7, O'Kane 6, Surman 7, Fraser 6, Kermorgant 7, Grabban 7 

Stech, Ayling, McAllister, Palazuelos, Webster, Duffy, Lawrence, Edwards, Ralls, Hayter (Hoskins 91), Moore

Yeovil Subs
Dawson, Hoskins, Lanzoni, Davis, Grant, Dunn, Ofuri-Twumasi  

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