Sunday, 3 May 2015

Champion Cherries - and now will you believe us! Charlton 0-3 AFCB

Match Report
Charlton 0 v 3 AFCB
2 May 2015
Attendance: 21,280
Bournemouth players celebrate their title.
Words can't possibly do justice to the scenes that I and many other AFCB fans saw at The Valley after the match against Charlton Athletic. It was beyond the wildest of dreams for AFCB to finish champions and with Sheffield Wednesday falling behind at Watford the contest at Charlton was not looking like it would matter that much in the long run. That didn't stop Matt Ritchie from stunning the him crowd on 10 minutes when he put the Cherries ahead with another sweet, low, curling strike that beat Stephen Henderson in the bottom corner of the goal and when two minutes later, Harry Arter leaped on a mix up at the back he powered the Cherries into a 0-2 lead and the balloons and fans in fancy dress were bouncing! Charlton put up better resistance in the second half but some of the passing and control that the Cherries displayed was just beautiful to watch and after Ritchie had hit the bar with a deflected shot he had the final say with another goal that sent the AFCB fans mental. The joy was not only for the third goal but because Atdhe Nuhiu had scored in the 90 minute at Vicarage road for Sheffield Wednesday. The title was now with AFCB and after a 46 game season it is now part of history - AFC Bournemouth are Champions and the best team in the division. It's the Premier League next season all right.
Team sheets on the big board at The Valley.
It was a colourful day with both teams lighting up the pitch.
Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall looking on from the sidelines.
Eddie Howe made one change to the team with Simon Francis replacing Adam Smith at right back. We settled down to the left of the goal in the South End and waited for the action to begin.

Tim Aston and family before the match gives his 
views on the team and how the day might go.

The atmosphere was bouncing!
More pictures can be viewed on Match Day Gallery.

First Half
As usual it was AFCB who made a fast start and an early foul on Yann Kermorgant gave him the chance to take aim from 25 yards but he crashed his shot against the Charlton wall. Harry Arter was directing play and while he lost out to Yoni Buyens, Frederic Bulot soon lost possession and Cook and Kermorgant got AFCB going forward playing in Wilson who had Stephen Henderson forced to make a save low to his left at the near post. Yann Kermorgant had a shot from the resulting corner but it went wide.

Charlton's early threat came from Bulot on the left who linked well with Ivor Vetokele, but Tommy Elphick was in quick to break any moves up.Pugh was next to have a drive that went over, but AFCB were playing well and looking to pin Charlton back. Charlton were already resulting to the odd long ball with Yoni Buyens playing the ball up to Tony Watt, but Morgan Fox wasted the chance by firing over.

AFCB's first goal came on 10 minutes when Francis and Ritchie started a move that then involved Cook and Daniels before Pugh took the ball forward and found Kermorgant slipped in Matt Ritchie on the right of the box and Ritchie's shot was smoothly struck around the on coming defender and found its way past Henderson and in off the far post to give the Cherries the lead!

We hardly had time to celebrate as Charlton had a throw on their right in their own half and yet Yoni Buyens completely messed up, sleeping his way to a pass, and gifting Arter with the opportunity to step in and head towards goal which he did in his direct style and shot from around the D with Henderson unable to keep the low shot from hitting the back of the net 0-2!

Charlton were angry with themselves, but AFCB were out for a stroll and even the fans were singing: "Easy, easy!" The quality of Champions was on display. Charlton started to get more on the ball through Tony Watt. Just after 18 minutes he made a great run down the right and put in a low cross that evaded everyone in the box including a late outstretched leg fro Igor Vetokele.

At the other end Callum Wilson was getting closer and was stretching the Charlton defence. When he won a corner, Yann Kermorgant leaped highest but headed over. By this time AFCB fans in the south stand were not getting a lot of banter with Charlton fans so asked fans in the west stand to give the a song which they duly did - "We're Premier League!" they cried which was well received.

Wilson came close again on 22 minutes when Pugh and Wilson created an opening but Roger Johnson deflected the shot over. Even Francis fancied his luck and tried a long distance effort from the corner that just scraped wide of the left post. It wasn't much later that the AFCB fans had heard that Matej Vydra had put Watford one up at Vicarage Road, but it didn't dampen the atmosphere that much.

Wilson was causing all kind of problems and won a free kick for being pulled back by his shirt. It was Ritchie's turn to strike a shot that hit the wall. AFCB were still pressing though and Wilson kept shooting with another deflected shot for a corner. Watford were playing on the break but Johann Berg Gudmundsson was no match for Pugh chasing back although the Bournemouth winger pulled up with an injury and received some attention. Boruc did have to make a save on 33 minutes when Bulot hit a low shot but it was easy for Boruc to hold on to in the middle of the goal.

Harry Arter was being more positive and saw his shot charged down. Meanwhile Igor Vetokele was looking injured. Indeed he was subbed for Simon Church. watt looked Charlton's best play up to this point but even he was having to defend more than he might have wanted. Alou Diarra's methods of stopping Yann Kermorgant received a yellow card but I guess it was effective in stopping AFCB's march towards goal on that occasion. Four minutes of extra time saw an Andrew Surman effort go over and the score was 0-2 at half time, much to the delight of AFCB fans.

