Sunday, 14 September 2014

Last minute disaster for Cherries: AFCB 1 v 1 Millers (gallery)

Match Report

AFCB v Rotherham Utd
13 September 2014
Attendance: 8480 (including 492 away fans)

Fans outside Dean Court.
Rotherham players on the run.
Some times you curse your luck and hope that mistakes don't always repeat themselves. I had an incident walking up to the stadium when I stopped to take a photograph only to find a wheel chair behind was being poorly steered, right into the back of my legs! It hurt, and I kind of felt AFCB had similar steering problems for the whole match as they failed to do more than impose a passing style on the game in the first half, and missed several opportunities in the early part of the second half, until they finally got a lead on the hour mark. Yet a 1-0 lead is hardly ever enough at Dean Court and a free header from a corner in the 93 minute was a car crash for the Cherries, because Jordan Bowery couldn't miss from six yards out. That was two points dropped and a sickening feeling for Eddie Howe's Barmy Army. 
AFCB players start their pre-match routine.
The officials do their work out.
The line ups before kick off.
More pictures can be viewed on the Match Day Gallery page.

Eddie Howe made three changes from the Norwich starting 11 with Fraser, Gosling and Stanislas missing out while Pugh, Ritchie and Kermorgant came in. I was disappointed to see Junior Stanislas moved to the bench but had hoped we would see him later - sadly we didn't. Andrew Surman was also on the bench and Ryan Fraser, although Tokelo Rantie was rested and Pitman was able to keep his place in the squad.

While Rotherham began with Luciano Becchio up front along with Paul Taylor, the duo did not have much of a cutting-edge to worry the Cherries in the first half. They were ably supported by Johnson Clarke-Harris and Paul Green, with  Richie Smallwood and Pringle making up the rest of the midfield. Captained by Craig Morgan at the back and Kairi Anarson often picking up Callum Wilson, the Cherries played their patient passing football with little end result. In fact it was poorer than that as there were no shots on goal from what I can recall in the first half and, apart from two AFCB corners, the Millers never really looked under enough pressure. 

Yann Kermorgant had tried to make something of the first corner on the near post after nine minutes but could not get a clear shot while on 17 minutes he struck the ball well into the back of the net, from just inside the box, only for pushing in the six yard area to stop play and rule out the strike.
The new scoreboard had us transfixed for a short
while as we watched the seconds tick over.
For me O'Kane was Bournemouth's player that was picking up the ball the most and trying to make things happen, but Pugh's turns were not coming off, Kermorgant's flicks were not quite getting through to Wilson and too many passes from Arter and O'Kane were going astray. Francis made a strong run down the right when his cross was inches away from Kermorgant opening the score. When the ball came back out Arter could only shoot hopelessly high and wide.

Rotherham had not shown much going forward but Arnason showed he could beat three Bournemouth players with no problems as he strode out of defence and on 36 minutes. Rotherham then won a free kick for a foul by Charlie Daniels on Clarke-Harris. The ball was sent in from the Miller's right wing and it was knocked down to Arnason who was unmarked on the penalty spot. Luckily for AFCB he blasted his shot high over the bar having had the clearest goal shooting opportunity of the half! While Paul Taylor also tried his luck from distance before the first 45 minutes were up it had been a poor match up to this point with the home fans starting to get rather frustrated by the lack of end product. 
There was not a lot to be happy with at half time for Cherries fans.
All ready for the second half.
The second half started with a higher tempo and AFCB attempted to be a bit more direct. The lacklustre Becchio was replaced by Alex Revell as Steve Evans looked to give his side more bite up front (not that he was as good as Suarez!). It was the Cherries that had upped their game though and Arter's ball to Kermrogant saw the Cherries striker hit a ball across the box from the left to an on rushing Callum Wilson, but a combination of Joe Skarz and Adam Collin in goal managed to some how keep the ball out, when it seemed Wilson had been favourite to score. Wilson came even closer two minutes later when he was sent through on the left and closed in on goal only to smack hit shot against the left post!

AFCB continued to apply the pressure with a corner on 53 minutes but Revell was fouled by Kermorgant's attempt at an overhead kick. Steve Evans was still keen to make changes and Clarke-Harris was subbed so that Jordan Bowery could come on. Revell almost did the job heading just over on 58 minutes, but a minute later AFCB broke down the right and Ritchie's cross found Steve Cook unmarked at the far post to head the Cherries 1-0 up!

Rotherham made their final sub on 65 minutes with Ben Pringle being replaced by Matt Derbyshire. Then on 68 minutes Rotherham won their first corner of the match. Eddie Howe made Bournemouth's first change a minute later with Kermorgant replaced by Brett Pitman. 

The sight of a Lancaster bomber flying over Dean Court had me wondering if more goal action was to come and sure enough things started to change as AFCB slipped further back in defending. Rotherham started to press for the equaliser more urgently. Their best chance seemed to have come and gone on 78 minutes when Matt Derbyshire supplied a great cross from the right that was just too strong for Revell

AFCB were still trying to freshen things up as Pugh was replaced by Fraser on 82 minutes. Surprisingly, Fraser was given a yellow card for simulation when Richardson and Bowery had chopped him down - not referee Horwood's best moment! When it seemed that the Cherries were going to hold out for a narrow home win they made one last sub on 90 minutes with Surman making an AFCB season's debut, coming on for Matt Ritchie. 

A period of concentration was needed now just to see out extra time, but Rotherham won a corner and a good delivery saw all the Bournemouth defenders run to the near post, Jordan Bowery was left to simply bury his header past Lee Camp to gain an unlikely point for the Yorkshire side, whose fans were jumping for joy!

While Andrew Surman almost won the game with a long range effort in the last few seconds, but the shot was well kept out by Collin and 1-1 was the final score. Rotherham's last minute bombing raid had worked a treat for them.
Rotherham spolier leaves AFCB fans gutted.
Thight margins are what count in this league and while a point at Carrow Road two weeks ago was seen as a good point away, this was certainly two points dropped by the Cherries at home. The disappointment for me though was not so much that Rotherham had scored late on but that the Cherries had again seen a quite first half hour and did not have any incisive play during that first 45 minutes. While they did get a goal up, I can't say that they looked confident of getting a second and unlike the match against Brentford the team did not do enough to secure a win.

Even if Rotherham had not have scored, this was not a performance that will have pleased Eddie Howe and major improvements will be demanded and will be necessary for a win on Tuesday night against Leeds Utd. I'll also hope for a bigger attendance as well.

Camp, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Surman 90), Arter, O'Kane, Pugh (Fraser 82), Kermorgant (Pitman 69), Wilson.

Flahavan, Fraser, Surman, Stanislas, Harte, Pitman, Smith

AFCB Ratings
Camp 5, Francis 6, Elphick 7, Cook 7, Daniels 8, Ritchie 7, Arter 6, O'Kane 7, Pugh 5, Kermorgant 5, Wilson 7.

Collin, Skarz, Arnason, Morgan, Green, Richardson, Smallwood, Pringle (Derbyshire 65), Becchio (Revell 49), Taylor, Clarke-Harris (Bowery 55)

Rotherham Subs
Loach, Broadfoot, Frecklington, Derbyshire, Revell, Bowery, Wordsworth.

Referee watch 5/10 (Annoyingly warmed up in front of my camera and booked Ryan Fraser!!)

Steve Evans greets his players after the game.
Eddie did not come out for an interview with
BBC Radio Solent for some time after the game.

A pleasing journey back for Rotherham fans.

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