Sunday, 11 January 2015

Jerome's special strike silences Cherries 1-2 (videos)

Match report
AFCB 1 v 2 Norwich City
Attendance: 11, 318
10 January 2014
AFCB v Norwich: the captains.

Soak up the atmosphere as the players get ready to start the game.

AFCB's unbeaten league run had to come to an end at some point. It was a special Carmeron Jerome finish from outside the box that landed only AFCB's third home defeat of the season. Up until that moment, in the 80th minute, it appeared that a draw was going to be hard earned for the Cherries who had gone ahead through a Matt Ritchie strike in the first half and had seen their lead wiped out by Gary Hooper's smashed in equaliser in the first half, following a corner with what seemed a clear handball by Michael Turner to Harry Arter and others in the AFCB side that was not seen by the match officials. Even when Norwich were reduced to 10 players for a sliding foul by Johnny Howson on Yann Kermorgant, Camerone Jerome showed just why he is a highly rated striker with a finish that deserved to win a game. It was just a shame for the Cherries that could not find an answer to break down the Canaries after they had such an opportunity to play against 10 men for half an hour.
A cold windy day, but AFCB look to put on a performance at home.
Norwich City prepare for kick off.
More photos can be viewed on Match Day Gallery.

The team Eddie Howe picked only saw two changes from the previous league match at Millwall with Brett Pitman and Marc Pugh returning to the side. Yann Kermorgant was among the substitutes and wore a black armband in respect to the fallen fellow French citizens who lost their lives from terrorist attacks in the week.

On Norwich's bench sat Lewis Grabban who was destined not to make an appearance on the pitch on the day and Mike Phelan and Gary Holt were marshaling the side until the second half when Alex Neil, the new manager, could be seen willing his side on in the dugout for the victory.

Norwich were keen to start well and played with lots of spirit right from the start. Their five-man midfield stifled any control that the Cherries might have tried to get and Alexander Tetty, Gary Hooper and Bradley Johnson were fierce in the tackle and set the tone for the other Norwich players to follow. Bradley Johnson had the first real attempt when he headed a cross from Alexander Tetty over the bar. Norwich were playing a high line and pressing well, but the Cherries looked dangerous on the break with Charlie Daniels always trying to find Callum Wilson in the clear.

However, it was Norwich that were in a hurry to get things moving and after seven minutes Alexander Tetty had a shot deflected for a corner. While Ritchie cleared the ball from the corner Arter played a good ball through to Wilson who shot wide on 10 minutes

Norwich were preventing Francis from getting on his usual runs and Johnson, Turner and Hooper were cutting down space all the time. Martin Olsson was then shown a yellow card for a foul on Harry Arter. Bournemouth had not really created much up until this time when some possession by Arter and Ritchie progressed to Francis and Elphick, before Surman and Arter got on the ball to pick out Pugh on the left wing and his cross was just a shade too high for Pitman who was under pressure, but fell beautifully into the running path of Matt Ritchie who met the cross with a deadly finish that gave John Ruddy no chance in the Norwich goal. It was normal service resumed - the Cherries were one up with 18 minutes on the clock!

Norwich replied with a lot of possession around AFCB's box but Tommy Elphick and others were getting their blocks in and fending off immediate threats. Andrew Surman was having the odd misplaced pass in midfield, but Pugh was beginning to get more on the ball and he had a snap volley that went just over on 24 minutes.

Bournemouth fans chanted "Callum Wilson, he's better than you!" while Lewis Grabban warmed up on the touch line and as well as receiving some initial boos, AFCB fans also clapped the former Bournemouth star. The passing on the field was not really accurate or coming alive at this stage with over hit balls and lots of quick turnovers in possession. Norwich made a good chance though on the half hour when Cameron Jerome used a quick turn in the box, beating Francis and Artur Boruc had to be astute to save the ball with his legs low down for a corner. Jerome then chested a ball down to Johnny Howson who blazed over from close range. Norwich were getting closer!

AFCB replied with a shot from Marc Pugh but Ruddy was not being tested that much. On 35 minutes, Norwich were back in Bournemouth's half and having won two corners the second one, following Jerome's header, landed in the six yard box and the AFCB players seemed to stop expecting the assistant referee and referee to recognise a handball in the penalty area by a Norwich player, but no whistle or flag came and Gary Hooper pounced to equalise from close in. While Harry Arter led the protests their was no change of heart from the officials.

The period from then up to half time saw AFCB trying to regain control. Surman and Arter were feeding Ritchie and Pugh but the solid shape of Norwich was proving very difficult to get around. Turner and Howson were chief tormentors, fouling when they had to if it meant stopping AFCB from finding their rhythm. It was all very effective. Marc Pugh did venture into the box at one point but stumbled rather than shot the ball straight to John Ruddy. So it was all even at 1-1 at half time.

Jamie and Keith give their view pre-match as Norwich fans.

