Sunday, 17 August 2014

Junior Stanislas ends Brentford's brave fight 1-0

Match Report
AFCB 1 v 0 Brentford
16 August 2014
Attendance: 10,114
Junior Stanislas grabs the winner.
Mark Warburton in his pre-match briefings said he knew how Bournemouth would play. They use 4-4-2 with Arter and O'Kane in the middle and the two wide men pushing on down the wings, he said. It is all right to know what a team plans to do but it is something else to stop it. For 72 minutes the Bees not only looked like they had the game plan to stop the Cherries but they also carried a punch that was rudely applied as early as the fourth minute when Andre Gray smashed a shot off the bar after a cleverly worked free kick. While AFCB played they intricate football, it was a Brentford player that kept getting a foot in when it mattered and it easily could have been the oppositions day, but for a change of personnel that gave fresh momentum to Bournemouth's early season promise.

More water than the Thames here.
AFCB players get ready for the team photo.
While it was windy there was plenty of sunshine around.
Scoreboard ready - let's go.
For more picture see the Match Day Gallery tab.

Eddie Howe decided not to make any changes from the first league last weekend except for on the subs bench where Ryan Fraser came in for Brett Pitman - an important decision as it turned out. This game was destined to all be about wingers in the end and as the game kicked off most of us thought it would be Marc Pugh or Matt Ritchie that would be the ones to unlock the Brentford defence, perhaps for Callum Wilson or Yann Kermorgant. Ricthie indeed fancied a dip at goal as early as the second minute with a curling javelin of a shot that just whistled past the top right side upright. Brentford countered almost immediately with Alan Judge and Andre Gray. Arter's intervention ended in a free kick on the edge of the right side of AFCB's box and Brentford brought their 'A' plan move which saw Judge find space in the area and pull back a pass for Gray who hit the woodwork with Lee Camp in Bournemouth's goal a mere spectator.

If that was not a big enough signal of Brentford's intent, Moses Odubajo also had a shot at goal from the right which Camp got down to save well. This was not quite what the home fans expected, but a corner on 7 minutes gave AFCB a chance to do one of their own set-pieces and with Eddie Howe madly signalling at certain players to vacate certain areas of the box, Harry Arter made a dummy run and Yann Kermorgant hit a free shot just wide of the goal from the edge of the area! The mood was set for an attacking first half with Wilson, Kermorgant and Ritchie working together beautifully at times to baffle their opponents. But it wasn't all good play. Arter would loft the odd ball straight back to Brentford and Alan Judge was still perfecting his aim on the Bournemouth goal. O'Kane then decided he could get forward more though and had a quick shot on the turn that went wide after 14 minutes.

Andre Gray was playing up front virtually on his own but was certainly getting team mates involved up and around him. Down the right it was Tebar and McCormack that usually linked up well while Odubajo and Pritchard were always in close attendance. AFCB's wingers were doing okay with Pugh flashing his cross across the box with Douglas close enough to clear when Brentford looked stretched. Ritchie too had a real crack at goal on 32 minutes but just stuck it wide.

There were quite a few fouls taking place by now and referee Gavin Ward was perhaps letting some go while pleasantly talking to players rather than dishing out cards. His assistant referee was not the quickest at raising his flag either, which wasn't much help to him or those for those of us urging him to watch the offsides. The towering James Tarkowski offended once to often though and was carded for a foul on Ritchie after 37 minutes. Matt was soon back in action and released a hand stinger of a shot from the right that was moving viciously, but Button managed to keep it out on 40 minutes.

As we moved to half time O'Kane was given a talking to for holding back Alan Judge when both had been on the floor struggling to recapture the ball. Luckily the free kick amounted to nothing and both teams could go in feeling that they were well in the match at 0-0 at half time. 

