Saturday, 27 December 2014

Irresistible Cherries turn on the style to beat Fulham 0-2

Match Report
AFCB 2 v 0 Fulham
26 December 2014
Attendance 10,926
Tommy Elphick and Scott Parker step up for the captains' coin toss.
This Boxing Day treat was always going to be a great day for either Harry Arter or Scott Parker. As it was, Arter came out the winner in a match that saw AFCB extend their unbeaten league record to 13 games, and truly stamp their authority on what was a confident Fulham side who had been playing well of late, but AFCB's slick passing caused them problems from the start, and in wide areas Fulham could not stem the flow of crosses into their box. It was a bit of a surprise that the first goal came from a corner, as Brett Pitman headed in on nine minutes, but Bournemouth were cutting through Fulham in open play before that, but the Cherries had to be patient for the win which was only secured after a late spectacular goal from Harry Arter who is growing in stature every game.
AFCB kick towards the Ted McDougall stand.
Pre-match AFCB huddle.
Ross McCormack and Bryan Ruiz get set to kick off.
All ready to go.
More pictures can be viewed on Match Day Gallery

Eddie Howe made no changes from the Blackpool match with Pitman starting and designated penalty taker for the Cherries. Scott Parker was selected by Fulham to lead their side and he would have a scrap with Bournemouth's Harry Arter for 90 minutes and I was intrigued to see who would come out on top. Fulham looked to match AFCB by setting up 4-4-2 and with experienced strikers such as Bryan Ruiz and Hugo Rodellega,  as well as Ross McCormack, I expected a busy day for Tommy Elphick and Steve Cook in the heart of AFCB's defence. The misty, rolling, rain wasn't going to make it easy either.

Cherries Chimes' FanCam: Clive and Harry give a pre-match view as Fulham fans.

AFCB started the match with plenty of attacking intent as Callum Wilson forced Marcus Bettinelli into a first minute save as his shot deflected off of Lasse Vigen Christensen. Fulham's first attack saw Ross McCormack flagged offside. Seko Fofana was stretching his long legs in midfield but showed some anger when Pitman fouled him on five minutes. Fulham might have been fired up, but it was AFCB that were passing with precision. AFCB also won a free kick, but took it too quickly when it was in a good shooting position on the edge of the D.  Pitman then fired a shot over when he should have made the keeper work!

The pressure was building though and Callum Wilson looked like he would get the break though as he shot inside the box, but the shot was some how deflected and went out for a corner. Pitman then ran straight to the near post and made a glancing header that put the Cherries 1-0 up on 10 minutes! It had been another lightening start from the team in red and black shirts. 

Daniels and Pugh were enjoying their time on the left wing and were really testing Fulham's Grimmer. It looked like AFCB would go two up on 14 minutes with a ball into Wilson, but the flag went up for offside. Daniels conceded the first corner for Fulham on 18 minutes, but Francis won the first header and while the ball bobbled around in the box, Artur Boruc raced out to grab the ball at Rodellega's feet.

Bournemouth kept forcing the pace and Callum Wilson took another shot that Bittinelli was able to cling on to easily enough as it hit him right in the midriff. Francis put in crosses that Wilson was not able to stretch far enough for, while Pugh on the other wing was tricking his way past defenders with ease. Pitman won a free kick on 25 minutes on the edge of the box and it gave Ritchie a chance to test the Fulham keeper which he did, making him dive down low to his left. Although the ball spilled out, AFCB could not take advantage of the loose ball and Fulham cleared.

Bournemouth were well on top but were not finding it easy to get the second goal. On a rare incursion into Bournemouth's half Staffylidis saw his shot go high and wide with Boruc a spectator. At the other end we were calling for Francis to shoot when he made a darting run towards the goal, but he chose the wrong option by passing to Wilson who ran out too wide. 

Pugh was then seen hobbling after he was caught on the edge of the box, but when Ritchie took the free kick it was high and wide of the left post. The chances kept coming though and Arter was next to blast over on 34 minutes, having seen Surman, Daniels and Pugh carve out the opening.

Fulham won a few headers in the centre of the field off of Bryan Ruiz, but they were struggling to get a grip on the game. Fleeting glimpses of Ross McCormack were not enough to worry AFCB's back four while Surman and Arter were controlling the pace of the game. The scoreline of 1-0 at half time was the least that the Cherries deserved on their play.

Cherry Chimes' FanCam: AFCB fan Peter Gill tells us how the match is going at half time.

