Sunday, 15 March 2015

Pitman's hat-trick against Blackpool helps Cherries stay top 4-0

Match Report
AFCB 4 v 0 Blackpool
14 March 2015
Attendance: 10,013
Brett Pitman with the match ball.
It was a few years ago when know one knew much about the little footballing side on the south coast that played its football at Dean Court and who had a striker called Brett Pitman who would regularly keep the club from slipping further down the slippery football pyramid. Today, the same player is still scoring and now has 101 goals for the Cherries to his name, but both he and his team are lighting up the Championship and Brett's stunning hat-trick against Blackpool not only gave Cherries fans lots of reason to remember what the Jersey-born striker has done for this club over the years, but it also reminded them that he still has a lot to give having scored five times in his last two games. 
Lee Clark in the opposition dugout.
Eddie Howe pre-match.
Blackpool players greet AFCB players.
The two teams on the pitch.
More pictures are on the Match Day Gallery tab.

The fixture was perhaps a foregone conclusion for those who were waiting to tick another game off in the Championship run with top playing bottom. AFCB were without the suspended Harry Arter, while Yann Kermorgant had picked up a bug overnight that meant he would not be playing either. Shaun MacDonald stepped in again to resume a midfield role and Eunan O'Kane was back on the bench. But Blackpool were not going to make it too easy and they had to make changes with their AFCB loan signing Miles Addison not allowed to play against the Cherries, while O'Hara was injured. Telford and Ferguson were also moved to the bench, allowing Orlandi, Madine, Jacobs and Dunne to come into the Tangerines' starting line up.
Pitman gets his laces just right for a hat-trick.
The captains in the middle.
AFCB prepare to put in a professional winning performance.
Blackpool players marvel at seeing grass on a pitch.
While the crowd numbered over 10,000 it was a fairly expectant and yet quiet home crowd while Blackpool brought no more than about three of hundred fans, which was understandable in their club's position. While Blackpool looked to get forward from the start in their white shirts with diagonal tangerine stripe and matching shorts, AFCB were free to play the ball along the back line without too much pressing from Blackpool. Charlie Daniels was soon making his characteristic runs up the left and Aldred was having to do his best to stop him. 

Meanwhile, Ritchie was battling with Perkins and the two of them looked stuck together like glue for the opening few minutes. AFCB's first opening involved Surman and then MacDonald with Surman making the final pass to Pitman who went for a glory shot and smashed high and wide after seven minutes.

Gary Madine was making his presence felt up front with Delfouneso playing just behind. While Madine was caught offside, Blackpool were starting to show endeavour. That was given a big set back on 10 minutes though when Francis played a ball to Pitman who turned and set off in search of I am not sure, but by the time I checked to see how much progress he had made he was running with ever greater pace and turning Blackpool defenders until he was on the edge of the Tangerines' box and by coming to his left side he let go a shot that nestled right in the corner of the goal. He'd done it again! Just like the Fulham match, but this time he had started just inside the opposition's half. How is that possible? The Blackpool defenders had backed off and Brett had nailed another stunning shot on the back of a run that must have been at least 45-50 yards - sensational. The Cherries were 1-0 up!

After the first goal there was an attempt to get Ritchie away up the right wing, but Charles Dunne came across shoulder barged Ritchie right off his feet and was allowed to play on, much to the annoyance of Matt. Callum Wilson was chasing down anything that was left to run to Ell Parish in the Blackpool goal, but it was Charlie Daniels that was causing havoc with his one-twos with Marc Pugh on the left. Tom Barkhuizen was going to have a busy afternoon.

Jacobs was doing much of the covering work for Blackpool in midfield, while Delfouneso, Hall and Dunne were starting to get on the ball more. Indeed, Jacob had a shot that flew off Shaun MacDonald for a Blackpool corner after 22 minutes. Blackpool were giving away silly little fouls though and Madine fouled Pitman just as Blackpool looked like they had a chance to keep the ball in Bournemouth's half. 

AFCB came back with a strong move that saw Wilson and Ritchie combine high up the field and win a corner with MacDonald forcing Charles Dunne to clear. AFCB's corner's were not being rushed and Francis tried to make something of this one from deep, but when the ball came in, Pitman went down and was not give a penalty. When Ritchie was later fouled and AFCB had another chance to get the ball in the box, the ball seemed to come off a Blackpool player for a corner, but referee Chris Sarginson saw it as a goal kick much to the consternation of the AFCB players who had their arms in the air calling for a corner.

Blackpool were not looking to cleaver around the box even if their build up play was okay. Perkins and Delfouneso managed to get some space for Andrea Orlando to have a shot on the half hour but it was well over. AFCB replied with another corner just two minutes later when Cook headed over. The game was getting bitty with free kicks and the occasional scared pigeon flying for cover in front of the Family stand, which was almost as entertaining as the ball being in play.

David Perkins was clearly the most fired up player on Blackpool's side and he was constantly either fouling or being fouled by Ritchie and Wilson. When Wilson could break free he was given offside, but when Ritchie shaped to take a shot from the right side of the box  that looped up off a defender and seemed to be going wide, when we suddenly saw Brett Pitman come into view, just ahead of Callum Wilson,  on the far side and bury his header past the on rushing Parish to make it 2-0!

After the restart Wilson was held by Tom Aldred when bursting through and Aldred received the first yellow card on 39 minutes. With Marc Pugh and Brett Pitman standing over the ball I was urging Pitman to get himself in the box. Instead Pugh took it short to Pitman who glided past the first Blackpool man and pulled the trigger whipping his shot in from the edge of the box and Parish was beaten yet again - it was 3-0! From Blackpool's point of view, Parish's handling of the shot at the near post was not the best.

