Sunday, 23 November 2014

AFCB pegged back twice by dogged Ipswich 2-2 (videos)

Match Report
AFCB 2 v 2 Ipswich Town
22 November 2014
Attendance: 11,115
The flags were out for the clash between second and fourth.
I don't think the Cherries could have pulled a tougher home match out of the bag after the international break than Ipswich. Mick McCarthy's team are tall and dogged and while they were out played for parts of the game with the Cherries fast movement and close control, the Tractor Boys found their way back twice to earn themselves a hard fought draw in what was always going to be a battle. The struggle saw both Callum Wilson and his replacement Tokelo Rantie have to leave the pitch with injuries, the latter on a stretcher which throws into doubt what personnel will start for AFCB up front next week. But it was Yann Kermorgant who sparkled into life with his spectacular opener for Bournemouth in a first 10 minutes that saw Ipswich Town pulled and stretched to all parts of the ground. That Ipswich recovered after a torrid first half for them is perhaps an indication that their promotion prospects are also gaining strength.
Both teams line up.
Team photo pose.
More pictures of the day can be viewed on the Match Day Gallery.

Eddie Howe kept to the team that served him well at Middlesbrough. That seemed to be a correct call from the start as Francis and Pugh linked up to find Arter and then Ritchie in space and his immediate shot thundered against the cross bar in the second minute. Just when Ipswich thought they had got a let off, Francis gathered back the ball on the right and sent in big cross to the middle of the box where Yann Kermorgant shaped himself for a scissor kick and met the cross precisely to send the ball deep into the left corner of the goal as AFCB supporters went wild! Such a start had us wondering if Ipswich were going to be blown away like Birmingham a few weeks earlier.
The captains in the middle.
AFCB did not slow down but accelerated with Yann Kermorgant stretching Ipswich down the left and after an interchange between Surman, Ritchie and Pugh, the ball came to Ritchie in a great position to score but he missed his kick with the ball hitting his standing leg. Cook then played a cultured chip over Paul Anderson to start another AFCB move on nine minutes, up the left with Daniels and Pugh who had a strong shot saved by Bialkowski and Ritchie's follow up was also spectacularly saved. 

It was time to take a breather, because the Cherries had been breath taking up to this point. Cole Skuse and Tommy Smith started to wrestle some possession back and Daryl Murphy began to get a few touches. Ipswich won a free kick on 13 minutes on their right and while Francis cleared and Pugh collided with Kevin Bru, the danger was cleared. The game was settling down with the Cherries winning another corner before Cole Skuse had a shot deflected at the other end for an Ipswich corner. A big warning of Ipswich's aerial power was then shown as Daryl Murphy thumped his header against the bar on 21 minutes.

Nothing was going to slow the Cherries pursuit of the second goal though and Pugh was unlucky to see his shot blocked . Surman and Arter were enjoying quite a lot of supremacy in midfield. It was after the half hour that Skuse started to get more of an influence, but Ipswich were struggling to find any incision in the last third and on one occasion went from Bournemouth's box all the way back to their keeper. 

As we approached 39 minutes, a Cherries' break saw Francis go clear and race up the right before pulling back a cross which was met by a low, stooping, diving header from Andrew Surman, but it was safely handled by Bialkowski. The score could have been levelled then when Cook slipped and McGoldrick stole in down Bournemouth's left to see his effort parried by Boruc for a corner. From the resulting corner, Christophe Berra spotted a powerful header which Boruc had to tip over. There was just time for AFCB to get up the other end and see Pugh's shot saved, but a 1-0 lead at half time was a great position to be in.

Cherries FanCam: Ipswich fans Jane and Dianne
 talk to Cherry Chimes before the match.
AFCB subs at half time.

Chimes FanCam: AFCB fan Noel gives his half time assessment of the Cherries' performance.

Second Half
There were no changes at half time and Ipswich came out playing the stronger. A move down the left with Skuse and Murphy saw the ball centred to Teddy Bishop and while Tommy Elphick tried to reach the ball, with an outstretched leg, it reached Bishop who calmly slotted it home to make the scores 1-1 on 50 minutes. 

