Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Cherries Cook Koeman's Saints at home 2-0

Match Description
AFCB 2 v 0 Southampton
1 March 2016
Attendance: 11,033
AFCB official photograph: Steve Cook celebrates his goal.
This was a match that was always going to be massive for the Cherries if they could get a result. This South coast derby has been one-sided affair for too long, but there was a maturity about the Cherries play right from the start as they built pressure up on the Southampton goal with consecutive corners. The Saint's three at the back had their work cut-out, but it was a cheap free kick that led to the Saint's real problems when Fraser Forster made a good save to his right from Matt Ritchie's delivery, only for centre back Steve Cook to fire the Cherries ahead. AFCB have lost a lot of games from winning positions, but the back four held tight before Benik Afobe headed home a free kick from Matt Ritchie to make it 2-0 with 11 minutes to go.

Eddie Howe decided to keep Max Gradel in the starting 11 after his great performance at Watford and Junior Stanislas is injured so is rested. Marc Pugh came back onto the bench along with Lewis Grabban who recovered from his groin strain. Juan Iturbe was the unlucky player to miss out this time. 

Eddie said before the game: "We are looking to set a platform at home. ...We have not done well in local derby's of late so we have a point to prove."

He also mentioned Josh King's partner had a baby boy called Noah yesterday, so congratulations to the new mum and dad. The Cherries were in their normal black and red home strip and Southampton played in green socks, green top with diagonal blue stripe and blue shorts.

Southampton brought in Yoshida, Mane, and Ward-Prowse and dropped Soares, out of the squad, while Davis and Taggett were put on the bench. Shane Long recovered well enough from his injury at Chelsea to start with Saido Mane playing behind him and Charlie Austin. Koeman decided to play three at the back - Betrand, Yoshida and Fonte.

Jason Tindall runs through AFCB's team news.

Score predictions - there were three correct guesses Matt Adams @SeaScalpel, Wenders @WendyCherries and Stephen Allen ‏@stevecherries. We could only have one winner though and out of the hat came - Wenders Congratulations! The wine/beer mat is on its way to you.

First Half
AFCB start well with Francis playing a long ball up the right wing and from the throw Josh King got round the back and Ritchie put in a great strike that Forster saved with his legs at the near post! Daniels kept the pressure on winning another corner this time on the left, but Forster punched clear. Ritchie again got in from a cross field ball for Charlie Daniels and Afobe forced another corner.

Ward-Prowse had a cross cleared before Cedric got down the right and the pull back found Charlie Austin, but he shot wide of the left post! Great chance missed.

Daniels' run up the left led to a pass to Gradel inside and he moved the ball on to Afobe for another AFCB corner on the left on 8 minutes, which was well defended. The Saints were struggling to get much passing together though and AFCB were soon back on the ball with Gradel forcing yet another corner on 9 minutes. Daniels won the header but it was cleared.

Southampton on the break could not keep the ball in play. The Saints then got a bit of possession and Van Dijk had an effort from 35 yards blocked.

King made a good cut back but it was too long for Gradel. King had his shot blocked before Smith had his cross blocked. 

Francis was quick to cut out another Saint's break. Ritchie caught Mane and gave away a free kick. That's the second challenge when Ritchie has been late. Betrand then put in a good cross that Cook cleared before Romeu handled it and passed to Mane who shot over! Handball ref! 

Mane and Betrand working on the left wing put in a cross but Boruc was there to catch the ball cleanly after 19 minutes. Van Dijk was having to make some good defensive headers with Daniels testing the Saint's with his crosses.

Surman was spreading play well but Romeu was quickly onto Arter and sought to capitalise before AFCB again regained possession. Austin pulled to the left and put in a good cross but Long could not get a clean header on it and Boruc came out to claim it.

AFCB then won a free kick centrally just outside the box as King fell to his knees under pressure from Van Dijk. Ritchie and Surman discussed matters before Surman's short pass to Ritchie and the shot came off the wall.

Cook missed a high ball completely in the centre of midfield but Long fouled Adam Smith so there was no damage. Betrand then won a free kick on the left with King making the challenge on 28 minutes. Cook won the header though. 

A good touch by Ritchie sent Smith on his way before the ball came back to Gradel. The final ball in though was again poor. King and Fonte battled for the ball on the right and King got the verdict of a free kick right on the edge of the box.

Ritchie fired the ball in and Forster saved it almost by surprise but the ball fell to Cook and he volleyed down and into the left side of the goal - 1-0 to AFCB - nice sliding knee celebration too! 32 minutes gone. If Forster had not got a hand to Ritchie's effort Afobe would have headed the ball in - great delivery from Ritchie.

AFCB were in the mood now. Cook played in Daniels and Gradel's cross was hastily cleared by the Saint's but Daniels was soon coming back again. Gradel took the pass and fired a curling shot just over the top left corner!