AFCB fan Ian Bryant gives his half time view on how the match could pan out.
Second Half
Bournemouth came out in the second half with power and endeavour forcing corners, and when Wilson went down in the box on 49 minutes I was surprised there were not louder penalty shouts from AFCB players. Home crowd hopes really rose on 55 minutes when Yann battled with Button in the air and the ball fell invitingly to Callum Wilson in the box, but it took an age to come down and while the crowd were screaming for him to hit it on the volley, when he shoot Jake Bidwell managed to get back to clear it off the line. The next attempt saw Ritchie spoon the ball over from a long range header on the edge of the box.

Brentford made a sub on 58 minutes with Tebar being replaced by Stuart Dallas. Bidwell became more adventurous and his cross from the left on the hour mark caused Cook to defend deep before Odubajo found Douglas who shot over. By now Arter's frustration was clearly showing and he was giving away needless fouls. Camp had to punch Pritchard's resultant shot away for a corner.

AFCB's salvation came after Pugh and Ritchie had been subbed on 66 minutes and Ryan Fraser and Junior Stanislas had come on. Steve Cook was having to do more blocking duties but Fraser was sharp on the break whenever the ball came to him. It was Brentford that were in charge though with Alan Judge causing Lee Camp into another save and from the corner Tony Craig saw his shot balloon over with 67 minutes gone. A bit of relief came when Fraser was fouled and Craig was booked. AFCB continued to press down the right with Francis, and O'Kane who found Wilson, before Fraser was released and spurted down the right, twisting and turning Douglas until he sent over a quality cross that cut out the keeper and centre backs and left Junior Stanislas with a relative gift, which he stuck away to make it 1-0 to the Cherries on 72 minutes. 

The stampede like celebrations were good to see and all the players wanted to congratulate Junior, but it was a goal produced and made by Fraser's fabulous run. Brentford would put everything into their efforts now to get the equaliser. But before then Yann Kermorgant was given a yellow card in the centre circle straight after the restart.

McCormack was particularly creating problems even if his shooting was usually wide of the mark. Callum Wlson almost capitalised on the midfielders weak back pass moments later, but i Bournemouth were more often defending now. A cross from Pritchard  went right across the box and Elphick had to clear a shot off the line with about 11 minutes to go. Warburton made two more subs as Odubajo and Gray made way for Tommy Smith and Nick Proscwitz. AFCB's last sub was Dan Gosling who came on in the 82nd minute to replace Harry Arter who was probably one more indiscretion away from the referee taking card action against him. McCormack did pick up a card though as another Brentford player go the wrong side of the referee.

Brentford had chances in the last few minutes with Douglas having a header come off the top of the bar on 87 minute, but even four minutes of extra time could not help them and Bournemouth had scraped a 1-0 home win.
A narrow win, but they all count - 3pts!
Fans watch the players leave the pitch while the
1-0 score line is enough to put smiles on faces.
The pitch still looks perfect at the end of the day.
Brentford will not be the worst side to come to Dean Court this season. They kept their shape well and allowed little room for Bournemouth pacey attack to exploit. At the end of the day it was fresh legs and a killer cross that did for them, but they proved more than able to take the game to AFCB. That will have signalled some alarm bells in Eddie Howe's head even if the Cherries do sit on top of the Championship table with six points from six, and two clean sheets. But he won't have long to think as Nottingham Forest will be down on Tuesday and he'll have to work out his best 11 pretty quickly for another examining test of a Bournemouth side who now are the division's early pace-setters.

Camp, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Stanislas 66), O'Kane, Arter (Gosling 83), Pugh (Fraser 66), Kermorgant, Wilson.

AFCB subs
Flahavan, Rantie, Gosling, Fraser, Stanislas, Smith, Harte

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

Button, Craig, McCormack, Bidwell, Tarkowski, Tebar, Odubajo, Douglas, Pritchard, Judge, Gray

Brentford subs
Lee, Dean, Dallas, Diagouraga, Smith, Moore, Proshwitz

Ref score just for Damien Hill: 3/10

Eddie comes over to give thanks to the crowd.
See you all on Tuesday. UTCIAD!

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