Bournemouth at Home 2014/15 In Quotes

A game where before, during and after, other people summed things up for me just perfectly. So I’m going to join with them here to do so. This is last night, not only in my words, but reflected in the words of others. Warning – contains swearing from the off

“In my opinion, parachute payments undoubtedly provide an advantage – regardless of league positions or bounce-back promotion records.” Paul Barber quoted by North Stand Chat.

Let’s go back two and a bit years to a hypothetical 2013, around January. Brighton have just drawn Bournemouth at home in the FA Cup Fourth Round (hypothetical remember) and due to a hypothetical lack of other interesting ties this “South Coast Derby” (ridiculous catchphrase copyright Sky Sports and no one else) has made the Friday night television game.

High flying Brighton are certainly a TV draw. High in the Championship thanks to their ex-internationals like Bridge, Upson and Vicente they are playing a brand of mostly entertaining (but sometimes crab-like) football and pushing for the Premier League. Bourenmouth, meanwhile, are having a very decent season themselves, albeit in League One. To be fair to the hypothetical TV executives it’s a mouth watering tie, containing the likelihood of either a thrashing or an upset, all with a chance of some flairtastic attacking play. When plucky Bournemouth and their travelling army of 1800 loyal fans beat us 2-0 it is regarded as a major shock of the round and Gus Poyet blames everyone from the referee to a small sparrow that alighted on Vicente’s knee at five thirty that afternoon, putting him out for eight weeks.

Fast forward two and a bit years. That’s all. Less than our current manager’s contract length at inception. Brighton are certainly at home to Bournemouth on telly on a Friday night but the general consensus is that their band of ageing pros and loan mercenaries don’t stand a chance against a fast, fluid, attacking Bournemouth side managed by a superb young manager. And, indeed, the correct result is played out, thanks to two pieces of killer finishing in an otherwise, by Bournemouth’s standards, below par performance. The only disappointment is that the away side have only brought 1800 down. Didn’t Norwich bring over 3000 a week ago?

I have to be careful here, given a couple of spats with Sheffield Wednesday sites over their perceived big club arrogance. But come on. We’re not talking about a side like Norwich or Ipswich which is probably about the par I see us on, club size wise. We’re talking about – to quote Gaz again – fucking Bournemouth. To put it in context the only side that were constantly shown on Meridian Tonight after us. As they cut to the sport it would be 10 minutes fawning over Pompey and Southampton, forty five seconds of Brighton highlights and then the words “and Bournemouth lost at home to Northampton Town”.

Not any more. With no top flight experience let alone parachute payments, Bournemouth are showing the whole division how to do it. They have a massive goal difference, they sit on the top of the table and they thoroughly deserve it. They have officially done it within FFP. They have managed to attract back a manager they thought they’d lost, and keep in the face of a fierce managerial merry-go-round in December and January. They have attacking players who can score from anywhere. They have two centre backs, two of the best in the division, that we let go as not good enough. We could yet go down. So when you’re told it’s not do-able don’t believe it. It is. Just not by us.

Bournemouth have been poor but then they know they only need to score once

– my mate Trev at half time

This was as true a quote as there was all night. I actually think we played well in the first half. We had more of the ball and created opportunities for opportunities which was at least better than against Rotherham or Norwich. In the second half we created three cracking chances and put away none of them. We have – by goal tally, ability and effectiveness – three of the worst strikers in the whole division. The moneyball replacement for Ulloa who wasn’t. The happy puppy with similar ball control. And Leon Best who might as well fuck off back Up North now for all the use he is (ten points for scaring linesman, none for taking chances, minus five for effort). By contrast I called both Bournemouth goals just before they went in. A text book free kick from Kermorgant and a thoroughly composed finish by the outstanding Callum Wilson.

Do we have to go Dad?

– The Boy on 83 minutes

Yes, son. Yes we do. It actually took till 85 to get out but I left early. First time this season. Normally The Boy and my writing and the fact that I only ever left The Goldstone early if there was a protest or boycott mean I will stick it out to the bitter end. Last night getting back home at a reasonable time seemed to be the decent long term option. Being Easter holidays and a Friday night it was The Boy’s first evening game. Getting him back home at a decent hour means he’ll get another one. It was an investment.

“We were the more likely to score in the first half but in the last period we tried to push forward and they capitalised on it.
I’m majorly concerned by the lack of goals. The facts are there to see – we haven’t scored in our last three games.”

– Chris Hughton

Sorry Chris. I’ve been a champion of your appointment. When you came in we were dead and buried, and you have taken us out of the relegation zone, but those two lines contradict each other. We cannot be both more likely to score and yet so inept in front of goal. You picked Lean Best, Chris, for Christ’s sake. The realistic thing to say would be “if we’re going to stay up we’re going to need to draw our next four games 0-0” but I doubt that will get the game-by-gamers in. There is Clear and Present Danger.