Koeman made a sub with Yoshida coming off on 35 minutes and Davis came on to change the shape of the Saint's team. The three at the back is not working for Southampton. Austin was pulled up for a handball.

Southampton still haven't really got going. Austin fouling Daniels. Adam Smith was then fouled by Romeu on half way. Francis immediately shoved Long though on the right and that was that attack over.

A strong run from King was thwarted by Van Dijk and ran out for a goal kick, but Josh was having a good game. Cedric was then nailed by a Charlie Daniels tackle on the left and Cook was keen to win the headers in the box. Boruc then also took a cross from Cedric, no problem.

Arter on the break almost let in Afobe on the right but Fonte got a foot in for a clearance just in time. The corner hit Shane Long's hand come mid-rift, but the hand was not raised. Another corner to AFCB, Bournemouth's seventh.

Play stopped then as the fourth official might have fallen over? Yes, Kevin Friend banged his head on the dugout and is off to hospital. Hope he is going to be okay. One minute of extra time. 
AFCB official tweeted image.
Second Half
We have a new fourth official - Dean Trelevan from West Sussex. Saint's still have three up front as the second half begins and Arter spins in a ball to Daniels who is fouled. Gradel plays it in too deep.

Cedric put in a good cross on the right for Austin before Long handled the ball in the box and AFCB escaped with a free kick. Gradel then on the ball high up the field before Daniels won a corner. 

Afobe then added to the corner count again. The Saint's were keeping the ball better now but AFCB were looking to snatch it on the break and after 53 minutes Southampton won their first corner off of Charlie Daniels. Surman headed it clear.

Southampton were scurrying after the ball now and pushing up. But Harry Arter was also forcing Southampton into errors. Gradel had a good chance to play in Afobe but over hit it as the quality of the second half appeared to have dipped.

Charlie Austin was then in trouble with his knee on 60 minutes and Pelle came on for him. Fonte played a good ball in for Pelle who headed down into Long's path but Cook got his foot in first and cleared. Long went down though with a knock to his shin.

The game is becoming very scrappy. Arter is seeking attention and asking to be subbed, something with his left foot is troubling him. Gosling comes on for him. 

Josh King did some nice holding off of Betrand wrestling him to the ground. AFCB seem happy to make this an ugly affair now. Saint's brought on Tadic for Long on 70 minutes taking up a position on the left. AFCB took off King and brought on Lewis Grabban.

Tadic immediately put n a low cross but Francis was equal to it. AFCB defending quite deep now. Pelle tries a shot from distance and he just pulls it wide of the right post but Boruc had it covered, That's woken the Cherries up a bit. 

The passing is pretty poor at the moment by both teams. Cook takes a high boot from Pella and wins the free kick. AFCB  are hanging on a bit, but the back four and keeper have been great.

Just 12 minutes left. Van Dijk fouls Afobe from the throw in. Matt Ritchie sends in a free kick from just inside the Saint's half on the right and Benk Afobe is there, rising and beats the keeper to it. He's headed it in 2-0! Massive goal! 79 minutes are up.

Corner now to the Cherries. Pushing - free kick to the Saints. Spoiling tactics coming into play now from the Cherries. Lewis Grabban stands on the ball when it's a Saint's free kick.

Romeu plays a super ball through to Mane. Boruc spreads himself and makes the save!! It's all gong AFCB's way tonight. Boruc off his line quick and right at Mane's feet.

AFCB's fans are singing now. "We come from League Two!" Four minutes of extra time are being played. Gosling had a speculative effort that would not have been out of place at Twickenham, but it does not matter. The points belong to AFCB 

Eight points clear of the relegation zone. A first win against the Saint's since 1958 - a nice symmetry of it being 58 years ago. AFC Bournemouth are putting the foundations down for a longer stay in the Premier League and they finally managed to put in a home performance to thank their fans. That is what I was most pleased about. Southampton might not have played well but they still had to be beaten. At least their fans can have the consolation that it might mean there is a better chance of the two teams playing some more games next season. There's still work to be done, but a couple more wins is going to make it hard for AFCB to get caught. Eddie must ensure the players don't take their foot off the gas though. UTCIAD!

AFCB (4-4-2)
Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter (Gosling 66), Surman, Gradel, King (Grabban 71), Afobe

Cherries' Subs
Federici, Elphick, Distin, Gosling, Pugh, Grabban, Murray

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 7, Smith 6, Francis 6, Cook 9, Daniels 8, Ritchie 7, Arter 7, Surman 7, Gradel 7, King 8, Afobe 6

Southampton (3-4-1-2)

Forster, Cedric, Yoshida (Davis 34), Fonte, Long (Tadic 70), Mane, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Van Dijk, Betrand, Austin (Pelle 60)

Saint's subs
Clasie, Davis, Tadic, Martina, Targett, Pelle

Referee Watch Mike Dean: 6/10 nothing free kicks given but for once they mainly favoured AFCB. I'm not complaining.

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