Sunday, 10 August 2014

Cherries top the table with 0-4 win over Terriers

Match Report
Huddersfield 0 v 4 AFCB
9 August 2014
Attendance: 12,371 (including 550 away fans)

AFCB go top of the league!
I never quite know what to expect on the first day of the season and whether I should be anxious, excited or a mixture of the two. With this Bournemouth side walking out at the John Smith's stadium I felt confident and really just pleased to see the players again, ready to play a competitive game. You can sample the atmosphere with this short video clip - the noise was deafening.

Huddersfield players shake hands with AFCB players.
Charlie Daniles zips into action.
There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

Eddie Howe had picked a side with just one of the three new signings to start, but it was no surprise that Callum Wilson would be lined up next to Yann Kermorgant come 3pm. The only other major rabbit that Eddie pulled out was the start he gave to Lee Camp, although many of us had our suspicions that Lee would make the game despite not having any pre-season friendlies. As for Huddersfield, they had given the captaincy to Lee Peltier and new signing Majewski was to start, while the main goal threat would come from Adam Hammill, Nakhi Wells and Danny Ward.
Moments before kick off - for what we are about to receive...
With the sun raising the temperature and a strong breeze flowing around the ground it was good to see that while the Cherries' fans were out numbered they were full of good voice. It wasn't long before we had something to cheer about either. A quick flowing move up the right wing with Francis passing on to Ritchie, saw the winger hit his stride and send over a cross that flew over Yann Kermorgant's head and landed perfectly for Marc Pugh, who was on hand to dance around the keeper and slot the ball past Smithies' left hand with just 26 seconds on the clock, 0-1. Welcome to the new season! The south stand erupted with Bournemouth fans jumping up and down like they hadn't had a party for years, and rightly so because the ease with which Huddersfield were opened up was just breath taking.

The game settled down after that with AFCB keeping most of the possession but not finding quite the same cutting-edge. Arter was guilty of firing a free kick wide after just seven minutes. Huddersfield were doing better by the 10 minute mark, but even then the offside flag would go up. Bournemouth were playing their normal passing game with everyone getting a touch, but when it did breakdown Huddersfield would counter, mainly down the right with Hammill and Hogg. I make a comment at this point that recognising any of the Huddersfield players was a nightmare as thin red numbers on blue and white striped shirts would test even those with 20:20 vision!

The game had become a bit stop start with throw ins and free kicks breaking up any real pattern. Dixon almost got a shot away but was blocked on the edge of the box, while at the other end Ritchie shot just wide to the keeper's right on the quarter hour. Matt was back at it moments later latching onto a loose Huddersfield header and his shot was pulled wide again. AFCB were giving Huddersfield all kinds of problems though and Callum Wilson raced through with Smithies rushing out to the left hand side of his box. A mistake perhaps, but while Wilson rounded him he could only pull back a cross to Huddersfield's central defenders who cleared with great relief.

Elphick was in his element putting in crunching tackles on Hammill. Nakhi Wells was able to get in and get a good shot on goal, but ever safe Camp dealt with any danger. Pugh was having a particularly fine game and was intercepting some of Huddersfield's passes and linking with Arter to set up moves. As soon as Pugh had his foot up highthough he was penalised, whereas Yann Kermorgant was having his usual barrage of hefty batterings with nothing given to him in the way of free kicks.

Hammill, Ward, Wells and Majewski were getting more of the ball but were unable to create much to trouble Bournemouth's defence. A corner on the half hour was a start but Ward could only find the side netting from a good ball in. Huddersfield's tidy football all went a bit amiss after 32 minutes when Callum Wilson found himself in acres of space on the right wing and suddenly with a one-on-one with the keeper. This was the moment AFCB fans had been waiting for. Was he cool under pressure? Could he slot away the chance? - Yes, of course he could. It was 0-2 and cries of "We score when we want," were soon heard around the ground. Where was the Yorkshire men's defence? AFCB seemed to be unlock it at will.

Huddersfield closest effort of the half came from Oliver Norwood, who just plundered his way forward to some 25 yards out from goal and thought why not have a go? His deft shot lobbed Lee Camp but came back off the bar. There wasn't much going right for mark Robins' team but then they were chasing shadows for much of the first half. Ritchie even had the cheek to have a go from the half way line with a lob, but 0-2 was good enough at half time.

Half time opinions on Chimes Cam: Ellie and Matt. I got a bit of you in the frame Matt!

Half time opinions on Fan Cam: Damien Hill - man in the shadow!