AFCB are totally in control of this game and 0-2 was a comfortable lead.

It was a pity that Watford were winning, but it was only a
goal lead and the fans had hope that Sheffield Wednesday
might still be able to get a goal.
Second Half
Charlton had obviously been given the come on by Guy Luzon at half time and they came out with a lot more steel in their play. Yann Kermorgant was still looking to chip Wilson in through and Ritchie had the first shot of this second half that was blocked by Morgan Fox. Bulot was next to see a shot blocked before Diarra had a header go wide. AFCB possession was still strong and while Wilson tripped Johnson over, Matt Ritchie was the one getting the speaking to by the ref as he had clearly disagreed with the decision. I love the way Ritchie then stands with his hands behind his back and receives his ticking off not wanting to offend further.

The incident made Ritchie just as determined as ever to influence the game and he was found by a long ball from Steve Cook on the right before he moved inwards and crashed a shot against the bar! That was on 59 minutes. Watt also had a good turn and shot at the other end but his effort was deflected over.

A strong break by Harry Arter could have wrapped the game up then when he hammered down the middle of the pitch with Pugh on his left who he totally ignored and instead chose to shoot but wide from 20 yards out. It was a wasted chance to play Pugh in.

AFCB brought on Dan Gosling for Arter on 61 minutes. A race between Henderson and Pugh saw the keeper get there first to a chip from Ritchie, but in the main AFCB were playing keep ball now. Surman was at the heart of moves and had a shot blocked after a great session of passes.

The Cherries took Pugh off and brought on Adam Smith to allow Ritchie to move over to the left wing. Charlton then made two subs on 69 minutes with Diarra replaced by Joseph Gomes and Chris Eagles came on for Bulot. Not long after Tony Watt was seen hobbling and Charlton played the game out with 10 men.

Charlie Daniels had come forward to take advantage of some space and he nearly added his name to the score sheet but hit his volleyed shot into the ground and just despairingly wide of the right post with the keeper beaten!

Kermorgant was subbed after 82 minutes and Kenwyne Jones replaced him. Smith was really the engine room of AFCB by now and when he kept coming down the right wing, Charlton struggled to keep him out. In the end one of these runs saw Dan Gosling then have a shot blocked before Ritchie went one better with a blocked shot at first, before picking up the ball again in the box and blasted in his second goal past Henderson from 12 yards in the bottom right corner! While the celebrations were in full swing the noise from the West stand suddenly went up by 10 notches or more. They were going berserk and my radio told me why - Atdhe Nuhiu had equalised for Sheffield Wednesday - it was 1-1 at Vicarage Road. They were in the 90th minute while time was also running out at The Valley.

I don't remember much of the next three of four minutes as there was only one thing to do and that was to go mental. AFCB were going to be Champions and the players knew it too. The whistle had gone at Vicarage Road - Watford had clown it at 1-1. Now it was just a delight to see AFCB players with the ball in the knowledge that the title would be theirs. I did see Gudmundson have a good chance go over, but frankly who cared? AFCB were about to lift the trophy for the Championship and we were about to see it with our very own eyes played out before us. What a day!

You could not have wished for a more dramatic and exciting day as an AFCB fan. It probably made great TV viewing in real time with Watford seeing their title dream taken away from them right in the last minutes of the season. While that may seem harsh, I did feel that AFCB were the best team in the league and were fully deserving of the title over the season for the amount of days they had been top and with all the goals they had scored. It just seemed the perfect end to the day and the partying could start for the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend and beyond!

Pugh is in no doubt that he will be playing Premier League
football next season along with the Cherries.
Tommy Elphick celebrates with the fans and Shaun MacDonald looking on.
Another big away win for the Cherries.
Massive cheers were heard when this sign came out.
Jeff can't hide how happy he is to be bringing the SkyBet Championship trophy out on to the stand.
Party time for the boys!
Eddie can celebrate on a great achievement and a magnificent season.
Eddie Howe is surrounded by photographers. 
More pictures are on the Match Day Gallery.

AFCBBoruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter (Gosling 61), Surman, Pugh (Smith 69), Kermorgant (Jones 82), Wilson

Gosling, Pitman, Smith, Fraser, Ward, Allsop, Jones

AFCB Player Ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 7, Elphick 9, Cook 8, Daniels 8, Ritchie 10, Arter 8, Surman 8, Pugh 7, Kermorgant 7, Wilson 8

Henderson, Solly, Ben Haim, Johnson, Fox, Berg Gudmundsson, Diarra (Gomez 69), Buyens, Bulot (Eagles 69), Vetokele (Church 39), Watt

Charlton Subs
Gomez, Bikey Amougou, Eagles, Wiggins, Church, Lennon, Etheridge

Referee rating: Neil Swarbrick 8/10
Next stop - Premier league 8 August 2015.

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