” carrying on the film theme ‘clear and present danger’ for the next blog?”

– @AEBrownings after the game.

See? Told you.

There is still a clear, present and worrying danger of going down. Millwall, rejuvenated under Neil Harris, have two games in hand and the bit between their teeth. Luckily we don’t need snookers but we may need own goals. Talking of which……

Things better at football than Leon Best. Go…

– Brett Mendoza on Facebook

Suggestions so far include an Owl Cushion, some Kleenex and a bag of shite. To which I’d add Yann Kermorgant, Callum Wilson and even unused* Bournemouth sub Kenwyne Jones.

How times have changed.

*apparently only unused while I was in the ground after which he made a cameo. Thanks twitter friends!

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Bournemouth Away 2014/15 Season – Blunderland

Poor Sami.

A rare away report from this blog, given that its USP is home games only (along with brutal honesty and brutal flatulence). I’ve said before that watching on the telly isn’t quite the same as being there  but our performance yesterday didn’t need the sort of close up analysis that being there would have afforded (though if I had been there I suspect the beer would have put analysis beyond me anyway). Very simply three defensive errors equalled three goals, no points and a bit of a downer on my fireworks bbq.

I can only imagine Sami tripped over a black cat and fell head first in to a mirror before the game, such was the level of his luck. His side did many of the things we’ve been  crying out for. Calde was given a much needed rest having run like a trouper in the previous four. Holla came back in, CMS was restored to the bench and COG wasn’t even in the squad. What’s more, earlier that day, came the news that fans favourite Elliot Bennett was back for a month. Initially we seemed tighter at the back and we had more of the ball and more of the territory. It was an entertaining and open game, perfect for watching with a hotdog and a glass of Zinfandel which was lucky, because that’s exactly what I was doing. The Boy who had put his new replica shirt on for the occasion looked hopeful.

Then, inexplicably, Bournemouth were ahead. Defensive howler number one took place as Greer, on his own and under no pressure, managed to head a Simon Francis cross straight in to his own net. It was an awful and glaring error and it gave Bournemouth an undeserved lead.  But wait, what’s this? Within minutes we were level with a goal from a striker! Colunga finished neatly after being put clean through by a wonderful ball by Teixeira. It was the sort of link up the two had threatened during the Charlton home game but rarely since. We were back on terms.

Again this didn’t last long. Bournemouth retook the lead just before half time. At first glance it was a piece of acrobatic brilliance from Pugh who twisted to strike the ball home, aided by a slight deflection. However the one thing you get watching at home that you don’t at the ground is instant replays. The Bournemouth player was able to execute such a finish because he was unmarked and in ten yards of space. He had the freedom of the whole back post portion of the penalty area. Once again our defenders had switched off.

By this point Calde was already back in the fray, an innocuous looking clash doing for Aaron Hughes who had replaced him. It looked like a bad ankle injury and he was stretchered from the ground.

Even then we managed to claw it back. In the second half a route one kick and flick put Baldock through and to his delight he finished perfectly. 2-2. Had I mentioned it was open and entertaining? Boy was it. But we really needed to not make another defensive mistake.

Oh dear. Oh deary, deary me. Bournemouth launched a rare attack but it looked to have petered out, Callum Wilson being forced wide to the sort of angle that only Joe Bennett can score from, when Dunk basically assaulted him for no reason. It was one of those challenges that could have been made in a bad Hollywood movie in slow motion as the hero stood up yelling “nooooooooooooo”, voice lowered by its slowing down. So stupid was it that actual village idiots took a break from chewing straw to wonder if their position was safe. Naturally Bournemouth tucked it away.

And that was it. Everything we had hoped for going forward came off. Two goals, both from the strikers. Lovely, neat, entertaining interplay. Good ball retention. Not too much getting caught on the break. The faults of the Rotherham and Middlesboro games corrected. Only to be replaced with other, more serious faults at the back. Like I said, poor Sami. In one way this strengthened his hand and in another it made the case for the P45 even stronger.

Here’s where we are. One point and one place above relegation. A manager who has now gone twelve games without a win in both his current job and his previous one. It’s like watching a junior programmer trying to fix a badly designed system, Fix this bit here and something goes wrong over there as a result. Fix that and something else pops out.  When the system works the players let you down and when the players try the system fails.

We go in to Tuesday’s game with Wigan – a must win – with a loan keeper who can’t play (and whose lack of familiarity with the centre backs may have contributed to the own goal), Bruno maybe out injured (we can’t be sure because the club won’t tell you any more), Hughes definitely out injured, Greer and Dunk a card each from suspension and Calderon exhausted. And it’s our defence we need to work on now. Make no mistake, from now until May we are in a relegation battle. Are Hyypia and Jones equipped to lead us over the top? And do they have the luck?