Second Half
Some one must have said something to Ross McCormack at half time, because he suddenly looked a threat. He came out and had an early shot that went wide across the box. Bournemouth's reply was immediate though when Wilson was pushed over by Grimmer in the box and won a penalty on 49 minutes! Bodruov argued for some time but Pitman took the ball and put it on the spot. I was praying that Pitman would shoot right having seen his two penalties last game that both went to the keeper's left. Bettinelli was bound to have known that and yet Brett hit his shot again to the left, and Bettinelli had surely done his homework and made the save down to his left! In the race for the ball, the follow up was missed by Callum Wilson and Fulham had escaped. 

The incident seemed to gavlanise Fulham who started keeping the ball better and Cook and Ritchie were having to defend well in front of Rodellega. This was a storm that Bournemouth would have to now get though. Fulham were coming on strong now and Seko Fofana was next to shoot over on 57 minutes, before a short corner saw him shoot wide. A distance shot then came in from Scott Parker that was deflected only just wide of Bournemouth's right post.  This was Fulham's best spell, but they just could not get a shot on target for Boruc to do any work.

After a short corner from AFCB there was a shout of handball, but referee Keith Stroud was not about to give AFCB another kick from 12 yards. Fulham were just seeing all their efforts go wide and Jack Grimmer could only add to that statistic.

Fulham tried to change things by subbing Lasse Vigen Christensen for George Williams on 65 minutes. Bournemouth were still creating chances though and Daniels played Pitman through only for Brett to shoot wide on 70 minutes. AFCB started to take the sting out of the game and were looking more comfortable even though their lead was just by a slender goal as we entered the last 15 minutes. Fulham brought on Patrick Roberts for Bryan Ruiz.

There was a bit of laughter when Harry Arter hit a shot straight at Scott Parker, although the two just carried on with the game. Pitman was shown a yellow card moments later for shadowing and eventually blocking Bittinelli's kick. However, time was running out for Fulham and Ritchie almost killed the game with a shot from the right wing that flashed past Fulham's left post at speed. Pitman was then subbed for Gosling on 85 minutes and Fulham took Rodellega off to allow Cauley Woodrow on. A moment of anxiety than took place as Williams ran towards the box and went sprawling on the ground! Pleasingly, the referee decided it was simulation and the yellow card was handed out to Williams.

The smiles were even wider two minutes later when Harry Arter picked up the ball on half way and tore towards the Fulham goal. He fainted to look to get a pass off to Wilson before cutting back inside and released a low, powerful drive from the edge of the box that beat Bettinellli and nestled in the bottom right corner of Fulham's net - game over 2-0!
Eddie Howe soaked up what extra time there was by putting on firstly Yann Kermorgant for Wilson and then Adam Smith for Matt Ritchie.
2-0 was a smaller margin of victory than it might have been.
Fulham and AFCB players at the end of the match.
Full time at the Goldsands Stadium.
Time to get out of the rain.
I believe the penny is starting to drop for rival supporters. AFCB need to be taken seriously. This is not a small team that is lucky to be leading the Championship, but a cleverly moulded and well organised side that are taking out teams with larger budgets by their overall game. At times in this match the passing was sublime against a hard working Fulham side. It was not a poor performance by Fulham, they battled and gave it their all having been outplayed in the first half, but AFCB just kept coming at them, just like the persistent rain. Even a missed Cherries penalty was not enough to see Fulham recover charge of the game for long and the final score of 2-0 was no less than the Cherries deserved for a very professional performance that keeps them top of the league. Fulham will have to reflect on a whole 90 minutes and not one shot on target from their team.

Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Smith 93), Arter, Surman, Pugh, Pitman (Golsing 86), Wilson (Kermorgant 93)

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

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 8, Elphick 7, Cook 8, Daniels 8, Ritchie 7, Arter 8, Surman 8, Pugh 8, Pitman 8, Wilson 7

Bettinelli, Grimmer, Bodurov, Hutchinson, Stafylidis, Parker, Christensen (Williams 66), Fofana, (Roberts - 80), Rodallega (Woodrow 87), McCormack

Fulham Subs
Kiraly, Zverotic, Roberts, Woodrow, Williams, Hyndman, Burn

Keith Stroud 7/10 - not too many contentious issues to deal with.

Finally, if you are at a loose end today and had enough of the sales, I believe Wimborne Town are playing Bashley at 3pm in what should be a good local game. Wimborne really need a big crowd today. Chairperson Paula Henley has promised to donate £500 to the charity LEAF if the gate passes 750. See Wimborne site for prices.

No comments:

Post a Comment