CHAMPIONSHIP | 01.02.2014 | ATT: 10719 | REF: DRYSDALE
WHERE ARE WE IN THE LEAGUE: 15th
MANAGER MATCH REACTION
MATCH REPORT: IN, OUT, IN, OUT, SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT
The visit of the League leaders brought with it an air of excitement and expectation. This was the best team in the league and we got to see how good we are against Premiership-bound opposition. A sell-out crowd, helped by a top of the table away support, sure there were a few glory supporters in there, much like the Liverpool game, but we are over it, honest, lead to a great atmosphere in the ground.
The away support are typically vocal and the Cherries North Stand singers are the vocal point of the home support. To make life more interesting, we want to see the North Stand take up residence in the South Stand to combat the traveling crews. It should help crank up the atmosphere to fever pitch at every home game. Anyway we digress.
Eddie Howe decided that Tokelo Rantie needed another chance after his heroics against Huddersfield. But, his decision was to provide another false dawn as the diminutive striker failed to make any impact on what looked like a giant defence. He failed to utilise his pace and constantly kept giving the ball away, he looked like a little boy lost. Does he still have a future at AFC Bournemouth? We think so, but he needs to start learning how to deal with Championship defences. He has pace and he needs to learn how to use it. The alternative, use him as an impact sub as opposition defences start to tire. The other option? Cut our losses, sell him and put the money towards another striker.
The first half was a very even contest in the middle of the park, but it was in the final third were the quality told and it wasn’t the Cherries who were creating the chances. Who was man of the match? Lee Camp. This tells you pretty much all you need to know. He made some outstanding saves in both halves. His tip onto the bar from Vardy was good and kept the home side within sight of a result. Camp came to the rescue again as he blocked Vardy’s shot with Elphick tidying up the loose ball. It was Elphick who came the closest with a towering header, but if we’re honest it wasn’t that close.
The crowd knew it and Eddie Howe knew it, he had made a mistake with his starting line-up and decided not to wait any longer as he made two changes a the beginning of the second half. Unsurprisingly, Rantie was replaced by new boy Kermongant and the lightweight Fraser gave way for Matt Ritchie. The new look line-up was undoubtedly a better choice with the home side looking more incisive, but again struggling to create chances. At least it was keeping the gobby t**ts in the away end quiet for a while. Unfortunately, there were still a few in the home end, the stewards and the police were doing there best to do nothing at all. Here’s an example, Leicester fan tells steward, with police standing next to them, I’m a Leicester fan can I go and sit in the away end. No, go back and sit with the Bournemouth fans. Why wasn’t he let into the away end or thrown out of the ground?
Lewis Grabban looked set to tap home to put the Cherries into the lead but great defending denied him his chance. However, it didn’t take long for the visitors to start exerting themselves once again. Much like the first-half, the chances were being created by visitors and much like the first-half it was Lee Camp keeping the Cherries in the game. He produced a stunning reaction save from a close-range header.
With time ticking away, the visitors brought on the old warhorse Kevin Phillip and it was the old fellow that made the telling contribution. A long ball to the back post saw Phillips deliver a header back across goal with neither Camp or Francis dealing with it decisively. The ball drifted across the goal line with Ward scooping the ball off the line. Leicester were convinced they had scored, the Cherries were convinced that the ball hadn’t crossed the line, but more importantly the linesman gave the goal. We have watched the video over and over and over, was it in, was it out, was it in, was it out and still we cannot make up our mind, which obviously means that it wasn’t a goal.
Before we say toodlepip, we cannot go without a special mention to Mr Darren Drysdale. Rarely does a referee get a mention in our reports, and referees in the Championship, so far, have been consistent and coherent. However, there were several occasions where when he seemed to be making some very poor decisions, with an undoubted bias towards the visitors. He decided to let a few strong tackles go early on, but decided to start blowing his whistle when the home side were the instigators. He booked Ward for an innocuous nudge, yet Arter gets sent into the air and nothing. It may be a bit strong to say he was wearing blue, but the very fact that we have even mentioned him means that his poor performance has been noted. We’ll stick him on the TFTSE Hit List