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MAN OF THE MATCH
MATCH REPORT: CHERRIES BATTER BLUES BUT LOSE
What did we learn from this game? Many things, but the ultimate lesson was silly mistakes create goals and goals win games
AFC Bournemouth simply couldn’t score today, it was as simple as that. In truth it was wasn’t as simple as that. How the f**k Birmingham managed to win by two goals without effectively creating anything is hard to take. If we were a gracious bunch then we would say that Birmingham were the better team, created chance after chance and deserved their win, but we are not. We have to concede they deserved to win, simply because they scored two goals and we didn’t.
Once again the AFC Bournemouth alarm seems to have gone off late, and the visitors were gifted an early lead through some lazy defending. We can’t knock Steve Cook, after so many MOTM performances, but his early foray upfield, and jog back into position, or not, left the defence exposed in the middle and this is exactly where Shinnie popped up to poke home the ball. Had Cook been where he should have been, would the Blues have scored. You decide.
The only bonus of the opposition scoring early in a game is that the home side has plenty of time to get a goal back and it was Grabban who came closest early on. He had the beating of the tall Mertesacker-like Blues defender all game, his pace exposing the defender time after time. His header was goalbound all the way (we were behind the goal slowly rising out of our seat) until the Blues keeper Randolph sprung across the goal to get a hand on it. So close yet so far, and it wasn’t the only excellent save from the visiting keeper, unfortunately there was still more to come.
Just past the half hour mark the tall fool known as Zigic produced a sublime finish that fooled Camp and the Cherries were 2-0 down. We have already said it once but we will say it again, How the f**k were Birmingham two goals to the good. The highlight as the Blues doubled their score was the dopey Birmingham supporters sat in front of us who jumped up and celebrated. The stewards were straight over and asked them in no uncertain terms to move. Obviously, they got a little abuse and the tough old one got a bit mouthy, but he wasn’t even scaring the kids. The best bit was as they were escorted out of the ground the away fans starting singing We are Birmingham City we sit where we want. And, who said football fans are stupid?
Again the Cherries were creating chances with Pugh having a weak effort straight at the goalie, Grabban shooting just wide, we were out of our seats again. Another cross floated past the keeper but there was no Cherries player on hand to nod home the ball. More the same of the same in the second half and surely we would score.
Sitting in the Ted MacDougall stand is a great position when the Cherries are attacking the goal, plenty of close-up action. What happens when you are sat there and the attacking team dont attack? You dont get to see much action and this is exactly what happened. Birmingham spent 95% of the second half in their own half as chance after chance after chance came and went for the Cherries. Again it was the man Randolph stopping all and sundry.
A very boring half (remember were in the Tad Mac stand hard to see whats happening at the other end of the pitch) was brightened by Mr Zigic. First when he hit the post when offside, making a stupid gurning face, and when he laid on the pitch for around 3 minutes pretending he was injured. Not sure what Birmingham fans think of Mr Zigic, personally we think he’s a bit of a twat.
We have to look at why we cannot score. We created chance after chance. First stubborn and resolute defending and great goalkeeping were on show. However, a predictable Cherries approach make it easy for teams to defend. We have said it before and we are going to say it again. Does Eddie Howe have a Plan B, especially at home. Plenty of great interplay in midfield O’Kane and Ritchie were excellent, but the ball on the ground goes wide and its a cross into the box. Hardly a cross along the ground or ball to feet. What happened to giving the ball to Grabban in space so he could run at the defenders? This ploy only makes it easy for the opposition. There defence was hardly lightning quick suggesting how we should play. A kid behind me summed up our tactics perfectly when he asked his dad, just after Rantie came on, ‘Why are we kicking the ball in the air to Rantie, he will never get that, the defender is massive. Take note Eddie Howe.
Our suggestion is to sit tight for 10 minutes, grow into the game and get a Plan B. Howe could even take a leaf out of Bradbury’s book, play like the away team at home. You never know it might just work.
We are going to leave the last word with AFCB Twitterati Leona, also known as @AFCB_B5
Am still amused at the away fan today who, walking behind me aftrer the game, was waxing lyrical about how well they played! #Afcb
— Leona (@AFCB_B5) December 15, 2013