Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Cherries leave it late to squeeze past Birmingham 1-2

Match Report
FA Cup
Third Round
9 January 2016
Birmingham City 1 v 2 AFCB
Attendance: 13,140

The players greet each other at St Andrews.
The Cherries returned to winning ways with a close game in the third round of the FA Cup against Championship side Birmingham City. St Andrews was fairly empty as the Blues fans may not have seen AFCB as the big draw they may have wished for, but the crowd had plenty of good football to see with Birmingham scoring first from a free kick after 40 minutes that was headed in by Michael Morrison. The lead did not last long though as three minutes later Eunan O'Kane was taken down in the box and Lee Tomlin scored his first goal for the Cherries from the spot. Birmingham squandered a great chance to take the lead on 59 minutes after Kieftenbeld had been fouled in the box and new signing James Vaughan blasted his penalty over the bar. Glenn Murray then made the Blues pay for their wastefulness by stabbing home from close range in the 86th minute to put the Cherries through to the fourth round.
Baily Cargill takes on captain duties.
See more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

Anyone who picked the same side as Eddie Howe before the game did extremely well. He mixed things up with several U21 players such as Baily Cargill, Jason Lee and Matt Butcher making starts, while Elliot Ward was back from his loan at Huddersfield to fit on the subs bench. AFCB set up as a 4-4-2 with debutants Butcher at right back and Jordan Lee in the left back slot, while Tomlin started off on the right wing and Pugh on the left with Kermorgant and Rantie up front.

Gary Rowlett put out a reasonably strong team with new signing James Vaughan leading the line with Andrew Shinnie and top scorer Jacques Maghoma on the bench.

The early part of the match was dominated by Birmingham as Solomon-Otabor was putting in some devilish crosses and giving Jordan Lee a hard time at right back. Shinnie should have done better with Solomon's first minute cross, but he hit his shot straight over. Sylvan Distin than conceded the first corner after six minutes.

Birmingham were coming forward with good strength and Shinnie put in a great cross across the six yard box, but there was no Birmingham player around to get on the end of it.

There was plenty of banter between the two sets of fans with the Blues predictably singing "you're going down with the Villa."

But Macca was starting to get hold of the game and with Pugh switching to the right side much of Birmingham's attacking play became more controllable. Sylvan Distin was unusually finding it hard to get his passing accuracy going though and when closed down by Shinnie and Kieftenbeld, the ball ran to Solomon who had his shot blocked by Cargill for another corner. The resultant volley by Kieftenbeld went well wide though on 15 minutes.

Bournemouth were making more progress though and Pugh had a shot saved after good work from Lee Tomlin. The Cherries came closer still on 21 minutes when Yann Kermorgant got up well and crashed his header against the bar with Legzdins then saving the second attempt. Lee Tomlin was also looking to run past people and was getting into shooting positions. Birmingham were blocking well though and the biggest gasps came when MacDonald drifted in from the left only to shoot just wide of the right post.

Birmingham fans were not so happy with the AFCB chanting for Eddie and Tindall to give the away fans a wave, but when they asked for Gary to wave to them the AFCB fans said that he could not hear them and chanted themselves for Gary Rowett to wave, which he duly did to much applause and laughter from both sets of fans. How many mangers would do that? Good on Gary Rowett.

Tomlin and O'Kane were quick to get Pugh cutting in from the right and he ran across the box before letting a shot go back towards the right post that was deflected for AFCB's first corner. Pugh again came close on 36 minutes when he hammered a shot over when coming in on the angle fro the right.

The deadlock was broken though when Birmingham won a free kick on the right wing. Rantie had meanwhile sat down and had to come off with Matt Ritchie coming on in his place. Cotterill then delivered his cross and Michael Morrison headed the ball wide of Federici to the bottom right corner of the goal and Birmingham were 1-0 up.

The response was pretty immediate with O'Kane getting knocked by Grounds in the penalty area and Lee Tomlin was given the task of scoring. He had to wait a while but slammed the ball right down the middle to make it 1-1 just before half time.
All Square.
The players are out for the second half.

