Sunday, 11 August 2019

Bournemouth struggle to get into top gear against Sheffield United

Match Report
AFCB 1 v 1 Sheffield United
10 August 2019
Attendance: 10,714
The new season begins.

Bournemouth entertained Sheffield United at a blustery Dean Court. The puff went out of the Cherries though by the end of the game. They had held a 1-0 lead from the 62nd minutes when Chris Mepham broke the deadlock by stabbing home the ball after a free kick knock down that saw Callum Wilson's shot rebound to him. But it had been Aaron Ramsdale who had been the busier of the keepers for much of the game and while he looked a great bet to get his first clean sheet in the Premier League, Billy Sharp stole in at the back post to give the league newcomers a well-earned point against a Bournemouth side that didn't find it easy to get forward and break away from their sideways passing game.

There were a few surprises in the Bournemouth line up with Aaron Ramsdale making his Premier league debut and Philip Billing starting in central midfield, while Diego Rico won the spot for the left-back position. Just as noteworthy were the absences of new signings Arnaut Danjuma and Jack Stacey who did not make the 18-man squad, and Harry Wilson ended up spectating on the subs bench.

There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

Sheffield attacked from the first minute with a ball over the top for McGoldrick with Mepham stretched but Ramsdale saved well to his left.

Adam Smith made a break up the right but his cross was just too high for Wilson in the centre. Bournemouth played with three centre-backs and Rico and Smith outside.

Lerma tried a audacious clip past a player and volley but it went well wide.

Fraser made a strong break on 10 minutes when Mepham headed out of defence, but Wilson's cross did not find King on the left.

Sheffield were gaining in confidence with Robinson hitting a shot on the turn from 20 yards that Ramsdale had to push out down to his right on 19 minutes.

We found out that Billing had a long throw on 24 minutes. His shot moments later almost cleared the South stand.

Kevin Friend finally awarded Ryan Fraser a free kick on 32 minutes, but it goes straight into the keeper's hands.

Sheffield won their first corner on 42 minutes, but Lundstram could only shoot wide.

Adam Smith shows some poor control and is then booked for fouling O' Connell.

Mepham is just squeezed out from a shot from 10 yards. Sheffield tried to get something just before the break, but Robinson's shot is pushed out by Ramsdale and O'Connell's shot is after the whistle.

No goals before half-time.

Second half
Mepham has to slide in to give Sheffield an early corner. Ramsdale has to punch out a cross from Norwood. McGoldrick then goes close with a drive just past the left post.

Billing is winning his fair share of sliding tackles. Fraser picks up the ball 40 yards out finds King but Lerma's shot is blocked.

Bournemouth win a few kick and King tries a volley that is blocked on 56 minutes.

Rico chips in a cross that Wilson grabs and controls it, before Billing hits a rocket that Henderson saved. VAR was checked but the penalty claim was not given. Aké won the header from the corner but couldn't direct it.

Another fee kick to Bournemouth on 62 minutes and Billing keeps the ball alive with a header at the far post, Wilson goes close and Mepham scores from the rebound close in.

McBernie replaces McGoldrick.

Fraser is booked for diving. Steve Cook has to put a header out for a Sheffield corner. This is going to be a nervous last 20 minutes.

Mepham wins a few kick on the right and Cook goes fit an overhead kick that Henderson has no trouble in collecting.

King wins a corner on 77 minutes and Rico skies the shot.

Lundstram is subbed and Freeman is on after 77 minutes. Lerma is fouled yellow card for Fleck.

Basham is replaced by Sharp on 82 minutes.

Mepham gets into trouble and Sharp gets the better of him and Ramsdale is out of position before a defender gets back to clear.

Free kick to Sheffield with three minutes to go. Baldock is slipped down the right side from the free kick and McBurnie scuffs his shot. The ball bounces around the box and bounces out in front of goal, and it's in 1-1. Billy Sharp has the equaliser.

Solanke is on for Wilson. There are four minutes of extra time. King is down in the box but no VAR.

Fraser puts a free kick over.
Just the point for the Cherries.
Bournemouth will consider this two points dropped at home having been just two minutes plus extra time away form the three points. But on balance the point was a fair result. Sheffield were well organised and nullified Bournemouth's attack and Ramsdale had to make several saves to keep United from going ahead early on. Sheffield created several chances while Bournemouth only really created one good chance from which they scored. Why Howe didn't change the formation or change the creative side of the team is something he may think about post-match, but the game was finally balanced when the Cherries were 1-0 up and Howe clearly felt that the side could hold out. The problem was a moment of poor concentration and Sheffield United took their deserved point.

We can say Bournemouth missed the inspiration of David Brooks, but Howe could have put Harry Wilson on to try and take the game further away from Sheffield United. Settling for holding out for a 1-0 win is always risky and this one didn't pay off.

AFCB Line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Daniels, H Wilson, Simpson, Ibe, Surman, Solanke

AFCB Ratings
Ramsdale 8, Smith 6, Mepham 7, S Cook 6, Ake 6, Rico 6, Lerma 7, Billing 6, Fraser 6, King 5, Wilson 5

Cherry Chimes' MoM: Aaron Ramsdale

Referee: Kevin Friend -2/10: he was particularly annoying in booking Ryan Fraser for a suspected dive and for not giving several free kicks during the match, but that's what we expect from Kevin Friend.

Sheffield Utd
1 Henderson, 2 Baldock, 3 Stevens 4 Fleck (Booked), 5 O'Connell, 6 Basham (Sharp 82),
7 Lundstram (Freeman 78), 11 Robinson, 12 Egan, 16 Norwood, 17 Mc Goldrick (McBurnie 63).

Sheffield Utd Subs
8. L Freeman, 9 Mc Burnie, 10 Sharp, 15 Jagielka, 23. Osborn, 25. Moore, 27. Besic


  1. Fair write up but do you also refer to Man City and Man Utd as Manchester?

    1. I think I mentioned Sheffield United a few times. There is only one team from Sheffield in the Premier League, so I don't think it is too hard to get your head around.

  2. Fair assessment and a draw the right result. With hindsight I'm wondering how this would have gone had freeman been on as an attacking midfielder from the start. More chances both ends probably. Grazer can count himself lucky being in the pitch after clearly stamping on Norwood and I'm not convinced it wasn't a 2nd dive that got him the free kick that got your goal. All that said fair report and fair result.

  3. Clear handball in sheffields goal. No var review for lowly Bournemouth. Stolen 2 points. Linkear sums it up with 'good win for Sheffield united'. We'll be lucky to survive this year if var is so against us.