Sunday, 28 February 2016

Gomes defies the Cherries again!

Match Report
Watford 0 v 0 AFCB
27 February 2016
Attendance: 20,831
A smartly revamped Vicarage Road.
Going away to Watford was a great chance to extend the gap between those teams just below the Cherries and a goalless draw turned out to be a good result. Performance wise I am sure Eddie Howe will rue the missed chance that fell to Dan Gosling and an arguable claim for a handball in the second half, but Watford more than had their hare of chances to win as well with Denney and Ighalo passing up the opportunity to hit the target more than once. So a clean sheet creeps the Cherries closer to safety on 29 points and the most pleasing sight of the day was to see Max Gradel return to the team, although Junior Stanislas ended back up on the physio table having pulled his hamstring.
Guess who's back? Max Gradel is ready to play.
AFC Bournemouth fans Andy and Keith give their pre-match views.

The team was changed quite considerably from the Everton FA Cup side with Adam Smith and Steve Cook coming in at the back and Artur Boric in goal. Ricthie and Stanislas started on the wings and Surman and Arter returned along with a double strike partnership of King and Afobe. Among the subs were Max Gradel and Tommy Elphick.

Jason Tindall gives the news about Max Gradel and the team.
It's him again! I love the routines of Harry the Hornet.
At least Harry the Hornet came down to earth a bit after this game.
The two teams greet each other in front of the Graham Taylor stand.
Watford brought in Britos, Parades and Etienne Capoue after their FA Cup success the previous weekend.
We'll kick this way.
More match pictures are on Match Day Gallery.

First Half
The first few minutes of this game were of high intensity with Ighalo almost getting an early goal as he took on Arter and Cook in the Cherries' box on the right hand side, clipping the ball inside Cook only to have his shot pushed be Artur Boric into the side netting for a corner. Watford seemed intent on playing long balls up to Ighalo to chase while the Cherries played their carefully crafted passes from the back with the Hornets pressing as high as they could.

Daniels and Stanislas were not quite on the same wavelength on the left wing even if they were seeing a lot of the ball. Harry Arter was a bit more successful but his shot from 20 yards out screwed just wide of the left post.

The Cherries first corner was won by Matt Ritchie on 12 minutes which Gomes came to catch as he did all game! 

Watford were quick on the break and Surman was having to guard against Capoue's passing which found Amrabat who shot wide from the edge of the box. Then Amrabat did even better getting around the side and making a slide rule pass to Ighalo who some how shot wide from 10 yards out - a big let off!

Afobe was struggling to hold on to the ball up front. Adam Smith was getting forward and one of his shots won AFCB their second corner on 19 minutes. It was not much later when Junior Stanislas pulled up when breaking from defence - hamstring! He was unable to continue so Max Gradel made a welcome return on 22 minutes having been out since 29 August.

King was working hard robbing Ben Watson whenever he could, but there was just as much entertainment from seeing Artur Boruc trying to clear a blow up beach ball that landed near him. While he eventually removed it we saw Harry the Hornet test his sting by bursting the inflatable moments later. A break from King almost put Afobe through with just Cathcart in pursuit, but the offside went up in a marginal decision.

Troy Deeney had not troubles Cook and Francis too much. Capoue caught Arter and a couple of times but kept himself out of the book.

AFCB lofted the ball into the box for Josh King who slipped on the deck and yet still tried to get a shot away, even if Watford fans felt he was just trying to shout for a penalty. There had not been much in the way of incidents but before half time we could raise a smile when Nathan Ake hurtled into the barriers and then the crowd in his keenness to recover the ball.
Luther Blissett picked up more silver at half time.
Second Half
Watford won an early free kick against Josh King despite Miguel Britos holding King around the neck as they both raced for the ball. King pushed Britos back after picking up the ball and got a stern talking to from referee Taylor. King was soon getting in the areas we like to see him though and Ritchie's intricately worked cross to him ended with a shot that was deflected for a corner on 49 minutes.

A better chance fell to King when Ritchie again was the provider and King battling against Craig Cathcart volleyed over from eight yards!

The Cherries were not having all their own way. A cross from Amrabat was punched clear by Boruc but on to Parades who had his shot blocked by Francis. Then Amrabat completely missed his volley in the top corner of the left hand side of the box.

Back came the Cherries with Surman and Max Gradel playing their one-twos through the Hornets defence only for Gradel to see his shot fly over, with Britos making a last ditch intervention as Gomes narrowed the angle.

