Monday, 29 December 2014

Cherries make short work of Millwall 0-2 (videos)

Match Report
Millwall 0 v 2 AFCB
28 December 2014
Attendance: 10,407
Danny Shittu and Tommy Elphick contest the coin toss.
The fixture calendar put Bournemouth up against Millwall again with only a month since the previous meeting. This game was far different though from the draw at Dean Court. Since then AFCB have learned how to put games to bed and are masterfully going about their business to try and win the league. There was never much doubt that AFCB would extend their league unbeaten record to 14 games, but for Eddie Howe to see a consecutive match where the opposition did not even have a shot on target must give him a lot of pleasure. Ian Holloway felt that Millwall did not get the key decisions to go their way, but they were also out played.

Cherry Chimes' FanCam: AFCB fans Jack and Jamie give their pore-match thoughts

AFCB players run out.
Bournemouth prepare to face the Lions.
More pictures can be viewed on the Match Day Gallery.

In truth, AFCB hardly got out of third gear. The cold weather perhaps took some bite out of their play, but their quality on the ball was in clear evidence and Millwall gifted them a lead with a spot kick, even though Millwall fans can rightly argue that the challenge was just outside the box. Once Yann Kermorgant dispatched the penalty, Bournemouth looked good value to extend their lead and Harry Arter duly obliged with his fifth goal in his last five matches.

Not even the appearance of Ricardo Fuller after half time was going to give Ian Holloway an escape clause this time. It says a lot that arguably Millwall's best player was the debutant Sid Nelson who had the unenviable task of keeping Callum Wilson quiet for 90 minutes. That he managed it is great credit to him, while Scott McDonald worked tirelessly in an effort to keep Millwall in the game. But it wasn't enough. In fact, the demise of Millwall was a formality after 80 minutes when Shaun Williams was given the red card having tussled with Callum Wilson and then stamped his foot at the Bournemouth striker. It was just a question of whether the Cherries were going to be able to score more or not in the time remaining. In the event a four point lead will bring much cheer to the south coast as AFCB go into 2015 on top of the Championship, even if Ipswich win against Charlton on Tuesday.

The starting line up
Eddie Howe made two changes to the Boxing Day team with Yann Kermorgant and Adam Smith coming in for Brett Pitman and Marc Pugh. It was also great to see Tokelo Rantie back fit and among the subs. Just like last season Adam Smith had won a start at Millwall's ground but I wonder if he wished he hadn't after a few minutes when the challenges start to come in at him one after another as an ex-Lion.

First Half
While we were still singing "We're Top of the League," Callum Wilson had already won a free kick right in front of goal and Yann Kermorgant gave David Forde his first job of the day as he bent the ball to the right around the wall, forcing Forde to save down low to his left. Moments later Arter was to win a free kick for a foot up in the face - happy birthday Harry! Welcome to the game.

Artur Boruc soon had to deal with a cross from Martyn Woolford on the right and while he dropped it, referee David Coote gave a foul as Scott McDonald and Lee Martin challenged. Boruc would be glad to be involved at this point because he did not have a great deal to do for the rest of the match. While the kept being stopped for free kicks, Danny Shittu picked up the first yellow card on 12 minutes for a foul on Adam Smith - no surprise there. A few boos for Smith followed from the home supporters.

AFCB's own favourite boo boy on the day, Scott Malone put in a powerfully driven cross that Cook some how managed to clear for a corner ahead of Boruc. Millwall could not keep any pressure on for long though.

A curious incident happened around the 20 minute mark when Harry Arter went down in the centre circle and Callum Wilson chased down David Forde right at the other end of the pitch. Wilson claimed that the ball had come off Forde for a corner and it was not clear what the referee would do as the assistant referee was on the other side of the pitch and probably did not see clearly either. The decision was a drop ball on the goal line but 10m or so to the left of the goal. Millwall fans were up in arms as they wanted a goal kick, but Yann Kermorgant soon lost the ball having won the initial drop ball.

A slight hands in face moment occurred soon after when Tommy Elphick inexplicably gave the ball away on the half way line, leaving the Cherries wide open. Lee Martin had the chance to make the most of the incident, but Artur Boruc sprung out of his box like Usane Bolt to clear any danger. A quick apology from Elphick followed. 

Not to worry. Daniels burst up the edge of the box on the left side drew a mistimed challenge from Lee Martin and the referee pointed towards the spot. On watching replays it certainly looked like the foul was outside the box, but from the other end of the ground Bournemouth fans could not see much apart from Daniels going down. Yann Kermorgant's big moment had arrived and, on 32 minutes, the French forward confidently struck the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal to make it 0-1 to the Cherries!

AFCB fans reaction to Yann Kermorgant's goal.