Second half
Having talked to a few Bournemouth fans at half time the consensus was that more of the same was likely. Adam Hammill had been substituted at half time having been on the end of an Arter special i the first half that had seen him wriggle in agony holding his arm for some time before Camp came over to him and the ref signalled for treatment. Most AFCB fans had shouted at Hammill "you're okay" as it was a tackle that had well and truly taken the ball and Hammill had simply landed awkwardly. But his exit meant that Scannell was on. The difficulty was that Huddersfield could not keep the red and black shirts away from their box and with Wilson again disrupting their back line and pulling defenders left and right, his cunning led on to a cross that Pugh headed right at Smithies, but Yann Kermorgant's then found the ball at his feet from two yards out. He accepted the invitation to stab home the ball and make it 0-3 on 50 minutes.

Huddersfield did not give up. They again gave Kermorgant a head clash for his troubles and set about gaining a couple of corners from which Peltier had a strong header well saved by Camp. But when new boy Majewski was subbed after 58 minutes for Joe Lolley the home crowd sent out a crescendo of disapproving boos. Referee Scott Duncan was also having a bit of a difficult day it seemed in letting play go on when players were clearly fouled. Arter and Kermorgant went up to the referee on more than one occasion.

Arter might be less likely to take the free kicks next game as he over hit yet another dead ball in a promising position - perhaps he could blame it the wind? Crooks was next to go close for Huddersfield with a header from a corner. AFCB were just summoning up the energy for another attack though and this time Ritchie flew down the right and his cross was met by Wilson in the six yard box and, even though Smithies appeared to get there, the finish was strong enough to dribble over the line and it was 0-4. The Huddersfield fans were leaving out of the ground pretty fast now with only 64 minutes gone.  
Callum Wilson Bournemouth's goal machine got quite a few choruses.
Mark Robins brought on new boy Coady for Hogg on 66 minutes probably to try and appease the growing displeasure from Huddersfield faithful. It didn't change the pattern of play though and on 75 minutes Callum Wilson rushed through again only to be brought down by Smithies. The ref pointed to the spot after a short moments hesitation. Wilson had drawn the foul well and the keeper had no choice really, it was a yellow for him. With the AFCB crowd shouting let Callum take it there was  a while before we saw Yann Kermorgant pick the ball up an graciously hand it over to Callum to see if he could get his hat-trick. Having seen Callum hit a steady pass of a shot that Smithies easily saved, Yann was probably cursing himself as he was clearly the appointed penalty taker. We may not have heard the last on that but I don't think it mattered greatly in this game apart from giving Huddersfield something to be pleased about.

With Subs Gosling and Rantie coming on for Kermorgant and Wilson, the last 10 minutes rapidly turned into a bit of an exhibition spectacle. Every pass was cheered and O'Kane went on a great run at one point that earned him a Eunan song from the fans. With Stanislas replacing Pugh on 90 minutes the day was well and truly won.
Thanks Eddie and the lads for the first away win of the
season and a greats start to the new campaign.

A special day! We will all be looking at the table with a smile on our faces at least until next weekend. While commentators will say that Wilson's pace is going to be an absolute headache for defenders this season, I'd also like to say that Ritchie and Pugh were first class today and kept the ball moving forward in the channels and delivered telling balls into the danger areas, while also having a goal threat themselves. Although Steve Cook picked up a yellow card I can't say that any of the back four had a bad game and they must all be pleased with a clean sheet. That is what Eddie should be praising most of all after this performance because while the team has goals in it we are yet to see if they can consistently go to away grounds and shut up shop. This is number one on the board and the task Eddie Howe has is to keep expectations grounded which will be particularly difficult as I and a fair few others believe while AFCB were great in little spells and well deserved their win, they can play even better than this. 

It's good to be back! And 0-4, that's the way we like it. Callum Wilson will get the headlines but Mark Pugh was the star man for me today.

Camp, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, O'Kane, Pugh (Stanislas 90), Wilson (Rantie 82), Kermorgant (Gosling 82)

AFCB subs

Buchel, Gosling, Rantie, Pitman, Harte, Stanislas, Ward

AFCB Ratings
Camp 6, Francis 7, Cook 6, Elphick 7, Daniels 6, Ritchie 7, Arter 6, O'Kane 6, Pugh 9, Wilson 8, Kermorgant 7

Smithies, Crooks, Peltier, Lynch, Dixon, Majewski (Lolley 58), Hammill (Scannel 45), Norwood, Hogg (Coady 69), Wells, Ward

Huddersfield subs
Coady, Scannell, Murphy, Stead, Wallace, Lolley, smith 

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