Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Palace see survival hopes rise after simple win at Bournemouth

Match Report
AFCB 0 v 2 Crystal Palace
31 January 2017
Attendance: 11,286
AFCB and Palace enter the field.
The Cherries stooped to their 11 defeat of the season by going down 0-2 at home to a Palace side that did not have to do a great deal to take all three points. Palace simply defended well and ensured the Cherries could not find away down their flanks, and this nullifying tactic saw them through the first half with the help of some innocuous free kicks that referee Jonathan Moss handed out like confetti, even if he did not seem to want to book any one. This all slowed AFCB's game and the shattering blow that Scott Dean's close in goal provided, two minutes into the second half, suddenly gave AFCB a burden which they just couldn't manage to comeback from. A last 20 minutes finally saw AFCB find a bit of fight in their belly, but it was far too late and an error from Simon Francis in added on time was also turned into a second goal, as Andros Townsend crossed well to pick out Christian Benteke who headed in for Sam Allardyce's first win since he took the Palace job.
AFCB look to add to their home wins.
Palace had not won under Sam Allardyce before this game.
AFCB made a few changes with Simon Francis returning to the side, while Brad Smith came in for an injured Charlie Daniels and Benik Afobe came in for Callum Wilson.

The match was a crucial one in that Palace were still in the bottom three at kick off, while AFCB new that a win could make a massive difference to their gap above the bottom three. It was quite a sedate start to the game until van Aanholt ploughed down the left wing and found McArthur, who in turn saw Wilfred Zaha on the edge of the box. The Palace winger took no time in lining up a shot and hit a low drive against the post in the third minute.

Brad Smith was busy keeping Zaha from getting down the right wing. When AFCB did win another free kick though and Puncheon hit the wall the ball back in landed right at Scott Dann's feet but he hit a poor shot wide from six yards.

Broom Hill Garden Buildings

If that didn't unsettle AFCB, then a double attempted punch clearance from Boruc a few moments later sent the jitters around the stadium. The Cherries were getting pulled up for just about everything by a rather picky referee who wouldn't let the game run. It suited Palace as they could just launch high balls into the box for Benteke and hope for a chance.

AFCB's first real shot came on 22 minutes when Josh King turned quickly from the edge of the box and hit a strong drive that veered just wide. Stanislas later also saw his deflected shot land just wide of the Palace goal in what had been a tame first half for chances created.

Palace should have extended the lead when Zaha brought almost a point blank save out of Boruc from six yards on 39 minutes, which meant the teams went in 0-0 at half time.

Allsop is among the subs with Federici missing.
Half time score baord.
The second half was just beginning when Palace's first goal came after a quickly won corner. The corner was punched away by Boruc to van Aanholt, and the pass out wide for Puncheon saw the ball fired back into the box, and a flick on made the ball loop to the far post where Scot Dann stabbed the ball home.

AFCB fans might have expected the Cherries to finally find their top gear now, but rather like the January transfer window, it was beginning to look like a bit of a let down of a performance. While Wilshere was happy to accept the passes and look for others and Josh King looked fired up, there was not much else stirring for the Cherries.

Ryan Fraser was getting doubled up on and muscled out of the game by Ward, who even crowded his arms round the wee man in an embrace to stop him at one point, and still was not carded. van Aanholt missed a good centrally placed chance to test Boruc when he shot over and the only happy cheer form the Cherries' fans was to see Ward finally get a yellow card.

AFCB were making  more mistakes now with Brad Smith giving McArthur a shot that he blazed over. Howe needed to make changes and on the hour it was Callum Wilson who came on for the luckless Afobe, and Jordan Ibe who replaced Junior Stanislas.

Ryan Fraser put in a free kick that dribbled off a group of players but just not fast enough to trick Hennessey who could claim the ball without any alarm. Harry Arter came on for Brad Smith while Andrew Surman filled in at centre-back with the Cherries reorganising.

At last, with 20 minutes to go there was a bit of energy and excitement to AFCB's play. Jordan Ibe was getting down the right and putting crosses in. Josh King was making a heroic run in twisting an turning  past five players before finally being fouled.  This was more like it.

At one point King dashed in between Puncheon and Ward to reclaim a lost cause of a ball that was running out of play to great cheers from the AFCB fans. King was clearly wanting his team-mates to pick up his tempo. While we saw shots fired wide from Arter and Steve Cook drill a great low drive inches wide, there was nothing to really worry Hennessey in the Palace goal until four minutes of added time went up, and Jack Wilshere hit a stinging free kick shot that came off the post, while Hennessey turned quickly to reclaim the ball.

Just when the ground started to empty, it was a long kick out from the Palace keeper that made the victory even more complete for Sam Allardyce. Simon Francis had lots of time to make a clearance from the kick and instead of passing to Adam Smith he put the ball straight int the path of substitute Andros Townsend who whipped in a deep cross for Christian Benteke to head past Boruc and make it 0-2.

Arter made a good impression when he came on.
Scott Dann  and Wayne Hennessey celebrate their win.
The Cherries may not have liked the misty rain or the month of January, but they came out like a tortoise not quite sure if they should be eating off scraps or waiting for someone to give them a plate full of delicious chances in front of goal. The quality was missing and Palace were great at putting up an organised double-dike defence of men in front of the ball that was simply impenetrable. Suddenly the finishing line of somewhere between 36-40 points looks a long way away if this side cannot find some belief and start working together to take games by the scruff of the neck. All Palace had to do was wait for one of the balls they put in the box to land at the foot or head of one of their players, and when Scott Dann got on the end of one of those crosses, you couldn't see any way back for the Cherries.

Where do AFCB go from here? Goodison.


Boruc, A Smith, Francis, S Cook, B Smith (Arter), Surman, Wilshere, Stanislas (Ibe 62),
King, Fraser, Afobe (C Wilson 61)


Allsop, Gosling, Pugh, Arter, C Wilson, Mings, Ibe

Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Dann, Delaney, van Aanholt, Zaha, Cabaye (Ledley),
McArthur (Townsend), Puncheon (Flamini), Benteke

Palace Subs
Speroni, Flamini, Remy, Campbell, Townsend, Ledley, Fryers

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, A Smith 5, Francis 5, S Cook 6, B Smith 6 (Arter 6), Surman 5, Wilshere 7, Stanislas 5  (Ibe 6), King 7, Fraser 6, Afobe 5(C Wilson 5)

Referee Rating: 3/10 Jonathan Moss - too many stoppages in play. It really was frustrating and Ryan Fraser was given no protection at all. Can't blame the ref for AFCB's poor performance though.

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1 comment:

  1. Based on the team's performances in 2017, and specifically this game, I think it is time to worry about relegation.