Sunday, 7 December 2014

Wolves see red twice as Cherries' run continues 1-2

Match Report

Wolves 1 v 2 AFCB
6 December 2014
Attendance: 20,196 (including 1828 AFCB fans)
AFCB and Wolves players are led out.
The undefeated run goes on for the Cherries, but not without a bit of help with two sendings off at Molineux. Once again the physicality of the Championship threatened to take the game away from AFCB for much of this game, yet somehow the team found the belief to hang in the match and then open up the Wolves’ defence when they had gone a man light. Artur Boruc made a string of saves to keep the score at 1-0 when Wolves could have made their dominance count. However, Harry Arter proved the inspiration to first the Cherries level in the second half smashing a low shot past the Wolves’ keeper from the edge of the box. From that moment on it was just a question of whether the Cherries could stretch Wolves further in the last 15 minutes and eventually the pressure told as Matt Ritchie powered in the winner on 85 minutes.
Wolves' flag bearers were hard at work.
A minutes' silence was held to commemorate the footballers involved in World War I.
Eddie Howe made just one change to the starting line up with Yann Kermorgant being moved to the bench and Brett Pitman winning another start. Wolves made four changes as they sought to end their barren win-less run of four games.

More pictures on Match Day Gallery.

Wolves started the brighter as well with Bakaray Sako keeping Francis very busy on the left wing as early as the second minute. Boruc was quick to clasp his hands on to the ball for the first of many crosses he was to intercept. On five minutes Sako was at it again and Francis saw the ball out for the first corner. Danny Batth met the ball with a header but his effort went wide.

AFCB were finding it difficult to get their passing accuracy going with Ritchie and Pitman losing the ball. Wolves looked far more threatening in attack with Rajiv van La Parra proving a good match up against Daniels on Wolves’ right wing. A foul on van La Parra by Tommy Elphick presented a chance for Sako to get in a cross that Elphick half cleared before James Henry had a shot that Boruc saved really well to his left.

The game was livening up and on the break Wilson found Ritchie to see AFCB’s first shot cause Ikeme to make a save. The teams were still finding each other out with 10 minutes gone. Ritchie was again involved in a race for the ball three minutes later which Ikeme won. With AFCB getting hold of the ball though the tackles were starting to come in thick and fast and Wilson was up ended in the middle of the park. The referee played on and Pitman tried to make something of the move when he shot over.

A momentary lapse of concentration caused Surman to lose the ball and Matt Doherty passed to Iorfa who shot well enough for Boruc to spill the shot, but van La Parra could not make anything of the opportunity. Wolves were still pressing though and Sako was found in the box but could not get a shot away and van La Parra also saw a shot blocked. Kevin MacDonald then forced another Wolves corner when his shot was deflected off of Charlie Daniels. Things were looking grim at this point for the Cherries with Tommy Elphick making a sliding block on a shot from James Henry, after Pitman had lost the ball.

Even on the break after the resultant corner Wilson put a ball out too wide for Pugh to get hold of. What did relieve the pressure for a moment was a foul by Batth on Pugh after 23 minutes. But Wolves were soon back with Elphick misjudging a high ball that allowed van La Parra to have a shot that Boruc saved. That seemed to release the shackles as first Pugh had a shot blocked and a volley go sideways, before Ritchie recovered the ball and Arter had a solid shot blocked. There was also a shout for a handball on Dave Edwards but nothing was given. Arter also found himself in the book after half an hour for a late tackle on James Henry.

Wolves came back with a run down the left and Sako passed to Edwards who saw his shot go wide. AFCB were starting to play keep ball a bit more now though. That pattern was broken up when van La Parra crossed for Graham to head, who made Boruc make a fabulous save to put the ball over from close range. AFCB’s reply saw an effort from Wilson go over on 39 minutes, but Wolves were getting stronger as the half drew to a close, and a cross from James Henry, on the left, saw Graham glance the ball back ahead of Steve Cook and past Boruc, and low off the far post, to give Wolves the lead on 41 minutes, 1-0!

It had been a scrappy half but Wolves were deservedly ahead and Eddie Howe had to do some magic at half time to turn this one around.

Time to get the second half underway.
Second half

Bournemouth started much better in the second half. Pitman was fouled by Richard Stearman who was give a yellow card. Ritchie took the kick but Ikeme made a good save to his left. A few moments later Daniels also got given a yellow card for a foul on James Henry.