AFCB subs at half time.
The second half is underway.
Second half
We all hoped that Eddie Howe would work out a way of getting more quality crosses into the box in the second half and AFCB came out with much more intent. Russell Martin was kept busy getting in last gasp tackles against Wilson and Pugh. Pugh won a corner that saw Martin, Wilson and Ruddy contest the ball and Martin went down injured. AFCB were starting to find some joy with stopping Norwich from playing out and Pitman hit a well struck shot right at Ruddy from outside the box.

On the break a frustrated Jerome kicked the ball into the Ted MacDougall stand after being flagged offside and collected a yellow card. While Daniels was putting crosses in for AFCB it was the old problem occurring of nobody there running on to it in the box and the cries for Yann Kermorgant to come on were already getting stronger.

Norwich made a change with Steven Whittaker being replaced by Ryan Bennett on the hour and AFCB fan's chants were repaid a minute later with Yann Kermorgant coming on for Brett Pitman. Matt Ritchie was next to get a yellow card, but it was not a game changer like Johnny Howson's late lunge on Yann Kermorgant on half way that was given a straight red on 64 minutes.

If that was not bad enough for Norwich, Ryan Bennett pulled up holding his left thigh after running after Callum Wilson on the left wing. Bennett could not carry on and after quite a confusion with the numbers, eventually he was replaced by Gary O'Neil. AFCB kept the pressure up with a Francis cross that Tetty almost sliced into his own net, but managed to see it go out for a corner. Wilson did his best to get in then but Ruddy made a good save with his legs.

Even while the corners added pressure, the passing in the final third was not sharp enough from the Cherries with Francis putting his cross straight out from a good position. On 75 minutes Ritchie got hold of the ball on the right and drove his long range shot just wide of the right post. The fact that AFCB's players were not all on the same wavelength was clearly shown when Yann Kermorgant played a simply pass square to Andrew Surman, but the midfielder did not even move towards the ball and was suddenly swamped by Norwich shirts. A cross then found Jerome in space and while he was a little way out he shot well if over the bar as a warning!

Norwich then made their last sub as Nathan Redmond was replaced by Kyle Lafferty on 78 minutes. Ritchie saw another of his shots go wide, but Cook found himself battling with Michael turner as Norwich pushed up the field. Then in a moment of brilliance, Cameron Jerome fed off the loose ball to turn and smash in a wonder goal from 25 yards with Artur Boruc getting a hand to the ball, but not enough to keep it out of the top left corner! 

There were 10 minutes left and Eddie Howe immediately brought on Ryan Fraser for Marc Pugh. With Ruddy making the most of his goal kicks and watching the time waste away AFCB fans did not have much hope of a rescue act. While Tommy Elphick was ever more present in the Norwich box he could not land a clean header on goal and the final card was to bring on Dan Gosling for Andrew Surman with just five minutes to go. While Arter was still forcing a corner with a deflected shot, Norwich dealt with that easily enough. A late yellow card for Steve Cook was just added annoyance for AFCB fans.

Five minutes of extra time flew by with only a corner to Bournemouth really creating any chance of a great escape. It was not to be and the 14 game unbeaten league run had come to an end!
Disappointment for the Cherries.

The Norwich game was always going to be a hard test.
This was a typical, hard fought, Championship game with not much to choose between the sides. Norwich came out with the right attitude from the start and made it into a game where they were going to be right in the Bournemouth player's faces. They did not run out of steam either and had periods when they bossed the midfield and tempo of the game. It was enough to knock AFCB off of their stride and the sending off did not make things any easier for the Cherries for once. I would say it was a point lost for AFCB, but the three points certainly  gained by Norwich who will see them try and use this result as a new platform from which to make a second half charge up the table.

For AFCB, the match next weekend at Rotherham now becomes all about getting back to winning ways and collecting three points, as the Norwich game needs to be put out of their minds quickly. It may also now give Eddie Howe the opportunity to make a couple of changes to the team and see who is worth a few more minutes on the pitch.
Norwich fans enjoy their win.

Boruc, Francis, Elphick,Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman (Gosling 85), Pugh (Fraser 81), Pitman (Kermorgant 61), Wilson

AFCB Substitutes
Camp, Gosling, Smith, Kermorgant, Stanislas, Fraser, O'Kane

AFCB Ratings

Boruc 5, Francis 6, Elphick 5, Cook 6, Daniels 6, Ritchie 8, Arter 5, Surman 5, Pugh 6, Pitman 5, Wilson 6

Ruddy, Whittaker (R Bennett 60), Martin, Turner, Olsson, Tettey, Redmond (Lafferty 79), Johnson, Howson, Jerome, Hooper

Norwich Subs
Grabban, Lafferty, Hoolahan, Murphy, R Bennett (O'Neil 67), Rudd, O'Neil

Referee: Chris Foy 3/10 - many will feel he got the big decisions wrong. He'll probably say he got them right!

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