Bournemouth regrouped and Matt Ritchie thought he had broken the offside trap. While he sped on and heard the whistle finally go, he still smashed a shot just wide of the goal and was given a yellow card in return. A moment later though the Cherries were smiling again as Callum Wilson took on three players in the box and as he weaved his way deeper into Ipswich's defence his released ball found Matt Ritchie on the six yard box, and after readjusting his feet, he smashed home Bournemouth's second to retake the lead on 54 minutes.

The game seemed calm for a moment as both sides reassessed the situation. Berra picked up a yellow for a block on Wilson. That was about the last action for AFCB's no 13 as he held his hamstring and was subbed for Tokelo Rantie on 62 minutes. The moment that then changed the game came when Rantie was breaking into the box only for two Ipswich defenders to descend upon him and bring him down. Rantie went down in agony as the AFCB fans yelled penalty! Referee Michel Bull though looked away and carried on with the game. It seemed like at least a minute or so more before play was eventually stopped for Rantie to get some medical attention. After some nine minutes he was stretchered off with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

With Brett Pitman replacing Tokelo Rantie on 71 minutes the game began again. The incident did not seem to have affected the players too much and Arter played a good ball to Marc Pugh who shot from just outside the box. Bialkowski made the most unorthodox one handed save low down that I have seen in a long time, but he kept the powerful shot out. A moment later Tyrone Mings was given a yellow card for pushing players away after Ipswich had already been given a free kick. When the ball reached the left wing, Ipswich won another free kick and this one was much nearer to goal. The ball in was headed on by Daryl Murphy who seemed unmarked and the lead had gone again - it was 2-2!

There was only one team though looking to win the game in the last 20 minutes. Ipswich looked content with the draw and so the time wasting began with a few slowly taken throws and no hurry to restart play.

Mings was subbed by Jonathan Parr on 83 minutes, before Ritchie gave Boruc a lively back pass that kept everyone on their toes. Luke Hyman received a yellow for a foul on Pugh, but it wasn't until the 89th minute that AFCB came close to scoring again with Pugh firing wide. A sign of 12 minutes of extra time went up and the Cherries would have yet more chances to win the game. 

Sammon came on for Bishop on 92 minutes and AFCB started to apply more pressure with a corner and when Pitman found Arter in the box, Harry has a good chance but hit it straight at the keeper. McGoldrick also had an attempt fly well over, but Ipswich were hanging on in truth. AFCB created one last golden opportunity when Ritchie played in a cross from the right and Pitman spooned his shot over the bar!
Hand shakes at the end of the game.
Eddie salutes the crowd.
Players in front of the Ipswich fans.
AFCB still delight and frustrate in almost equal measure. Some of the intricate passing today and the control that Surman and Arter had on the game was a virtual strangle hold on Ipswich. Yet, two simple goals undid all the hard work of the Cherries and they have to find ways of stopping giving teams a life line in matches like this. That said it was a good performance and the Cherries look like they have bags of goals in them. On another day they might have won a penalty and I don't think Ipswich would have come back from 3-1 down, but the referee made his decision. Neither side was that enamoured by Mr Bull, but both teams played out a hard fought game and before the game I had predicted a draw. The worry is what kind of condition are Callum Wilson and Tokelo Rantie in now. 

Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh, Wilson (Rantie62, Pitman 71), Kermorgant

Camp, Smith, Rantie, Fraser, Gosling, Stanislas, Pitman

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 7, Francis 7, Elphick 8, Cook 7, Daniels 7, Ritchie 8, Arter 9, Surman 7, Pugh 8, Wilson 7, Kermorgant 8

Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings Booked (Parr 83), Bru (Bishop 17), Skuse, Hyam, Anderson, McGoldrick, Murphy

Referee Rating: Michael Bull 2/10 - let lots go first half then lost the plot second half. A poor performance.
Callum Wilson was still walking around after the match
 so hopefully he just had a dead leg. 
AFCB troop off a point gained.

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