Sunday, 20 November 2016

Aké heads in AFCB's first away win against Stoke

Match Description
Stoke City 0 v 1 AFCB
19 November 2016
Attendance: 27,815
AFCB secured an away win and a clean sheet away at Stoke City.
A big AFCB crowd headed up to Stoke with hope but perhaps not confidence in what might be achieved on the day by their team. A few changes to the side made it an anxious but highly anticipated game after the international break and one of those new faces was to grab all three points for the Cherries - Nathan Aké. It was as if the script was written for him before the match, not having played any Premier League minutes this season. But Eddie Howe always had faith in him, even if he was not selecting the Chelsea loan man. He heads the ball so well though and has a big heart. It will be difficult for Howe to ignore him after this, but Howe will do what he thinks is best for AFCB. While the Cherries came under intense pressure like they did against Crystal Palace, this time they had a bit of luck and cleared their lines time after time when Stoke could easily have nicked a point. It was a battling display and one that will build team harmony and belief. 

The big news from AFCB's camp was that Nathan Aké was to start his first Premier League game for the Cherries at centre-back. Another change saw Artur Boruc with a back injury and he had to miss out for Adam Federici to make his first start this season. Andrew Surman was not able to return to the squad, while Jordan Ibe was ill, so Dan Gosling kept his midfield starting place and Callum Wilson was back to start up front with the trio of Stanislas Wilshere and King spread across the pitch behind him. Meanwhile, Bojan returned for Stoke City.
Match Description
Nathan Aké started at centre-back and Simon Francis at right back, while Steve Cook moved over to the right centre-back position. It was AFCB with a good start, Josh King put Callum Wilson through and while the offside flag went up it shouldn't have.

Federici then took a good early touch from a Shaqiri cross. Arnautovic was straight on Arter and got the first ticking off from the referee. Stoke were looking to go long to Bony, but the accuracy was not always great. With Josh King giving a free kick away, Stoke almost unlocked the door, but AFCB's defence did enough to snuff out any clear chance.

Stoke were not pressing until AFCB got to half way, which enabled the Cherries to retain some possession easily in their own half. AFCB were starting to knock it about with a space created for Gosling who hit a high shot from distance over the bar just before the 10 minute mark.

Josh King was getting robbed in midfield, but Aké was showing good positional sense to clear. Wilson made a run straight at goal and Shawcross managed to take him out in the box from behind and got nothing of the ball. How it was not a penalty is staggering! Roger East made a mess of that.

Josh king then almost went one better but Grant saved well from close range. Wilshere next threaded in King and Grant saved well again down low to his right. AFCB were well on top, but still had no goals to show for it.

Joe Allen received the first yellow card for a foul on Josh King on 16 minutes. Stanislas took the free kick and shot from distance, clipping the top of the  Stoke City wall for a corner.

Francis made a strong run up the right and was found by Steve Cook, but Grant took the cross well. Arter's early ball for Wilson again caused difficulty for Stoke and while Martins Indi put the ball out, Roger East only had eyes for a goal kick! Bony then went in high on Aké and he was next in the book. The foot was over shoulder height from Bony.

Aké was straight back winning a header in the box. Pieters was next to foul as Stoke looked for ways to stem the AFCB onslaught. Francis then won a great free kick on the right wing against Pieters. Nathan Aké punished Stoke with a header in the box from six yards on 26 minutes. Stanislas took the free kick and Aké just drifted away to bend his run before making a direct run at goal to head in 0-1 to AFCB!

The Cherries were pressing high now and looking to  press home the advantage. Arter was down injured though after Shaqiri just clipped his heels.

The home crowd were turning on the referee and perhaps their own side a bit at this stage. They were not enjoying what they could see. AFCB's packed midfield was winning everything. Pieters made yet another foul on King and was surely just one away from a yellow card for persistent fouling.

A free kick for Stoke was given against Arter just outside the box, as Arter tugged back Joe Allen who had made a strong run in towards goal. This was a dangerous position just on the D.  Shaqiri lined it up and bent it well over the top. Stoke were definitely getting back into the game, but they were not creating any clear chances at this stage.

Francis made a great diving header clearance. Pieters and Francis were having a good battle. AFCB were back to playing keep ball though and the passing was looking fabulous when they were stringing six or seven passes together.

Aké again made a vital challenge on Bony when Arnautovic had beaten Francis, but Pieters was offside anyway. Another Aké challenge led to a Stoke corner with Shawcross heading it right at goal but Steve Cook headed it off the line! Fantastic defending.

Francis and Pieters continued their battle with Francis not getting the decision in the Stoke half. Bony then had a chance from an Arnautovic cross, but Aké made it difficult for him and the ball cleared the striker for a goal kick.

Dan Gosling then ended up getting a yellow card perhaps for dissent. Stoke were finishing off with the possession just before half time, but Arnautovic, when free, could only hit a tame shot at Federici. Shaqiri then put in a wasted cross as three minutes of added time went up.

Stoke were being reduced to piling long balls into the box. AFCB had played very well in the first half and deserved the 0-1 lead. It was good to see Brad Smith and Tyrone Mings congratulate Aké as he came off the pitch.