The next AFCB action saw Wilson win a corner and Cook charged at the ball but could not control it. The real talking point of the half came on 59 minutes when Cook went down holding his face. It all seemed surprising to me as it just seemed like two players colliding in the middle of the park, but
van La Parra was said to lead with his elbow. Having seen the replay a few times it looks like van La Parra went into the challenge with a bent arm and that blow was more of a head impact with van La Parra touching his head afterwards. The referee was in no doubt though. He did not like the challenge. It was a straight red! Cook was motionless for a while and his head took the full impact of the challenge, but he was able to continue. It was a disaster for Wolves as he had been their best player. The game was now there to be won for the Cherries and they went about their work with much more determination. Ritchie was the first to see his looping header fall wide of the post. Wilson too came close when scrambling for the ball in the box.

Wolves were the ones playing on the break now with James Henry volleying over. AFCB made a sub then on 68 minutes with Smith coming on for Daniels at left back. Smith immediately saw a chance to get involved shooting into the side netting. Wilson was having more of a difficult day getting crowded out in the box as soon as he received the ball. His day was perhaps easier than Cook’s though as he was getting booed by the home crowd after the sending off incident. Cook actually had a shot that went over on 69 minutes as he tried to get the equaliser. A minute or two later though, Yann Kermorgant came on for Pugh and after some good work between Yann and Francis and a final ball from Surman, Harry Arter took aim with his left peg from the edge of the box to get the equaliser after a slight deflection - 1-1.  Harry's celebration said it all running over to the Lower Steve Bull stand to slide in front of the away supporters - 
Game on!

So AFCB had a further 17 minutes or so to win the game. Wolves immediate reaction was to replace Henry with Jacobs. Francis was now bombing forward at every opportunity and the action was a bit too frantic as Ritchie tried a cross that was wildly miss hit. There was a shout for a handball on Jacobs moments later but this was not going to be an easy game to win. That was underlined when Yann Kermorgant headed over from six yards. Cook also had an effort that went high and wide after a corner.

Graham was subbed in the last 10 minutes for Liam McAlinden. AFCB pressed forward in the final 10 minutes and got their reward when there was a mass scramble in front of Wolves goal with Francis playing the ball into Pitman and Elphick who were still in the box, Elphick passed further back to Ritchie who blasted to the keeper's left but Ikeme made a great save low down. The danger was still there though with Francis lofting the ball back in this time to Pitman who headed to Wilson. Callum so nearly scored from his header then but it was cleared off the line by Stearman's acrobatics, but after Wilson's persistence winning another header the ball was punched by Ikeme only into the path of Matt Ritchie who fired the ball downwards, through a mass of players, and into the net to make the score 1-2.

Wolves made a last change with Sako coming off for Leon Clarke, but the game had gone for Wolves. With five minutes of extra time though they still had one more indignity to suffer as Matt Doherty was red carded for up ending Pitman with a studs showing challenge, right in front of the referee. The final action saw Callum Wilson be replaced by Dan Gosling before the referee blew his final whistle.
AFCB - comeback kings against Wolves.
This was an away win that will fill all the players with fortitude. 
AFCB reinforce their high position in the league and climb to third.

The first sending off changed the game’s complexion. Whether AFCB would have won this game with Wolves keeping 11 players on the pitch is doubtful in my mind, but the extra man gave AFCB the space they needed to work the goals to win the game. While AFCB had plenty of time to win the game they still found it tough work against another physical side and somehow they have to find a way of keeping more possession of the ball if they are to limit the impact that such sides have on these kind of games. Having said that it was a terrific morale boosting win and could well be another defining moment in the season to win at a ground that is one of the most difficult to come to and still get a result at. Wolves fans will complain about the sendings off, but the game still needed finishing and AFCB’s players knew exactly how to do that. I am not sure they would have been able to do that in such a match last season.

Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels (Smith 68), Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh (Kermorgant 73), Pitman, Wilson (Gosling 97)

AFCB SubsCamp, Gosling, Smith, Kermorgant, Stanislas, Fraser, O'Kane

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 8, Francis 9, Elphick 7, Cook 7, Daniels 6, Ritchie 7, Arter 8, Surman 7, Pugh 6, Pitman 5, Wilson 6

Ikeme, Iorfa, Batth, Stearman, Doherty Dismissed, McDonald, Edward, van La Parra, Henry (Jacobs 74) Sako (Clarke 87), Graham (McAlinden 83)
Ref Watch: Mike Jones 6/10 - brave red card decisions. I think the first was harsh but Doherty was less likely to stay on the pitch with his challenge.

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