Monday, 21 March 2016

The Cherries are Kaned by Spurs' title push 3-0

Match Report
Tottenham Hotspur v AFCB
20 March 2016
Attendance: 36,084
Welcome to White Hart Lane.
The Cherries visited White Hart Lane expecting a severe test. It only took some 44 seconds or so for that to be turned into mountainous task as Harry Kane thundered Spurs ahead from short range after a right wing cross from Kyle Walker. Suddenly AFCB's unbeaten run was under threat and on 16 minutes the lead was doubled by Harry Kane second having held off the attentions of Simon Francis and slipped the ball past Artur Boruc. The Cherries seemed shell shocked and chasing the ball seemed the new afternoon game as they struggled to get some kind of foothold in the game. Spurs had shown how ruthless they were in front of goal and while AFCB recovered to mount more of a competitive second half a third goal from Christian Eriksen only confirmed the superiority that Spurs had in this game. The difference in class was vast and that will give Eddie Howe lots to think about.
Spurs team.
The two teams shake hands.
Harry Arter returned to the starting 11 for AFCB and the Cherries lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with King and Afobe taking the attack to Spurs. Dan Gosling slipped to the bench. 

AFC Bournemouth fans - Carl, Charlotte and Curt give their pre-match views.

The two captains in the middle.
More pictures will be shown later tonight on Match Day Gallery.

The match started with just about the most horrendous few seconds of play that Eddie Howe would have wanted to see. From a throw that was quickly passed back to Hugo Lloris, Spurs built their first attack down the right wing with Kyle Walker and an early cross to the centre of Bournemouth's box was met first by Harry Kane, who had split the two centre backs and got his foot ahead of Francis to finish neatly passed Boruc - 1-0 and most of us simply checked the time on our watches! Yes, it was under a minute!

There are setbacks and then there are setbacks. This goal sent shock waves around the ground. It was just the start to make Spurs feel comfortable that they would close the gap of table topping Leicester City, while AFCB had to some how show that they could pick themselves up better than when the teams met last time.

However, Spurs were euphoric in the passing and execution of play. They were cutting through the Cherries at will and it was Ritchie, King and Smith just trying to get a tackle in or just get near the opposition. Kyle Walker was given all the space he wanted on the right side and Danny Rose was doing equally well on the left winning a corner off of Simon Francis.

AFCB did get a few passes going but not for long as Harry Kane put a header wide on 10 minutes. Boruc's goal kick that went straight out of play just added to the nerves. Francis was getting tackled in on Ali only to find the ball breaking to Danny Rose. The ball just stuck with white shirts and when Arter could not get anywhere near Lamella, fouling him was the best he could do. Adam Smith had to concede another corner on 13 minutes, but the resulting shot from Kyle Walker was well over.

Relief was short lived though. Dele Alli played a simple pass through the middle for Harry Kane to find enough space in behind Simon Francis and he calmly slid the ball past Artur Boruc to double the lead on 15 minutes with Steve Cook unable to get a challenge in.

AFCB just looked second in every department and it looked like it was going to be a very long game for the team that looked nothing like the side that had played so well in recent matches. Players were simply not doing their jobs well enough and the gaps that were left behind were being filled by the white shirts who were in full control. Another Spurs corner was followed by a blast over the bar by Christian Eriksen, but it was all one way traffic.

It was a delight merely to see Max Gradel win a free kick. Dembele was first to every ball in the middle and even if he flattened Ritchie, Spurs would soon win the ball back. Daniels could not get his runs going up the left and blocks were the order of the day as Rose and Walker commanded the wings.

When Steve Cook conceded another corner on 29 minutes he and King crashed into each other when trying to clear the same ball from the corner. All individual battles were being lost and Spurs were able to turnover the ball with simple ease. Even when playing at the back a simple ball back to Boruc from Cook caused the Polish keeper to almost trip himself up before making a clearance. He was soon kept on his toes by another shot from Harry Kane.

It was something of a small victory when Josh King won a corner on 36 minutes even if it did not result in a shooting chance. Next, one of Spurs' best moves could easily have ended in a goal but was ruled  for offside. Rose fed the ball to Dier who slipped in Alli to finish before the flag went up. Kane was the man offside though.

