Sunday, 13 March 2016

AFCB's 3-2 win over Swansea takes them to mid-table

Match Report
AFCB 3 v 2 Swansea
12 March 2016
Attendance: 111,79
The captains in the middle.
While expecting a close game, it was something of an unexpected pleasure to see a five goal thriller at Dean Court between two teams that were moving towards safety. Steve Cook got the decisive goal from a bullet header with 12 minutes to go, but Swansea had twice come from behind to equalise the scores before Cook's defining goal. With Max Gradel scoring his first goal of the season and Josh King adding another to his goal tally, the Cherries are suddenly finding it easier to score at Dean Court and while goals from Modou Barrow and Gylfi Sigurdsson made it a tight match, the Cherries will sit proudly in 13th place in the table this week after securing their first back to back home wins of the season. As I left the ground a steward said to me: "that'll do, that'll do nicely!" Indeed, AFCB will be pleased with that.
Swansea play all in white with their home strip.
AFCB are structuring themselves for another season in the Premier League.
There was no change to Eddie Howe's starting line up, which meant there was no Harry Arter in the squad as he had not come through a late fitness test on his Achilles and Juan Iturbe was brought into the squad along with Eunan O'Kane while Glenn Murray sat this one out.
Swansea players encourage each other.
The Cherries get ready to go into their huddle.
Swansea brought in Leroy Fer and Modou Barrow to their starting 11 and Ki Sung-Yueng came into the squad.

There are more photographs on Match Day Gallery.

CherryChimes' FanCam: Swansea City fans 
Trevor and Stephen give their pre-match views. 

First Half
Josh King had the first chance to make a keeper work but his header from Max Gradel's cross looped onto the top of the net, having glanced off the bar, as he headed back across goal. Swansea also come forward in the first five minutes with Wayne Routledge firing wide on the volley after a cross from Jack Cork.

Alberto Paloschi, Swansea's number 9, had a high work rate and was trying to make Bournemouth's back line hurry, but Daniels made a good run on seven minutes linking up with Gradel before delivering a cross for King who blasted over from around the penalty spot under some pressure. If he had hit the target it was likely to have been unstoppable.

Matt Ritchie had an adventurous volley that was wild as it was wide of the goal, but Lukasz Fabianski had to work harder when coming out at the feet of Gradel a few moments later.

AFCB then had a free kick on the edge of the box and, as we waited for Gradel to take it, Ritchie moved the ball to Surman who stuck it quickly and caused the keeper to dive hastily to his right, but the ball struck the post and rebounded with 13 minutes gone.

Swansea also won a free kick on the right and Federico Fernandez got his head to it first and glanced his attempt across goal and wide of the left upright. Boruc seemed confident it was going wide, even if we were more concerned in the stands. Swansea were having joy on the right wing with Barrow giving Daniels all kinds of trouble. The Cherries' left back eventually stopped him in the box, but with a challenge that caused AFCB fans to wonder if it would be a penalty. Luckily it was only given as a corner by referee Roger East and on replay it's clear the challenge was outside the box.

The Cherries next attack saw the ball pulled back by King from the byline only for Fernandez to intercept and to almost run it too strongly back towards his own goal. AFCB started to compress the play with the back four pushing up which seemed to cause Swansea to over pass and lose possession. Josh King was making his darting runs but was well shadowed by Fernandez. Afobe though was finding it harder to do more than offer his services to take the ball facing his own players on the half way line or just beyond.

A corner to the Cherries saw Dan Gosling make a header that went through low to the keeper without much threat of a goal though. 

Gylfi Sigurdsson had been quiet up to this point but rifled a shot just wide of the right post on 27 minutes.

A foul on Adam Smith gave Ritchie a chance to put in a special free kick and he tested Fabianski who tipped the shot over the bar. Dan Gosling had not been able to get forward that much and picked up a yellow card for a foul on the energetic Barrow after 34 minutes.

Ashley Williams was happy to marshal King away from goal, but when the Cherries' forward did get free on the right and sent in a deep cross come shot, Fabianski palmed it away, but only into the waiting feet of Max Gradel who steadied himself before driving the ball into the bottom left corner of the net - 1-0! Gradel's celebration was all for Eddie Howe as he run all the way over to hug him in front of a jubilant home crowd.

That celebration was short lived as a quick run down the right wing from Barrow after the restart saw him cut inside Daniels with a few step overs, and then spring an early shot around Surman and into the bottom left corner of AFCB's goal with Boruc well beaten for pace, accuracy and the curl on the ball - 1-1.

This encouraged Swansea to push forward even more with their fans getting right behind them. Wayne Routledge was again finding space but was having one of those days when he shot wide of the target again. As half time arrived 1-1 seemed a bit of a small reward for some of the Cherries' play.
The players come off at half time.
Half time score.
Paloschi and Sigurdsson kick off the second half.
Second half
Eunan O'Kane replaced Dan Gosling at half time. It was a difficult start to the half for Barrow though who went down with a head injury and then looked more in pain from his limp than his bang on the head as he staggered over to the sidelines.

The AFCB fans were soon excited by Max Gradel getting on the ball again and his pass to Josh King on the right side of the box was the perfect ball for Josh who smashed in the second goal for AFCB, even though Fabianski got a good hand to the shot before it rattled in off the right hand post.