AFCB stats: possession 55%, Shots 5, Shots on target 2, Corners 2, 5 fouls
Stoke City stats: possession 45%, 3 shots, 2 on target, 1 corner 11 fouls
Aké has been superb.
Second Half
AFCB have won an early corner. Bony defends the cross. An important 15 minutes are coming up. Pieters whips in a great cross and Bony's header is well saved, to his right and Francis has now stood on Bojan's foot and it's a penalty! Soft, as Bojan was heading out of the box, but Francis was clumsy. Bojan to take it. Federici is yellow carded for delaying the kick and Bojan's hit the bar!! So it stays at 0-1.

Daniels now wins a corner, but Stanislas is offside. King and Wilson are going on the attack. Wilshere just catches Bardsley though and the game is stopped - Johnson comes on for him. Wilson drifts on to a long ball from Wilshere, but his header is wide.

We are coming up to the hour now. King is put into touch by Pieters. So many free kicks, another one to Stoke this time. Daniels just hoofs the ball out of play. Steve Cook is next to make a clearance. Wilshere and Daniels create a lively move on the left but Wilson can't get on the end of it.

King plays in Francis and the cut back from Francis is just blocked. The game is opening up and the next goal is massive in this game. Who is going to get it? Steve Cook is doing more work at the back now. Jack Wilshere is getting the ball more as well, which is not a bad thing from AFCB's point of view.

Francis in the box a great turn from King almost comes off it comes back to him but he blasts it wide of the side netting! A cross could have been valuable there. Stanislas has a problem with his right shoulder.

We are in the 65th minute. Aké makes up for a poor header with a crunching tackle. Stoke City are being pressed back now. Peter Crouch comes on for Wilfred Bony on 68 minutes, his 150th Premier League appearance.

Afobe now replaces Callum Wilson. Wilson applauds the crowd and takes his time. Afobe's straight in behind but slips!!

Bojan on the break now hits one that lands in row z!  Wilshere shrugs off Allen. He's told to calm it, but it all breaks up the game. Couch wins the header but it's out for a goal kick.

John Walters s on for Bojan after 73 minutes. Francis gets in a good cross and Afobe and Stanislas come close to getting a touch, but it's a goal kick. Francis makes a good tackle on Arnautovic. This game is 100mph stuff now. Francis again clears.

Stanislas plays it out to Daniels. Afobe is bundled over. Wilshere, a dummy and Afobe can't quite make the most of it. They players have given everything. Both sides look shattered and Marc Pugh is coming on. Josh King needs some attention first. An elbow in the back from Pieters perhaps, although it's his ankle or cramp perhaps.

Arnautovic goes down the left and the shot from Shaqiri is over the bar! Chance gone. Pugh is on for Josh King. Eight minutes to go plus stoppage time.

Arnautovic through the middle from a Shaqiri pass and Cook just puts him off enough as he shoots wide!

Afobe not on the same wavelength as Stanislas. Stoke have a throw. Francis makes a big clearance. Afobe makes a good pass to Stanislas but he's blocked off.

Arnautovic and Steve Cook gets the block in. Charlie Adam puts in a big cross and Walters heads it right at Federici! That was Stoke's chance. AFCB living dangerously. Gosling is fouled though.

Covering from Pugh and it's a corner to Stoke. This has to be defended well. Daniels gets it clear. Wilshere's lost it but AFCB survive. Afobe wins a free kick - great time for that. Golsing sends Afobe away and Wilshere crashes a shot against the post! Arnautovic brings a save now from Federici.

Six minutes of added time. Pugh fouls Charlie Adams. Free kick to Stoke. Goal kick! Akee is still winning headers. Shaqiri wins a corner. Off the line by Harry Arter! What a scramble. Shaqiri shoots and Federici holds on to it.

Gosling is caught by Adams and he is yellow carded. Cook makes another clearance. Afobe is down injured. Full time!!

A stunning, battling win for the Cherries. This was a win for the brave way the side set out to attack Stoke from the off. They may have had to hang on for the win, but the Cherries were far better with their passing and movement and Nathan Aké has proved that some of those who don't get to play regularly are capable of coming into to do a job for the Cherries. Federici will also be very pleased with his performance and a clean sheet and the back four were very solid despite the changes. This may give Eddie Howe some reason to think carefully about who starts next game as it is the first clean sheet in three games.

Stoke City
Grant, Bardsley (Johnson), Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Shaqiri, Allen, Bojan (Walters 73), Adam, Arnautovic, Bony (Crouch 69)

Stoke Subs
Given, Muniesa, Johnson, Walters, Imbula, Crouch, Sobhi

Federici, Aké, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Gosling, Wilshere, Arter, King (Pugh 80), Stanislas, Wilson (Afobe 69)

Allsop, Pugh, Afobe, Smith,  Fraser, Mings, Mousset

AFCB Ratings
Federici 8, Aké 9, Francis 8, Cook 8, Daniels 8, Gosling 7, Wilshere 7, Arter 8, King 8, Stanislas 7, Wilson 7

Star Man Nathan Aké

Referee Roger East 1/10 not sure whether he got any decisions right. He does like his whistle but should have given AFCB a penalty first half.

1 comment:

  1. As I have said repeatedly. .you have to find out if the new players can improve the team is to play ake showed..and if he does not get a run in the team now he will find another team in January. what about giving mousse and smith a try and see what they can do....