Wednesday, 6 January 2016

AFCB are playing it wiser now

In the first half of the season there were several games where the Cherries might have earned valuable points but did not manage the game well enough having been in front. They did not even have that luxury at Leicester but seeing out a 0-0 draw against a top two side is more evidence that the Cherries are making big strides to extend their stay in the Premier League.
AFCB are taking bigger strides to keep in games now.
Eddie Howe reminded the press that Leicester are near the top of the table for a reason and to burst their bubble was always going to be a big challenge. This is a team that have scored 37 goals and were flying for the first five months of the season. AFCB's players now have to believe that if they can get a draw with 10-men at the King Power that they can do even better against some of the other teams they still have to play away.

I almost think that the players like these games more when they are not expected to get anything. More importantly, when they have something in a game the side is no longer making poor decisions. A point is very valuable when the league is very tight like this. It all adds pressure to the chasing sides.

It is perhaps a bit easier for Eddie Howe to inform his players what he needs from them in games now. On the bench they know that the team wants to win every game but when the management can see the bigger picture of how important a result of any kind would be then some times it is good to protect what you have.

Earlier in the season it was the home matches of Leicester and Everton that most clearly reminded the players that they had to be more careful at defending in the last minutes of a game, but these are the moments when the players are most tiered. Now that the season is over half way through the fitness of the players is probably helping them to go the distance and while WBA scored a late goal against the Cherries that is really the only one since the Everton draw.

Francis ban stands
The independent football association regulatory commission still likes to throw its weight around when it comes to AFCB and, even with the overwhelming camera angle evidence from weekend reviews of the incident, the panel still knows best and has rejected AFCB's case of wrongful dismissal for Francis. The sticking point seems to be that Andre Marriner was not said to have made an obvious error in sending the player off, at least from his view of the incident. Francis will now serve his one match ban and the FA will pocket £1500 in the process for an unsuccessful claim.  

U21 squad hit Cambridge Utd for five
It was a big win for the U21 squad that had many of the first team squad playing ahead of the FA Cup tie this weekend. A full report is on the AFCB official site.

AFCB: Allsop, Lee, Cargill, Ward (Jones 83), Butcher, MacDonald, O’Kane (Harfield 60), Pugh, Tomlin (Green 78), Rantie (Goodship 60), Kermorgant (Stockley 78).

Goals: Tomlin 31, Pugh 51, Kermorgant 54 & 77, Lee 89.

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