Benik Afobe's first touch was letting him down a bit, but he kept trying. Meanwhile, Watford subbed Capoue and brought on Mario Suarez on 57 minutes. 

The Cherries were pressing for the goal though and Surman had a shot blocked by Miguel Britos only for Ritchie to then find Arter and his drive looked like it would do the trick, until Gomes made another of those outstanding finger tip saves to his left to deny the Irishmen at the last. The shot was bending towards Gomes rather than away from him, otherwise it could have been 0-1.

An hour gone and still no score.The corner hit a Watford player's chest and up stretched forearm - Berhami, on the hand and the calls for penalty rang out, but the assistant referee as perhaps looking elsewhere! 

Adam Smith was starting frustrate referee Taylor by persistently fouling Amrabat.  Amrabat was able to escape at one point though rounding the Cherries' defence on the left wing only for Ighao to head the ball wide of the left upright unchallenged!

A hasty challenge from Arter then running back on Deeney saw a free kick in the left side of the D for Watford on 68 minutes. AFCB formed a six man wall. Ben Watson made a short pass to Deeney, but he got it all wrong, firing wide of the left post. 

Troy Deeney was then lined up again with another chance on the left side of the box, by a pass from Watson but he pulled his shot wide and Boruc did not have to make a save. 

The Cherries were quick to come forward again through Daniels and he put in a big cross that was just a bit too hot for Ritchie who blasted his shot over while hitting it on the run as he sped into the box to meet the cross. At the other end we saw Nathan Ake volley over as the game went into the last 20 minutes.

Afobe's race was run and on came Dan Gosling to make it five in midfield. Britos was next to have a go at goal but fired wide for Watford. A quickly taken free kick by Watford then saw Ighalo with a good chance but he was quickly closed down and fired over.

Anthony Taylor brought out the yellow card for Ben Watson on 78 minutes for a foul on Max Gradel. 

A great chance then fell to Dan Gosling. Ritchie took the free kick and confusion in the box led to Deeney knocking the ball across his own six yard box off his shin and directly into Gosling's path, but the midfielder only made a weak connection and Gomes made the save to his right!

Josh King then sent in a cross from the right that was met by Gradel leaping to head down at goal but Gomes did well to judge the bounce well and save to his right.

The Cherries kept going with Arter firing wide next. While Ritchie had to limp off before coming back on, Watford subbed Armabat for Almen Abdi.

Surman's first move was to land a yellow for stopping Abdi in the middle of the park. AFCB's last sub was Ritchie coming off for Murray on 83 minutes. While Cathcart saw yellow for taking out Gradel, Max could not get the better of Gomes who tipped over another effort from the small winger as Cathcart tried to get a block in with just a couple of minutes to go. It ended all square, just as it had at Dean Court earlier in the season.
Adam Smith finally catches Gomes.
Full time. Arter shakes the hand of Gomes who stopped AFCB all afternoon.
We'll take that.
Watford could easily have won this game but we found out that Ighalo has off days even if Gomes doesn't! While the Hornets could not manage more than a single shot on target, the Cherries only did a little better and then there was still Heurelho Gomes to beat. Clinical finishing is still a work in progress project for AFCB with Afobe looking somewhat out of sorts and King having just as few attempts at goal, and when the chances did fall to Gosling and Arter the back of the net did not ripple. A point though is always good for an away match in this league and sometimes it is good to reflect on a clean sheet, which is a far too rare a thing for AFCB this season. Watford played their part in a tight game, but in short there was not enough quality in front of goal for a winner in this game. 

By the way, Roy Hodgson was again watching AFC Bournemouth, following up from last weekend - is a call up for Charlie Daniels imminent?
Another point on the road.
A clean sheet.
Eddie applauds the supporters.
Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Murray 85), Arter, Surman, Stanislas (Gradel 23), King, Afobe (Gosling 74)

Federici, Distin, Elphick, Iturbe, Gosling, Gradel, Murray

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Smith 6, Francis 7, Cook 7, Daniels 7, Ritchie 7, Arter 8, Surman 7, Stanislas injured (Gradel 7), King 6, Afobe 5
Max says thanks to the fans.
Gomes, Paredes, Cathcart, Britos, Aké, Behrami, Watson, Capoue (Suárez 57), Amrabat (Abdi 83), Deeney, Ighalo

Watford Subs
Pantilimon, Nyom, Suárez, Prödl, Anya, Abdi, 

Referee Watch:
Anthony Taylor 6/10 was that handball? Did the fouls get a little out of hand? At least he found his yellow cards eventually. Josh King was also lucky with his reaction to Britos' challenge.

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