Sunday, 30 November 2014

Cherries stunned by Millwall's second half comeback 2-2

Match Report
AFCB 2 v 2 Millwall
29 November 2014
Attendance: 10,016

Ian Holloway signs some programmes for fans at Dean Court.
Chimes' FanCam: we speak to Millwall fans Bobby and Jimmy 
prematch to get their take on the Lions ahead 
of the game. (Sorry Jimmy that I did not get you more in shot!)

Everything was set up for AFCB to go top of the table on this day and the early play of the Cherries brought their rewards with early first half goals from Steve Cook and Brett Pitman. However, it turned out to be a fragile lead that was soon wiped clear by a Millwall side who are becoming renowned for their fighting spirit and excellent comebacks. Whether it was Ian Holloway's good tactical substitutions or the Cherries ability to lose their way is difficult to explain, as both probably combined move the balance of play, and once Ed Upson had pulled one back from the Lions the writing was on the wall that an equaliser would come. It was even more painful to see Brett Pitman and Junior Stanislas manage to mess up a chance to kill the game at 2-1 when through on David Forde, but Millwall took their chance on 88 minutes and it's now three draws in a row for AFCB as they slip to fourth in the table.
AFCB get ready to take on the Lions.
AFCB players encourage each other.
Millwall players seem more interested in inspecting the turf.
More pictures are on the Match Day Gallery.

The only change in AFCB's starting line up was Brett Pitman coming in for the injured Callum Wilson, while on the bench in came O'Kane and Cargill. The big question was how well  would AFCB play with less pace up front?

The first 10 minutes saw the teams test each other out with Steve Cook going closest on eight minutes with a header from a corner that flew just wide. Much of the play for both teams was getting cut out in the last third. David Forde was very good at racing out ahead of Kermorgant as temporary sweeper, but AFCB did not have the speed up front to make the most of such opportunities, while Pitman was exercising the assistant referee's flag that waved impatiently for an offside. Millwall were also clamping down on Bournemouth's pacey runners and Ritchie caught an unfair challenge early on.

Andrew Surman was also handing out heavy tackles and took Lee Martin down, although no foul was given. The Cherries played on and won a corner much to Ian Holloway's annoyance on the touchline. The corner on 16 minutes found Harry Arter who played it back to Matt Ritchie and he fired in a rasping, curling shot from the edge of the box that just skimmed over the top left corner of Millwall's goal!

Martin had to be subbed having not recovered from his earlier struggle with Surman and on came Jermaine Easter on 20 minutes. The Cherries could have taken the lead moments later when Ritchie sent Francis on one of his galloping runs down the right and the cross was met by Yann Kermorgant header which was powerful but too high and over the bar! The Cherries were getting on top and Francis played another ball into the box that Pitman headed down and forced Forde to make a save that went out for a corner. The ball came right out to Daniels who played a long ball back in that Pitman headed down in the box, so that Surman could put in a cross that let Steve Cook to head home, on the far post, and make it 1-0 on 22 minutes.

Things were even better moments later when Ritchie on the right wing threaded a ball into Pitman in the box and the forward's diagonal run towards the near post was rewarded with the ball at his feet, and with a quick turn he reversed the angle of the ball that swept the ball past the onrushing David Forde to make it 2-0 on 25 minutes. Job done? 

Millwall's despair became even more amusing for the fans of the Cherries when Scott MacDonald was presented with a good chance on the edge of Bournemouth's box but his shot was blocked by Jermaine Easter who could not get out of the way! A corner a little later also saw Woolford shoot wide.

AFCB were also having directional problems with a Ritchie effort almost going out for a throw. AFCB were passing well though with Surman, Kermorgant and Pugh linking well only for Pugh to be given offside. Another shot saw Simon Francis hit the side netting on 33 minutes. Upson was given a yellow card for a foul on Daniels and Scott Malone was also given one moments afterwards for a foul on Ritchie. It was all falling apart for the Lions or so it seemed at the time.
Cherry Bear bangs out the drum.
The players com back on after half time.
Second Half
Millwall had started to pass the ball better at the latter part of the first half and when we saw Ricardo Fuller was on for Mark Beevers, it was no surprise that Fuller went for an early shot that went over. Woolford won a free kick on 50 minutes and and while the ball was cleared for a corner, Fuller again tried his luck with a shot that went wide.

