Sunday, 9 August 2015

Villas's Gestede spoils Cherries' Premier League debut 0-1

Match Report
8 August 2015
AFCB 0 v 1 Aston Villa
Attendance: 11, 155 (inc 1500 Villa fans)
Feel the heat - AFCB kick off their first Premier league season.
You couldn't have wished for a more glorious day on the south coast to start a new Premier League campaign and AFC Bournemouth had much to be proud about. If it wasn't the sunshine that made you smile, then home supporters were visibly pleased to see new signings Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel, Adam Federici, Sylvain Distin and Josh King warming up before kick off when the fun really started with 12ft flames spiralling into the sky to welcome in the big day at the Vitality stadium. Sadly Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede's 72nd minute headed goal was all that split the teams over the 90 minutes, and it would be the taste of Premier League defeat that would play on the minds of home fans at the end of the day.
Aston Villa just before kick off.
AFCB in their new kits.
More pictures on the day will be on Match Day Gallery

We have managed to salvage a bit of footage from 
the interview with two AFC Bournemouth fans pre-match,
 but there is a lot of background interference

Eddie Howe picked was very loyal to those who had helped AFCB win promotion last season with only Josh King and Artur Boruc of the summer signings making the starting 11. Yann Kermorgant was among the substitutes as a result of King making the team, and Dan Gosling filled in the centre midfield role where we are most accustomed to seeing Harry Arter, who is still out injured. Meanwhile, Aston Villa started with five new signings which gave the home crowd good reason to perhaps feel some optimism that it could the the Premier League new boys day.

While the scoreboard took on an intriguing pink glow as if shocked that the Cherries were really starting a game in the top flight, there was nothing embarrassing about the action on the pitch. The first half was a tight affair with both teams pressing high up the pitch and AFCB playing with conviction, giving everyone a touch of the ball. Early possession was lost by Dan Gosling a couple of times, and even though Josh King had an opportunity to shoot, we were still waiting for a clear-cut chance after 15 minutes. Pugh almost got on the end of a Francis cross but headed it high and wide. Jordan Veretout picked up the first yellow card, having said something to Mark Calttenburg, after the referee had awarded AFCB a free kick for Ciaran Clark's foul on Andrew Surman. There was plenty of pace in the Cherries' attacks with Wilson and Ritchie, but not a lot of quality in the finishing. When Villa did get a break, Idrassa Gueye was just as wasteful in front of goal. 

With half an hour gone it was Steve Cook that was making penetrating passes who found Josh King and then Matt Ritchie in space, before Surman hit a powerful shot wide to awaken the crowd. The best Bournemouth move of the first half followed though when Surman and Pugh made space in the box and Dan Gosling hit a shot over, but was perhaps pleased to see that he was offside anyway. He made up for that with a great tackle that sent Wilson on his way moments later and, but for Guzon's skill at blocking the shot with his feet, the Cherries would have scored at that moment. 

But when Cook put the breaks on Gabriel Agbonlahor's galloping run, moments later, Clattenberg went straight to his book and Villa had a great free kick chance to test Boroc, Luckily Leonardo Bacuna blasted his effort straight into the wall. Meanwhile, Boroc was looking imperious in goal as he came to catch a Villa cross and simply plucked it out of the air.

AFCB were not getting many shots off though and when they did they were a bit wild with King perhaps guilty of not playing Pugh in when he shot over. Ritchie was showing his class with some brilliant pieces of control and it was no surprise that Ciaran Clark caught him late and was given a yellow. A great chance followed with Pugh blazing right at Guzon in the Villa goal just before half time.

All square at half time.

Chimes' Fancam:  Judy and Andy give their pre-match views on
 Aston Villa's likely lineup.(background noise is high)

Second half
Tim Sherwood's words must have hit home at half time as Villa came out like they were a different team. Within a few minutes Scott Sinclair had the best opportunity of the game when he found himself on the end of a cross with most of the goal to aim at, but Borus pulled off an incredible save! As Josh King was withdrawn on 53 minutes, Yann Kermorgant was introduced. It was Villa that were in control though and two minutes later the tall Rudy Gestede came on for Jordan Ayew. 

AFCB were still trying to get Wilson in behind but Bacuna was able to keep him out. Yann Kermorgant was sadly looking off the pace though. 

A let off for AFCB came when Gestede volleyed wide in the box, but the warning was certainly there. Pugh was withdrawn for Max Gradel to make his debut on 68 minutes. He immediately beat his man on the left and chipped in a cross that Wilson headed back across goal only for Clark to head clear off the line.

Villa subbed Veretout and brought on Carlos Sanchez on 71 minutes and within a minute a corner from Westwood had been headed in by Rudy Gestede! It was a shock to the home fans, but a bit of quality finishing that sent the Villa fans into raptures of delight.

Bacanu then charged Gradel and was given a yellow card from the restart. Why he decided to do that I have no idea. Wilson then won a free kick over on the right and the yellow card for Gueye gave the Cherries a chance to try an intricate free kick routine that saw Kermorgant slip down the blindside and cross. That ball was headed out before Surman hit his volley over.

It was Villa's game to hang on to now and with Scott Sinclair removed for Kieran Richardson, Sherwood was looking to close the game out. With 10 minutes to go Gosling picked up a yellow card, it hadn't been his day. Ritchie was still looking like AFCB's best hope of doing something special but he did not have his shooting boots on him as he flashed his shot wide. O'Kane replaced Gosling with six minutes left and with five extra minutes AFCB fans hoped for a reprieve. The closest they came was to see a Francis run unleash a cross into the six yard box, but a corner was their only reward. It ended 0-1, a first game defeat for the Cherries.
No win this time for the Cherries.
First game escapes Cherries, but the team put up a good show.
It's is easy to get despondent when your team doesn't win, but this was a learning experience as the whole season will be. The positives were that Artur Boruc had nothing to do in the first half and was only beaten once in the second 45 minute period. The back four that were untried as a unit in the Premier League did well. Ritchie looked Premier League class with his touches and ability to find space. King also appeared comfortable at this level and Gradel added sparkle to the attack. In fact the whole team applied the usual attacking Howe style to this game and created chances just as they had done in the Championship. The problems are clearly the marking for set pieces, which will be disappointing for Eddie Howe and the lack of clinical finishing. A moment when Villa switched on and the Cherries switched off was the difference and that is simply a lesson that must be learnt very quickly.

Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Gosling (O'Kane 84), Surman, Pugh (Gradel 69), King (Kermorgant 53), Wilson

Gradel, Mings, Smith, Kermorgant, Federici, Distin, O'Kane

AFCB Ratings Boruc 5, Francis 5, Elphick 6, Cook 5, Daniels 5, Ritchie 7, Gosling 4, Surman 5, Pugh 5, King 6, Wilson 5

Aston Villa
Guzan, Bacuna, Richards, Clark, Amavi, Veretout (Sánchez 71), Gueye, Westwood, Ayew (Gestede 59), Agbonlahor, Sinclair (Richardson 78)

Aston Villa Subs
Baker, Cole, Richardson, Hutton, Sánchez, Bunn, Gestede

Referee watch: Mark Clattenberg 5/10 - the foul count was rather high in a game that was not played in a bad spirit, but we know how refs like to stop the game.

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