Second Half
Birmingham made two subs at the start of the second half. Cotterill was replaced by Maghoma and Eardley made way for Lowry. AFCB started the second half much better and quickly won a corner from Tomlin's goal attempt. MacDonald volleyed over from the corner.

It wasn't one way traffic though. Shinnie was given space by Solomon and shot just wide. AFCB were trying to step it up though with Eunan O'Kane making Legzdin save low down to his right. An even better move followed with Pugh putting in a low cross that MacDonald attempted to score from with a back heel just like Rooney did last week, but Macca's did not quite get enough on it and the ball went wide of the right post!

Just when AFCB seemed to have a hold on the game though a rash challenge from O'Kane on Kieftenbeld saw the referee point to the spot. James Vaughan's big moment had arrived. It would mean everything for him to score but with AFCB fans chanting for Adam Federici and the tension building, Vaughan hammered his penalty miles over the bar! 

There were 30 minutes to go and the rain was coming down heavily now. Pugh was looking AFCB's best hope as he put another shot wide. Birmingham almost benefited from the referee getting in the way and Kieftenbeld and Shinnie breaking, but Distin got a tackle in. Then Maghoma caught out Cargill at the back and broke into the box where he beat Ritchie and shot against the far post! Then Shinnie hit the post on the follow up! And as Toral shot Distin ensured it went wide, as the offside flag went up.

Rowett brought on John Toral for Solomon on 68 minutes.  Toral wasted no time in getting a shot in but Distin sliced his clearance for a corner.

Kermorgant was also replaced by Glenn Murray with 13 minutes to go and Baily Cargill won a corner at the other end. It was end-to end. AFCB brought on Steve Cook in place of Jordan Lee at right back. It was a good call because Cook's cross moments later caused mayhem in Birmingham's box with O'Kane making a great diving header that Legzdin could only parry out and Pugh tried to knock the ball in, before Murray found himself in the right spot to stab home from just a yard out before Legzdin could get hold of it - 1-2! 

That was not the end of the excitement. Ritchie almost made it 1-3 when he jumped on to a Mac Pugh cross and headed it against the foot of the left post. Up the other end Vaughan had his shot blocked and then won a corner. Vaughan had an even better chance to come but when Maghoma got his cross in Vaughan did not manage to get a shot away, perhaps with the slippery conditions just putting him off. 
Ritchie applauds the fans as Distin gives his top away to a young Cherry fan.
Full time- AFCB make it through to the Fourth round.
This was a very entertaining cup match. Birmingham fans will feel they were robbed and you can't really disagree with that. They played well enough for a draw and while AFCB had to resort to players like Ritchie and Murray coming on to win the game, it was a good experience for the young players that came into the side and brave of Eddie to play the youngsters at the back. The encouraging performance was that of Marc Pugh for me who just got stronger as the game went on. Shuan MacDonald also showed he is the true professional and could play far more games than he does for this AFCB side.

AFCB Player Ratings
Federici 7, Lee 6, Cargill 6, Distin 6, Butcher 7, Pugh 8, MacDonald 7, O'Kane 6,
Tomlin 6, Kermorgant 6, Rantie 5 (Ritchie 6)

Referee Watch: Mike Jones - 5/10. Not sure how clear-cut the penalties were but he was fairly even with his decisions.

Birmingham City
Legzdins, Eardley (Lowry 45), Morrison, Spector, Grounds, Cotterill (Maghoma 45), Davis,
Kieftenbeld, Solomon-Otabor (Toral 68), Shinnie, Vaughan

Blues' Subs
Kuszczak, Gleeson, Donaldson, Maghoma, Toral, Lowry, Brock-Madsen

Federici, Lee (Cook 84), Cargill, Distin, Butcher, Pugh, MacDonald, O'Kane, Tomlin, 

Kermorgant (Murray 78 ), Rantie (Ritchie 39)

Cherries' Subs
Allsop, Cook, Ward, Murray, Ritchie, Wakefield, Green

1 comment:

  1. A fair and honest review of the game, I thought the referee was very poor, the game could of gone either way, maybe a draw would have been a fair result, good luck for the rest of the season.