Thursday, 27 August 2015

A crucial goal from Pugh

There was a big change in the West Ham game when the 51st minute came up and Josh King was withdrawn for Marc Pugh to come on. It meant a change in position for Max Gradel as well as Pugh coming in on the left side. Gradel played much of last season up front and while he was excellent on the wing in the first half he added a new dimension to the Cherries playing with Wilson and also won a penalty. Yet, the factor that Eddie Howe says gave him great pleasure in the second half was Marc Pugh's finish for his first ever Premier League goal.
Pugh just keeps getting better.
A few moments before Marc had scored he had another great chance from the centre of the box but didn't catch it quite as he wanted and saw his shot go straight at Darren Randolph. I was intrigued that afterwards Pugh was talking to himself and looked really annoyed that he hadn't done better as he bounced the ball in frustration on the sideline to my right. Whatever he said to himself did the trick, because the next moment that he was in he took his time when other might have shot early and took it around the defender before preparing to shoot wide of Randolph. Time almost stood still while he was making those moves for me. I had expected Pugh to blast it past the keeper, but the earlier miss seemed to want him to make absolutely sure that he was going to produce a text book finish. Knowing that he had to be that much more precise is now something that should stay with him when in that position again and I'm confident that Pugh will again be one of the club's high scorers this season.

Pugh has continually defied the odds by keeping his place on the left wing and I hoped he would get time in the West Ham match having not started at Liverpool either. It was a game that I thought would suit Pugh as he has always performed well having been kept out of the team. I also thought that the fact that Darren Randolph was playing would be good reason to get Marc on the pitch as the thought of Darren facing the hat-trick man in the 0-8 demolition of Birmingham last season would surely have a slight impact on how West Ham's keeper would be feeling. Marc's personal record against Randolph is looking pretty good at the moment, perhaps he should play believing every opposition keeper is another Darren Randolph waiting to pick the ball out of the back of the net!

Ian Harte retires
It is a sad day today to hear that Ian Harte is hanging up his boots having left the Cherries in the summer. We wish him all the best in the future. There is an audio track from him talking to Talk Sport on the side bar of the blog.

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