The signs were there that this was not going to be an easy match for the Cherries to coast home in. With Kermorgant now getting caught off side when he could have timed his run a bit better things started to get worse with Pugh getting a yellow card for a needless push on Dunne. The omens were even less optimistic when the scoreboard reset itself to 1 minute after the hour mark. 

The substitute of Pugh for Stanislas on 61 minutes did not turn the pattern of play as Junior did not seem to get into the pace of the game. Millwall were really coming at AFCB now and a corner off Cook gave them a chance. Luckily Ed Upson's shot was straight at Boruc and safely held by him. Alan Dunne was next to force a save from Boruc and from the corner Webster and Williams both tried to get a header in but the ball went wide.

Under such pressure, Howe brought on O'Kane for Arter on 65 minutes. Bournemouth could slow down the game a bit when they won a free kick on the edge of the box on 72 minutes but Kermorgant's studied chip went well over without trouble Forde.

Kermorgant had a bit of a lash out at Dunne which luckily none of the officials saw, but as play went on Easter crossed a looped ball from the right wing for Ed Upson to pull a goal back for Millwall on 75 minutes. Holloway really went for it now bringing on Magaye Gueye for Martyn Woolford. It was an inspired move. 

AFCB took off Yann Kermorgant to bring Ryan Fraser on up front. Elphick was doing his best along with Cook at keeping Millwall out, but Boruc had to make another save from Fuller on 84 minutes. Webster received a yellow for a foul on Fraser, but Millwall were really pushing AFCB back now. A corner on 85 minutes saw them go close again with Boruc almost taking the ball over the line, but the breakaway should have sealed the game for Bournemouth. Instead, Fraser's crafted pass into Pitman and Stanislas saw the two go clear only for Pitman to pass to Stanislas instead of shooting past Forde, and while Stanislas brushed the ball into the net, he knew he was offside!

The ball was straight back up the other end  and Fuller saw his header tipped over. From the corner Dunne's attempt was deflected off Stanislas and the bar! But the Cherries could not hold out and one more cross from the right wing left Elphick on the floor and Gregory fired in a shot that hit Cook on the arm at speed. The referee did not blow his whistle, but the ball came out to the substitute Gueye to drive the ball into the corner of the net to make it 2-2 on 88 minutes! Millwall's players and fans went wild. It had been coming a long while.

Four minutes of extra time saw AFCB go forward in the kind of positive style you wish they had been able to do earlier in the second half. Still, there was to be no more goals and it was only a point for the Cherries for the second week in a row at home.
Deja vu with last weeks score.
Disappointment for the Cherries but a point on the board.
AFCB simply lost their way. They were so comfortable in the first half it was untrue. All credit though to Millwall who fired themselves up for the second half and put plenty of crosses in Bournemouth's box. This draw felt more like a defeat than the 2-2 draw against Ipswich, because Millwall had not been in the game in the first 45 minutes. A late equaliser was what they worked hard for though and some of AFCB's players have to now think why they invited so much pressure on to them in the second half, while the most of the AFCB fans are still shaking their heads over Pitman's error to pass to Sranislas rather than to shoot at goal when it was 2-1.
Eddie Howe and JT.
Loads of security on the pitch.

Millwall fans in good voice.

Ollie pleased with his lads' work.
Boroc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh, Pitman, Kermorgant.

Camp, Smith, Gosling, Fraser, Stanislas, Cargill, O'Kane

AFCB Ratings
Boroc 6, Francis 8, Elphick 6, Cook 6, Daniels 7, Ritchie 6, Arter 6 (O'Kane 65), Surman 8, Pugh 7 (Stanislas 61), Pitman 6, Kermorgant 6 (Fraser 78).

Millwall Forde, Dunne, Webster, Beevers (Fuller 45 ), Malone, Williams, Upson, Martin (Easter 20), McDonald, Woolford (Gueye 76), Gregory

Millwall Subs
Shittu, Easter, Gueye, Fuller, Powell, Martรญnez, King

Ref Watch: Andy Davies 5/10 reasonable performance, let a lot go in the second half.

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