Millwall did not help their cause when Wilkinson and Forde were given yellow cards shortly after. Things got better even for AFCB on 42 minutes when Callum Wilson squared a ball from the right to Harry Arter in the box. Even though the ball got stuck under his feet, Harry had time enough to spin round having received the ball with his back to goal and he buried the chance from little more than 7 yards out - 0-2 to AFCB.

If anything all this did was intensify Millwall's ambition to deal out some treatment to Adam Smith who went head over heels from a Lee Gregory challenge. I wondered if Adam Smith might even be subbed at half time just so that he did not have to endure anymore fouls.
Half time zorbing fun - the Cherries even won this as well.

Cherry Chimes' Fancam: Michael Dunne of All Departments gives his view at half time.
Second Half 
Ricardo Fuller came on in the second half as Ollie tried to do a repeat comeback of the game at Dean Court from 0-2 down. At least it meant we would see the offside flag be put to use as Ricardo did not take long to stray. While Adam Smith had been kept on he picked up a yellow card himself for a foul on Sid Nelson. Millwall were doing their best to get amongst the AFCB players and on 54 minutes, Lee Gregory missed a great chance to get a header in on target after a superb cross from Nadjum Abdou just inside the right corner of AFCB's penalty box.

Lee Martin was replaced by Magaye Gueye on 56 minutes, while Kermorgant made way for Dan Gosling on 58 minutes. It looked like Eddie Howe was content to play five in midfield and just stop Millwall from getting a foothold now. Ritchie was still looking to play killer passes though and he found Smith on one of his Mazey runs, but Nelson did just enough to make Adam shoot over.  

Scott McDonald fouled Daniels once too often and received a yellow with around 65 minutes gone. Blocking shots were now order of the day for Millwall as Arter and Wilson tried to extend the lead. Danny Shittu had not had a great game and had been jeered every time he booted the ball out into touch, which was pretty much every time some one passed to him. But his game was over on 67 minutes and Dunne replaced him. AFCB replaced Smith soon after for Marc Pugh - I doubt Smith was that displeased to come off after his day. Pugh immediately made an impact by offering a great chance for Dan Gosling, but Dan shot agonisingly wide of the left post. Pugh tried to claim a corner by putting the ball down there, but kicked it away when he realised it was going to be a goal kick, much to the annoyance of Millwall fans.

Francis provided a good chance for Wilson to score with a header on 78 minutes but he could not get a clean header in with two defenders either side of him. Scott Malone tried a more spectacular volley from wide out on the left which he sliced into the crowd at the other end. "That's why you're going down," was the shouts from the Upper North stand.

Millwall's game was virtually over then when Shaun Williams was red carded, having struggled with Wilson. Wilson had lifted Williams into the air as he got up and Williams then reacted with by trying to stamp on Wilson's foot with Ritchie in close attendance. Wilson was also given a yellow card for the incident.
The game resumed with Gosling setting up Ritchie with a chance that he hit right at Forde and later in a good AFCB spell, first Gosling, and then Ritchie saw their shots blocked just inside the penalty area. The last few minutes saw Ryan Fraser come on and replace Matt Ritchie. Fraser had one good opportunity to shoot right on full time but shot wide. Four minutes of extra time saw Wilson and Pugh have shots blocked before Arter had a golden opportunity to score right in front of goal but he hit his shot over!
Harry Arter had a great birthday.
Francis claps the fans.
David Forde and Tommy Elphick after the match.
AFCB are top at the end of 2014. 

It was a descent, professional performance by AFCB. Wins are coming as regular as clockwork now and even if they did not get a full head up of steam it was more than enough to dispatch a Millwall side that had a lack of a goal threat all match. At least Millwall contested every ball which is something that Holloway would expect as a minimum. Bournemouth can play better, but even on this evidence they are in a winning groove now. Listening to TalkSport after the game Stan Collymore announced that "Eddie Howe's Bournemouth was headed for the Premier League," in a surprised voice but there was nothing surprising about this result. It was a comfortable win.

AFC Bournemouth
Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Fraser 88), Surman, Arter, Smith (Pugh 69), Kermorgant (Gosling 58), Wilson Booked

Camp, Gosling, Pugh, Rantie, Pitman, Fraser, Cargill

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 8, Elphick 7, Cook 7, Daniels 8, Ritchie 7, Surman 8, Arter 8, Smith 7, Kermorgant 6, Wilson 7

Forde, Wilkinson, (Fuller 45), Shittu (Dunne 67), Nelson, Malone, Williams, Abdou, Martin (Gueye - 56), McDonald, Woolford, Gregory

Millwall Subs
Dunne, Easter, Upson, Beevers, Gueye, Fuller, King

Referee: David Coote - 2/10 a few strange decisions and he got the big penalty decision wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment