Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Cherries comeback to put four past Birmingham (videos)

Match Report

AFCB 4 v 2 Birmingham
6 April 2015
Attendance: 11,084
The sun was out at Dean Court as Birmingham City looked to
avenge their 8-0 drubbing from earlier in the season.
Those rolling up to the Goldsands stadium for their first ever game might have though this would be a nailed on home win if they knew the result of the fixture earlier on in the season at St Andrews. However, football is never that simple and after 21 minutes AFCB found themselves 0-2 down and wondering what had hit them. This what not going to plan and Clayton Donaldson was causing havoc up front for Birmingham scoring one and, after David Coterrill had doubled the lead, Donaldson really should have put the Blues 0-3 up, but for a last ditch clearance from Steve Cook. 

While the Cherries were tying themselves up in knots, Birmingham were playing directly and with creativity in the last third. Birmingham's failure though was not to score that third goal as Bournemouth bundled their way back into the game with Steve Cook grabbing a goal from a corner, before Yann Kermorgant played a ball through for Callum Wilson to round Darren Randolph and surprisingly pull the Cherries level at half time. A quickly won penalty in the second half by Wilson, saw Kermorgant give the Cherries the lead from the spot. By the time Charlie Daniels had scored AFCB's fourth, Birmingham well well beaten but there was still time for Paul Robinson to be sent off and for the game to become a shooting session for AFCB against Darren Randolph. 
Almost ready for kick-off the two captains in the middle.
There was only one change to AFCB's team with Yann Kermorgant replacing Brett Pitman in the starting 11. Pugh was still absent from the squad and Ryan Fraser kept his place on the left wing. Birmingham brought in David Davis for Gleeson and Lloyd Dyer started instead of Demarai Gray.

AFCB fan Liam gives his pre-match view.

Birmingham fan Johnathan before the match.

Match atmosphere as the teams come out.

The Match Day Gallery has more pictures from around the ground.

First Half
The game started with yet another Callum Wilson incident with a keeper when Darren Randolph kicked the ball against the strikers back and saw the ball just go wide of the goal. I don't think the referee saw the incident but he consulted with his assistant referee and decided to give the Birmingham keeper a free kick. The free kick situation was soon equally up when Ryan Fraser went head over heels after a challenge from Llyod Dyer. Yann Kermorgant only managed to direct his shot at the wall and Birmingham escaped with a corner. The kick was taken by Fraser and was headed on at the near post by a defender and Surman almost put the Cherries ahead at the far post but just headed over.

Moments later the Cherries won another corner and first Arter shot and then Yann Kermorgant was blocked out before the ball was blasted over. Another scramble at Bournemouth's end followed when Boruc looked clear to smother the ball, but Tommy Elphick slid in and conceded a corner. It was the first of several Birmingham corners as they got into the game.

Fraser passed a good ball through to Wilson on 14 minutes when the striker shot wide, but AFCB were not hitting their stride. In fact, when  Andrew Shinnie played a long ball up for Donaldson to run on to the Birmingham forward suddenly looked favourite to get between Elphick and Cook and beat Artur Boruc to the ball, as the loanee keeper stopped coming forward and Donaldson lobbed him expertly to put Birmingham 0-1 up on 18 minutes.

While the home crowd was stunned, things became grimmer just three minutes later when David Coterrill raced up the right wing and beat Steve Cook before shooting across Artur Boruc into the bottom left corner of the goal to make it 0-2. It was as if the AFCB back four didn't know each other and just couldn't cope with players running at them on the break. There was a further warning shot when Cook backed off and David Davis fired a shot, but Boruc was equal to it. Birmingham were coming forward with lots of encouragement now and Dyer forced a corner off a blocked shot before Jonathan Grounds won another corner from his shot.

The pressure was released a bit when Davis fouled Fraser and was given a yellow card. Matt Ritchie ran away from the free kick before returning and hitting a driven low cross across the box but Randolph got down to it quickly. 

Birmingham still came forward and Donaldson had a golden opportunity on 33 minutes to make it 0-3. Steve Cook headed back weakly to Artur Boruc and Donaldson got in but lifted his shot over Boruc but not quite firmly enough to prevent Cook clearing off the line. The whole AFCB performance seemed disjointed and ill at ease, particularly at the back. everything changed though when a corner on 38 minutes was first headed by Tommy Elphick who had hit shot blocked but Steve Cook managed to bundle it over the line and get AFCB's first goal of the contest.

It was a goal that the Cherries badly needed and it gave them a foothold in the game which they managed to breath even more life into when Yann Kermorgant played a delightful ball through for Callum Wilson to run on to, rounding Randolph to score from a tight angle a minuted before half time. Operation recovery was complete 2-2. Now what could AFCB do in the second half.
Half time and some how the Cherries had pulled the game back to 2-2.

Second Half 
We didn't have to wait long to find out. Callum Wilson was again showing why he is so vital to this promotion chasing Cherries' side running onto a ball over the top with a burst into the Birmingham box which drew a foul from Birmingham captain Paul Robinson and AFCB were awarded a penalty. Yann Kermorgant successfully converted the spot kick and normal service had been resumed with the Cherries comeback complete and now 3-2 up.

Ryan Fraser was looking a bit tired with a shot come cross that hit the side netting and Arter had a solid shot from the edge of the box saved on 52 minutes when Randolph dived low to his right. Birmingham's best chance early on this half fell to Donaldson when Andrew Shinnie put in a delightful chip through, but Donaldson shot wide.

There were still nervous moments at the back between Boruc and Francis but this was more the AFCB that we had come to know this season. The game did not flow that well though with so many free kicks and Wilson was the next to pick up a yellow card after a foul on Jonathan Grounds. That allowed Adam Smith to come on for Ryan Fraser and Ritchie swapped over to the left wing.

AFCB were looking for more goals and Tommy Elphick crashed a header against the bar from a corner on 57 minutes. Cook also headed over a couple of minutes later. Birmingham were struggling to create much now and Grounds was yellow carded for a foul on Smith, while Donaldson was getting regularly caught offside. AFCB almost made it four when Yann Kermorgant got Wilson in some space but he shot at Randolph's legs in the 62nd minute.

Birmingham's reply was to see Cotterill shoot over, but the momentum was with Bournemouth now. Ritchie was looking comfortable on the left and dummied the ball for Daniels and then crossed for Kermorgant to have a knee-height heeled shot at the near post fly over.

AFCB fans were allowed to see Demarai Gray as he came on after 68 minutes for LLoyd Dyer who had been quiet. Simon Francis almost immediately went in the book for a foul on Shinnie. But again AFCB were looking more likely to score and Cook headed over once more from a corner. Adam Smith had shown strong running since he had come on and he then had a break and his shot was saved by Randolph and then had another go which was saved by a combination of keeper and Paul Caddis on the line, before the ball fell back to Charlie Daniels just on the edge of the box and he volleyed the ball down hard into the ground and it looped up over defender and Randolph and off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net to make it 4-2!

That was game over, but Birmingham brought on former Cherry Wes Thomas for Shinnie. It was perhaps the wrong decision as moments later Robinson was red carded for a foul on Wilson and Donaldson had to be subbed to bring on Rob Kiernan, while Caddis took over the captaincy. 

The last 10 minutes were really a shooting gallery in which Darren Randolph acquitted himself tremendously well. Callum Wilson was first to burst through only to see the keeper turn his shot away. Brett Pitman replaced Yann Kermorgant and Wilson was subbed for Kenwyne Jones to make a home debut. Then Harry Arter decided to have a go from range and smashed a shot, similar to the one when he scored against Middlesbrough, against the inside of the right post. 

There was a slow down in excitement for a moment as Adam Smith picked up a yellow card for a foul on David, but with four minutes of extra time Kenwyne Jones was looking to add to his goals and when the cross came in from Daniels, Kenwyne rose supremely and met the ball with a powerful header only for Randolph to some how keep out from point blank range!  There was lots of pushing and holding for the corner and even though Jones was being wrestled the referee gave a free kick to Birmingham to prevent AFCB getting anymore goals on the day.
Three more points, AFCB keep their promotion charge on track.

It was not a totally harmonious day for the Cherries, but they got the three points and go back to the top of the table. They have some worrying tendencies to back off and hesitate at the back which I am sure will be worked on this week, but the positives were that Wilson bagged a goal to take him to 20 for the season and even when AFCB are not playing at their best they are a side that can grow into matches and come from behind. Now that's Champion form - to win when you're not at your best.

Post-match walkabout.
Yann Kermorgant and Ryan Fraser.

Adam Smith does favour the short style from the 1980s doesn't he.

Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Fraser (Smith 56), Wilson (Jones 88), Kermorgant (Pitman 87)

Camp, Gosling, Pitman, Smith, Stanislas, Ward, Jones

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

Birmingham City
Randolph, Caddis, Morrison, Robinso, Grounds, Davis, Tesche, Cotterill, Shinnie (Thomas 75), Dyer (Gray 69), Donaldson (Kiernan 79)

Birmingham Subs
Thomas, Novak, Kiernan, Zigic, Doyle, Brown, Gray

Referee watch: Andy Woolmer 6/10
Thanks Eddie, another great win!

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