Saturday, 20 September 2014

Cherries fail to hold on for the win at Watford 1-1

Match Report

Watford 1 v 1 AFCB
20 September 2014
Attendance: 14,320
Outside the stadium.
A missed penalty, a stunning goal and a late equaliser - this match resembled the best and worst of AFCB's season in a frantic 90 minutes that saw the Cherries go toe-to-toe with a team that had not dropped a point at home this season before today. Harry Arter's strike on 62 minutes was one of those goals that deserved to win a game of football, but it wasn't to be. The Cherries had battled and frustrated the home side for long periods of the match and had managed to find a way to get ahead, but as we have seen before, this AFCB team tends to drop back when it has a lead, and they were caught out again, just eight minutes from the end when Craig Cathcart struck the equaliser on the volley in Bournemouth's box!

AFCB fans can certainly feel that lady luck is not on their side at the moment. As early as the third minute it looked like they would have a great opportunity to take the lead as Callum Wilson battled with Gabriel Tamas and found his way into the Watford box, before Tamas' ill advised challenge from behind took Wilson down, leaving the referee an easy decision to point to the spot. A bigger decision was whether a goal scoring opportunity had been denied or not and AFCB were unlucky not to have to play 10 men for the rest of the match? While Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson discussed who should take the kick, up stepped Ian Harte and took the matter into his own hands placing the ball on the spot. Sadly, he pulled his shot wide of the right upright and the score remained at 0-0!

It had been quite an opening to the game and so nearly the start that would have built AFCB a good foundation to try and win the game. Junior Stanislas and Eunan O'Kane were back in the Cherries' starting 11 and Artur Boruc was making his debut in goal. Eddie Howe was looking to see points to go on the back of a good performance and despite the early missed opportunity, the team were playing well against a Watford side with plenty of invention, as demonstrated by a quick free kick chip through to Anya that Cook and Elphick had to be ready for. 

Watford settled into their game with a few long passes up field and their first half chance came from a Sean Murray header after 11 minutes. Wilson was brought down in the box a moment later but nothing was given for Ekstrand's poor challenge. AFCB pressed well with Arter almost capitalising on Tamas' fluffed clearance, but Watford also had a chance with a superb break and cross from Lloyd Dyer, which Matej Vydra could not quite reach. The Hornet's started to get more of the ball up to the 20 minute mark when Junior Stanislas had cut in from the left and let fly with a drive that Gomes saved low down.

Vydra almost got Watford ahead when he turned smartly, taking the ball on his knee as he raced to the six yard area but Boruc timed his grab for the ball well. A long delay then ensued as Tamas was stretchered off and was replaced by Craig Cathcart on 26 minutes. The break did more good for Watford and they started to dominate play for the next quarter of an hour, Cook had to make a particularly fine saving tackle in the box on 40 minutes when Vydra was almost in the clear. As half time draw near though, it was AFCB who had the chance to go ahead when Ritchie fed Francis down the right and the cross found Callum Wilson who had risen high, but could not direct his header past Gomes who made a fine save to keep it 0-0 at half time.
AFCB supporters at Vicarage Road last season.

Second half
It was just as quick a start for AFCB in the second half as it had been in the first. Callum Wilson was causing problems again and his turn resulted in a pass back out to Andrew Surman who forced Gomes to make a save at full stretch to his left, and when Wilson followed up and netted he was swiftly flagged offside.

Watford were next to be frustrated when a low corner bounced up and off of Surman's chest in the box, when it had looked like an arm might have been involved. Bournemouth fan's hearts were in their mouth again when O'Kane tried a header back to Boruc that almost played in Vydra! As AFCB got there passing going again Francis was getting to his feet after winning a header in Watford's box only for Pudil, I believe, to put his leg up and trip him up which again could have been a penalty call! At this point Fernando Forestierie came on for Lloyd Dyer.

The game progressed fairly evenly with Boruc called on to make a save from a Vydra header after a stunning run by Anya down the left, but Watford had been called back anyway for an offside. What changed matters was when Ritchie made a run down the right wing on 62 minutes only to hold his run, check back and hit a cross ball to an unmarked Harry Arter who was centrally placed about 25-30 yards from goal. Harry decided there was not much on in terms of making a pass, and so he strode forward and smashed the ball with his left boot and saw it swerve majestically past Gomes, high into the back of Watford's net - 1-0 to the Cherries! 

The only question now was could the Cherries hold on to their lead and even build on it? It looked like AFCB were not best equipped to deal with an onslaught if it should come and of course it did. Cook was first to pick up a yellow for his sliding tackle on Forestierie on 66 minutes. Surman and Tozser also picked up cards at the same time. Just to add to the card count, Arter then picked up a yellow for running into Forestierie! The pressure on the Bournemouth goal continued as they dropped deeper. Watford brought on Ighalo on 71 minutes, taking off Abdi, while Pugh came on for Junior Stanislas for AFCB, just two minutes later. There was a strong claim for a penalty when Anya was brought down by Frncis on 79 minutes but nothing was given and you wondered if AFCB's luck had changed. 

The three points were soon to vanish though when on 82 minutes the ball fell to substitute Craig Cathcart who volleyed home with his right foot into the bottom corner of the goal to the keeper's right - 1-1. There was still time for Forestierie to get a yellow for a handball after a cross from Vydra and Callum Wilson also went in the book for arguing with the assistant referee. Watford could have won it when Ighalo hit a weak shot right at Boruc, but the only other major incident was to see Tommy Elphick also go into the book. Five minutes of extra time were played out with no further surprises so the final score was 1-1.

The Cherries have to be praised for being the first team to go to Vicarage Road and to get something from the game this season. However, I believe Eddie Howe will see it as another two points dropped, what with a missed penalty and plenty of chances to have increased their lead. Still it did not happen and AFCB are yet again having to reflect at dropping points having been in a winning position in the game. This game is often not fair but Bournemouth are due a change of fortune.

Boruc, Cook, Elphick Harte, Francis, O'Kane, Arter, Ritchie (Smith 88), Surman, Stanislas (Pugh 73), Wilson

Camp, Daniels, Pugh, Pitman, Kermorgant, Smith, Fraser

AFCB ratings
Boruc 6, Cook, 6, Elphick 6, Harte 6, Francis 8, O'Kane 6, Ritchie 6, Arter 7, Surman 6, Stanislas 6, Wilson 6.

Gomes, Ekstrand, Tamas (Cathcart 32), Paredes, Pudil, Tozser, Abdi (Ighalo 73), Murray, Anya, Vydra, Dyer (Forestierie 57) 

Watford Subs
Bond, Munari, McGhugan, Forestierie, Cathcart, Ighalo

Ref watch: Oliver Langford 4/10 

(Five yellows for the Cherries at two fr the hornets)

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