At 2-1 up with 49 minutes gone, there was a feeling of confidence that another Cherries win was perhaps on the cards. Swansea were just about to have a better period of the game though. They started to look like they wanted to ball more and the intent was soon shown with a shot that went wide from Angel Rangel.

Gradel felt the full force of Rangel's late challenge too and Swansea's number 22 went in the book. Adam Smith was making a few more runs up the right now and O'Kane won a corner from which the step over corner, without a step over!  That meant Josh King had a shot to nothing until he slipped - probably with too much excitement - and he skewed his shot!

Swansea brought on Gomis for Routledge on the hour to go to 4-4-2. The change caused problems as just two minutes later with Gomis station on the edge of the D he found Rangel. The ball was moved on to Barrow on the right and his pull back saw Gylfi Sigurdsson run straight onto the pass, slipping his shot effortlessly past Boruc's right hand and it was 2-2!

Both sides could really do with these points to go safe, but there was a nervousness now about some of AFCB's play and Swansea's players knew they has a good foot in the game. Barrow again was the menace winning a corner on 65 minutes when a Swansea header, followed by a shot in the box went just over!

Eddie Howe withdrew Benik Afobe and put on Lewis Grabban on 65 minutes. It had not been a strong day for Benik. AFCB were also losing their way a bit so it was no surprise that Eddie decided to change things. 

Josh King picked up a knock to the head but was soon up again. Grabban was having problems getting up to the pace of the game with some of his passes going straight to the opposition. Daniels was now making big tackles with Barrow again running freely at him again. Would AFCB have to settle for a draw at best?

With Gradel also struggling it was time to bring Marc Pugh on after 76 minutes. If the Cherries did not know this game was still up for grabs they did when Paloschi made a sharp turn and shot that Boruc had to be lively to as the shot took him off his feet, before O'Kane cleared the danger.

That got the Cherries going forward again. King managed to win a corner and Ritchie took it from the left side to find Steve Cook leaping majestically above everyone at the far post to make it 3-2, with his second home goal in consecutive games, comfortably beating Fernandez in the air.

Swansea made a quick sub with Barrow, who had been great, coming off for Marvin Emnes with 10 minutes to go. But AFCB were still looking for more goals and Grabban almost executed a great chip shot that forced Fabianski to make a great save stepping backwards to tip over.

Leroy Fer was also replaced on 84 minutes as Ki Sung-Yeung came on for him. There were calls for a handball from Swansea fans after a Steve Cook clearance but play was waved on. 

It has to be the first time that "Sweet Chariot" was sung at Dean Court, much to the amusement of the fans near me. A shot from Emnes resulted in more shouts for handball off of Daniels, but with four minutes of extra time Swansea could not find another equaliser.
Three more points for the Cherries.
The Cherries might not be quite safe mathematically yet, but they have made it extremely difficult for the teams below them in the bottom four to catch them in time now. There was not much of a difference in terms of quality between these two teams and yet I did not feel that the Cherries really were in top form. Ritchie was energetic and yet could not get as involved as perhaps he would have liked, while Afobe will be disappointed with his lack of attempts on goal. But the bigger picture is what the team has achieved in terms of points this season and  for me it was another man of the match performance from Josh King. The harder games are all lined up in a row now, but the Cherries can go into these next few games knowing that they can play without the pressure of having to look to hard over their shoulders anymore. The carrot of a top 10 finish is astonishingly there to fight for with Chelsea in 10th only sitting two points ahead - what a great first Premier League season for the Cherries!  
Swansea players thank their fans.
Eddie and players go and see the South End fans.

Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Gosling (O'Kane 45), Surman, Gradel
(Pugh 76), King, Afobe (Grabban 65)

AFCB Substitutes
Federici, Elphick, Distin, O'Kane, Pugh, Iturbe, Grabban

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 7, Smith 6, Francis 6, Cook 7, Daniels 7, Ritchie 6,  Gosling 6 (O'Kane 6), Surman 6, Gradel 7 (Pugh 6), King 8, Afobe 6 (Grabban 6)

Ref Watch: Roger East 4/10 A bit slow in finding his yellow cards. Would have like to see advantage played a more often at times and some of the so called fouls were really nothing at all.

Swansea City
    Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork, Fer (Ki Sung-Yueng 84), Barrow (Emnes 80), Sigurdsson, Routledge (Gomis 60) Paloschi
Swansea Subs
Nordfeldt, Amat, Ki Sung-yueng, Britton, Emnes, Gomis, Naughton


  1. Has Eddie thrown £30m down the drain and is he entitled to....

    All the new signings made since going up have made little impact...and when Wilson comes back I cannot see Afobe getting a game either....

    Understand that injuries have played a part but

    Gradel,Mings,Murray,Tomlin,Grabban hardly kicked a ball...Afobe will be out when Wilson is for Iturbe...whats the point of having a £15m rated player kicking his looks like we have kept to the core of last seasons team.e .and why not..but surely the idea of signings is to improve the squad and not have 'eye candy'

    Isuspect a number of these signings will be out in the next transfer window...Murray/Tomlin/Iturbe for sure....Afobe will get very fed up when Wilson takes his place...also to go..O'Kane/Macdonald/Distin?/Boruc/Pugh??/

    Who may come in for some of ours and will they be tempted....

    Will Elphick stay now he is no logner first choice....will Cargill/Buthcher be promoted to first team

    Who will come in

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  4. Cracking game and congratulations from a swans fan don't worry about safety you're there all the best see you next season