 

 

Bournemouth Away – The Rohan and Ashley Show

I think – ok I know – that I mentioned in my Wigan report that there didn’t used to be so much live football on TV. I also recently wrote a rant about Monday Night Football for TSLR during which it became obvious that we now have football on the telly every day of the week. Or at least some weeks we do. Some of these games will sell themselves to a neutral audience of course. Arsenal versus Spurs? Who could resist. Barcelona versus Man United in the Champions League? Telly booked, beers purchased. Fleetwood versus Port Vale in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (Northern Section) Round 1? Compulsive viewing.

However there are some games that must be a lot harder to sell to the general public. Like, say, a Saturday lunchtime match between the sides lying 16th and 9th in the Championship. You can mention both sides are from the South Coast but then so is Torquay. If they’re not our rivals then Bournemouth certainly aren’t either. I imagine Watford is nearer as the crow flies. My only “encounter” with Bournemouth fans was as a sixteen year old when a coach load of their fans drove past me on its way to the Goldstone. They were all…………..sitting politely reading their papers. A couple of years later I was on a coach to Elland Road, Leeds when another coach full of Leeds fans overtook us and the charmers on that banged the windows and made throat slitting gestures.

You could mention we both play “nice football” and indeed the commentators did during the game but, for me, we are both still a work in progress. You can mention our new investors and new grounds. Ultimately though, you can’t escape the feeling that the game was selected simply because it was our turns. I had no idea how they would sell it to the public. Luckily I didn’t have to listen to them try.

I spent “the build up” in the freezing cold garden of a local gastro pub where two of the mums from the boy’s school were taking photos of the kids with Christmas Face Paint on for a Christmas Card. Yes, I really was having that much fun. I had booked our ‘slot’ specifically so we could get back in time to watch the game. However, as we arrived it became clear that they were a) running late and b) had the game on the tv.

Trying to persuade a face painted three year old that you wanted to stay in the pub for the football is not the world’s simplest thing, however, and so it was that we instead went on a mad dash back home. As I got in and switched on the game it had been going for a minute and it seemed nothing much had happened in that minute. If a goal had been scored, especially by us, this section would have been a bit more ranty.

Talking of Rantie he seemed to be giving us a few problems. As did Matt Ritchie. And indeed anyone with any pace or, for that matter, just wearing a red shirt. Bournemouth came out for the first half with all of their metaphorical guns blazing. We were still in the Guest House, lazily munching on the rest of the toast and baked beans and wondering if the owner, Mrs Cruetbonce, had anything to read that wasn’t the Daily Mail. All except for the Pole In Goal, who made a marvellous reflex save, Calde who had our best chance of the first half, narrowly volleying over from the edge of the box and the Magnificent Rohan Ince. He wasn’t still at the Guest House. He had got up early, gone for a short run to warm up and now wanted to extend himself. Having missed Mrs Cruetbonce’s breakfast he also wanted to devour a few red shirted Bournemouth players as he went. Metaphorically that is.

So dominant was Ince in our midfield that it only showed how weakly the rest were performing. Inevitably we got ourselves in a mess of our own making close to our own penalty area and JFC, who was having a nightmare, committed a fairly obvious foul. Inevitably again, the returning Matt Ritchie was set up to crack a magnificent drive in to the bottom corner with the outside of his foot. Great goal and no more than Bournemouth deserved. 1-0.

Oscar made the needed change at half time, Bridcutt coming on for JFC, and we looked immediately more settled. Not more pacy – this was one game where our lack of pace was to be shown up – but more able to cope. We retained the ball better, broke up their attacks better and actually had a few moments of our own. My wife chose this precise moment to want to tell me something about…something. I’m not sure what it was but by the time she’d finished telling me it was 1-1. I huffily wound back the Sky + to see one of the goals of this or any other season from Ashley Barnes.

Yes, Ashley Barnes. If you read North Stand Chat regularly you’d be forgiven for thinking that Barnes is some kind of evil spirit who’s only function is to take up a spot in the team that someone else deserves, whilst deliberately missing chances. He’s never been anything of the sort of course – he works as part of a team in a formation that is again starting to pay dividends – but his lack of goals are always held against him. So much so, in fact, that I had, only that morning, written a gag about it for TSLR. Let’s just say I had to rewrite the gag. The strike that levelled the match was magnificent. Rarely have I seen a ball better struck. As Tom North said on twitter, if it had been in the Prem people would never have stopped talking about it.

Either side could have gone on to win it. Ritchie should have done much better with one bouncing ball in the penalty box but he shanked it horribly. At the other end Craig Conway finally woke up and crafted a couple of delightful runs and crosses from the left but no one was brave or lucky enough to get on the end of them. The aforementioned Ince eventually came off, looking completely spent, to be replaced by Andrews who again looked completely useless and that was that. 1-1. Fair result in the game they’re already calling ‘the one no one cares about’.