AFCB's only shot of the half followed with Steve Cook heading over from a deep free kick to the far post. All the action was down the other end and this time Dele Alli had Boruc at full stretch to his right to keep the score at 2-0. It could have happened moments later when AFCB gave the ball away again but Kane's cross went just wide of Eriksen and the goal. Half time just could not come soon enough!
AFCB get ready to make their subs at the start of the second half.
Lewis Grabban was on for the second half.
Second Half
Two subs were made by AFCB as Lewis Grabban replaced Arter and Eunan O'Kane came on for Benik Aobe. The work rate of the Cherries went up immediately and a quickly taken free kick saw King run around the wall and had his shot blocked.

That good start by AFCB was soon returned with a Spurs break from the corner at their end that saw Walker shoot wide, Gradel and King were looking more active but Alderweireld would clear any real danger with time to spare.

The contest was then completely over when Lamella passed to Kane on the run and the number 10's powerful shot could only be spilt by Boruc at the waiting feet of Eriksen who made it 3-0 on 52 minutes.

While the Cherries had begun to win the odd corners it was damage limitation now. The second half was better with O'Kane going on busy runs and Josh King chasing hard up front but the game was already lost. Grabban was also an AFCB player that was doing all he could to get the side going and showed he had plenty of battling qualities. As soon as Francis did similarly and put a hand on Kane's shoulder referee Neil Swarbrick gave him a yellow card.

Gradel was having no less problems in getting past Rose. Spurs started to make their subs with Lamella replaced by Carroll on 65 minutes.

Adam Smith was doing well in taking the game to Spurs with his dribbles but he could not beat them all, Surman's speculative high delivery in the box saw he ball come off the back of Grabban's head and just fall wide.

Gradel was then subbed for Marc Pugh on 69 minutes. Smith was looking forlorn at seeing another of his crosses over hit. Grabban at least won a corner with 12 minutes to go. Spurs soon cleared though and a clever reverse ball payed in Carroll and the Dele Ali somehow shot wide!

Spurs subbed Dele Alli after that for Mason to play out the last eight minutes. There was some pleasure to see Mason and then Eriksen blocked on 86 minutes by Boruc, while Pugh did a few turns before getting robbed of the ball. Even at the end it was Kane shooting just wide of Boruc's left post.

Dier was replaced by Chadli as three minutes of added time went up and the only shot from Eriksen in that period flew well over.
All over - thank goodness!
A bad day at the office for sure. We marked Harry Kane out as a man that the Cherries had to stop, but in truth the whole Spurs team were the problem. The Cherries never got going in this one and the pink shirts could not hide the amount of quality that they fell short of needing against one of the best sides in the Premier League. It could have been much worse than three and really it was a collective low par performance. In Cheltenham week the Cherries were just not at the races. There will be lots to talk about when the team jets of to Dubai and Eddie Howe will want to see a very different kind of game when the Cherries take on Man City in a couple of weeks time. 

Spurs were very good, but the Cherries did not make things that difficult for them and those that came on in the second half showed a little more spirit and pride. It is hard to criticise when the boys have had such a great season, but the two games against Spurs have been disappointing. Two shots for AFCB all game and none on target kind of tells the story that they were on the pitch but not fully engaged in this one, despite their best efforts.

A poor day for the Cherries but there have not been too many of them this season.
Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter (O'Kane 45), Surman,  Gradel (Pugh 65), King, Afobe (Grabban 45)

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 4, Smith 5, Francis 4, Cook 5, Daniels 5, Ritchie 5, Arter 5 (O'Kane 6), Surman 6, Gradel 5 (Pugh 5), King 6, Afobe 4 (Grabban 6)

AFCB subs
Federici, Distin, Elphick, Pugh, Gosling, O'Kane, Grabban

Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose, Dembélé, Dier (Chadli 90), Lamela (Carroll 66), Eriksen, Alli (Mason 82), Kane

Spurs Subs
Vorm, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Carroll, Chadli, Son Heung-min, Mason

Referee watch: Neil Swarbrick 3/10 - one yellow card, Spurs were never gong to get a player booked with this ref. 

The score prediction prize was won by David Lambert @mrbert71 who correctly predicted 3-0 to Spurs for this game. Well done David!

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