Saturday, 26 July 2014

Saints comfortably squeeze out Cherries 0-1

Match Report
25 July 2014
AFCB 0 v 1 Southampton FC

There were a few surprises in the Cherries team to play Southampton and I had especially expected that Lee Camp would have made it back to full fitness for this game. Still it was good to see Benjamin Buchel make his full first team debut at Dean Court. Cook and Elphick would resume their central defence partnership, while Callum Wilson had the chance to show home fans what they could look forward to up front next season as he started alongside Yann Kermorgant. O'Kane also got his opportunity which I felt he needed if he was to show that he was in consideration for the Huddersfield match. For those like me not at the match it was very pleasing that Southampton,having sold out their ticket allocation, put a live screening on their YouTube Channel so that many fans could watch proceedings for free. Tadic and Pelle were Saint's new signings that would start.

An interesting Blue shirt and shorts and yellow socks number was worn by the Saints, but AFCB were looking good as usual in their traditional red and black home strip. Former Cherry physio, John 'captain' Kirk's passing was remembered with a minutes applause and AFCB's treatment room is to be named after him.
Away fans in the South End and AFCB players on the pitch.
Picture taken by Damien Hill in the Family Stand.
Pugh was the first to make an impression winning a corner after three minutes off Clyne. Ward-Prowse and Tadic were connecting well on the left in the first few minutes for Saints. Isgrove next won a corner for the saints off of Adam Smith. A header from Yoshida flashed across the six yard box but went harmlessly past Bournemouth's goal. Elphick then took out a Saints player in the box with a push but nothing was given. Fonte and Kermorgant went down next and Yann needed treatment and was angry about the challenge throwing his shin pads down on the ground, which amused the commentators on the Saint's live streaming channel.

The Saints were having the majority of the possession. Isgrove was tackled by Smith as he was closing in on goal. Ramirez then shot over the bar. Another corner for Saints, but Buchel caught the ball with 14 minutes gone. Smith was brought down by Isgrove and AFCB had a free kick from half way to relieve some pressure. Pugh then won another corner on 18 minutes. Gosling and O'Kane were starting to come into the game a bit more now.

The first and only goal as it turned out came on 20 minutes with Clyne down the right and his cross was well met with a superb flying header from Lloyd Isgrove ahead of Smith to make it one nil to the Saints. At this point the live feed went down for me so it was back to picking up news from the AFCB live blog.

Buchel then made a good save from Pelle who was close to making it 0-2.  I finally had the live stream back as we approached half time. The Cherries look a bit light in midfield and the Saints seem to be able to come down either flank almost at will. Wilson was now playing more on the left but has not seen much of the ball. AFCB had a handball appeal turned down, but I did not see who the offender might have been. Ward-Proswe gets a shot away from 20 yards but Buchel saves well with 37 minutes gone.

AFCB are back on the attack. McQuoid and Kermorgant win a corner and O'Kane has a shot blocked before Daniel's shot is saved by the Saint's keeper. Kermorgant is next to have a go shooting wide on 40 minutes. McQuoid is getting in crosses but the Saints are clearing any danger.

Second half
Ramirez went off at half time being replaced by Cork and Matt Ritchie replaces Wilson and McQoid moved up front alongside Kermorgant. Ritchie turned his man in the whole and hit a good shot just wide early in the second half. O'Kane is starting to find his range with a cross field pas to Pugh. Meanwhile, Pelle was playing some beautiful touches and looked a good buy for the Saints.

AFCB were having trouble keeping the ball. Creatively, Matt Ritchie looked the Cherries best hope, but the team were short of ideas going forward. Cook was looking AFCB's best player at the back, very calm when under pressure.

Six subs came on after 70 minutes as the game slowed. Junior Stanislas tried to save the game when he finished a move, but it was swiftly disallowed. While Whitfield and Matthews joined in towards the end they could not change the result either. AFCB had to admit defeat against their nearby rivals as they went down 0-1.

I thought the Saints were easily the better team on the day. I am not sure why the team was not a bit stronger 11 at the start, but perhaps Eddie was giving a few a chance to see how they did as pairings. Without anyone managing to control the centre of midfield for the Cherries, the Saints pinged the ball about well and looked threatening for large periods of the game. Still, Buchel played well and perhaps Eddie Howe is now thinking that he should be the main back up to Lee Camp this season rather than Flahavan. Matt Ritchie still looks AFCB's spearhead for many of the attacks, while Gosling is not yet at his best for me. I don't think Wilson really had enough chances to really impress, but maybe the Cherries will regain some momentum against Portsmouth and Swansea.

Buchel, Smith, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, McQuoid, Gosling, O'Kane, Pugh, Kermorgant, Wilson.

AFCB subs
Francis, Stanislas, Pitman, Whitfield, Ritchie, Harte, Arter, Matthews and Cargill

Saints XI
Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Targett, S. Davis, Ward-Prowse, Tadić, Ramírez, Isgrove, Pellè.

Saint subs
K. Davis (GK), Stephens, Hooiveld, McCarthy, Flannigan, Cork, Reed, McQueen, Sharp, Mayuka, Gallagher.

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