By this stage even the Blackpool fans were clapping when AFCB scored. Towards the end of the half Charles Dunne had a shot blocked and Blackpool had more of the possession. With the yellow balloons and a minutes applause for Watford fan Nick Cruwys on 44 minutes, the Cherries were soon in at half time three goals to the good.

Cherry Chimes' FanCam: Mic and Tom Curtis give their views on the Blackpool team.

A great first half for the Cherries.
The players leave the pitch at half time.
Got to be pleased with that at half time
Second Half
There were no changes at half time, but the break did not look like it had slowed the Cherries down any. Charlie Daniels soon fed Callum Wilson in and Parish had to make a good save as early as the 47th minute. AFCB's goal machine did not have to wait much longer to get another chance though as Marc Pugh was tripped inside the box when taking on Orlandi and the ref pointed to the spot. Now Brett Pitman was the designated penalty taker and he signalled to the bench is it mine to take? But Callum Wilson already had the ball and was placing it down, ready to take it. Brett went over to Callum and spoke to him, but allowed him to take the kick and thankfully Callum spanked the ball down the middle and into the net to make it 4-0, while Brett Pitman was the first to congratulate Wilson.

The game was well and truly over but there was still 41 minutes to go. Big respect to the Blackpool fans who were singing: "Blackpool are going down in reply to the Reds are going up!" It was a case of how many were the Cherries going to get which every one had been telling me before the game kicked off. But credit to the Blackpool players they fought on bravely.

A corner or a series of passes was always well cheered by the Blackpool fans as they looked to enjoy something from the game. One incident they were pleased about was when Tommy Elphick went into the book for a misjudged challenge on Nathan Delfouneso that saw the Blackpool player go over Elphick's out stretched leg and up into the air.

Blackpool brought on Jose Miguel Cubero for Connor Oliver after 54 minutes, but still AFCB dictated the game with Pugh almost getting Pitman in before Aldred got a clearance in. The yellow cards were evened up on 58 minutes when Tom Barkhuizen fouled Pugh. Ritchie put in a good cross to Pitman who turned well but shot over.

Blackpool then brought on Tommy McMahon and subbed Barkhuizen on 61 minutes. A moment or two later AFCB made a double sub with Adam Smith replacing Pugh and Junior Stanislas coming on for Tommy Elphick, which meant a change of shape as AFCB went three at the back and three up front and Steve Cook took the captain's armband. Junior Stanislas was very lively when he came on and was soon forcing events in the Blackpool half, while Smith had his usual energy and started to test Blackpool's left side with his pacey dribbling.

Stanislas had a shot go wide just three minutes after coming on and Perkins had to foul him on 67 minutes just to slow him down. Adam Smith linked up well with Daniels and Surman and might have stolen in but for an alert Parish in the Blackpool goal. Tony McMahon managed to get his first shot away but Blackpool were looking a beaten side with 20 minutes to go. 

Lee Clark probably felt that as well and brought on David Ferguson for Jacobs on 71 minutes. Meanwhile MacDonald was still threading balls through for Callum Wilson to chase after but he was adjudged to have fouled Grant Hall when through on goal. Adam Smith then won a corner after a deflected shot and Stanislas played the ball out to Andrew Surman who curled a shot wide of the far post. That was followed by a headed chance for Callum Wilson at the near post from a Ritchie cross on the left, but that flew over! 

Ritchie then made a heavy challenge on McMahon and was yellow carded. While Blackpool themselves won a corner after a Boruc fisted-clearance it did not feel like Blackpool would score and indeed they did not have a shot on target all game. Tokelo Rantie then replaced Callum Wilson as AFCB went in search of a fifth goal. Adam Smith was doing his best to change the scoreline and he went close again on 81 minutes when he beat Orlandi and Parish was forced to save. Stanislas then whipped in a low cross across the six yard box that Rantie could not quite get on to. 

A big shout for a penalty then came as Adam Smith went down on the right side of the box from a Charles Dunne challenge but AFCB weren't going to be given a second spot kick. Grant Hill blazed over in the last few minutes to go for Blackpool before McMahon picked up a yellow for a foul on Pitman with 90 minutes gone. There was just time for Rantie to make a late dash for the by line, but pulled his cross back just to high and out of the reach of Pitman.
Blackpool players congratulate AFCB players.
Another good score for the Cherries.
Handshakes all round.
Artur Boruc heads off the field.
Eddie's salute to the fans.

It was a cold and breezy day, but AFCB stayed on course to record a third straight win. The Cherries did what they had to to get the points and again put in a strong first half performance. While fans would have hoped and perhaps expected more goals in the second half I felt that Blackpool always kept trying and did not make it easy for the AFCB players. Artur Boruc did not have very much to do and Shaun MacDonald did a good job filling in for harry Arter. But it was Pitman's day and I think he rather likes getting the acclaim and winning games at this point of a season - let's see if he can d it again at Cardiff.
Not a bad day.
Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie MacDonald, Surman, Pugh, Pitman, Wilson 

Camp, Stanislas, Smith, Rantie, O'Kane, Ward, Fraser

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

Parish, Barkhuizen, (McMahon 61), Aldred, Hall, Dunne, Orlandi, Oliver (Cubero Loria 54), Perkins, Jacobs (Ferguson 71), Delfouneso, Madine

Blackpool Subs Clarke, Cubero Loria, Ferguson, McMahon, Telford, Boney, Osavi-Samuel

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