CHAMPIONSHIP | 28th December 2014 | ATT: N/A | REF: David Coote (9/10)
Bournemouth 1-0 (pen)
Where are we in the league?
POINTS COUNTDOWN | PLAYED: 24 | WON: 14 | DRAWN: 6 | LOST: 4 | Points: 48
EDDIE HOWE MATCH REACTION
STEVE COOK REFLECTS ON 2014
MATCH REPORT: Better than Barnet
On Sunday 28th December 2008 AFC Bournemouth were playing Barnet in a League Two encounter looking to stay in the League after a 17 point deduction.
For those who don’t remember, or have tried to wipe it from their memory, it was a dismal performance under the tutelage of the flat-cap f**kwit Jimmy Quinn. Thankfully, it was a happy new year as Quinn was given the heave-ho on New Year’s Eve and the job was given to one Eddie Howe.
Six years later AFC Bournemouth were visiting the New Den, top of the Championship, producing scintillating performances week in and week out. However, the last three visits to Millwall had seen the Cherries pick up exactly 0 points. Plus, it was only a month ago that Millwall had produced a stirring comeback to grab a point in a 2-2 draw at Dean Court.
It was two points dropped that day and a reminder exactly how difficult the Championship can be, but this time we were better prepared for the challenge ahead. This time we knew what to expect as Eddie Howe pointed out after the game “It was a very hostile atmosphere but we dealt well with the challenge that was posed and concentrated on the football which is the most important thing for our perspective”
“While Millwall were looking to compete, which they did, especially in the first half hour of the game, they didn’t manage to get a shot on target in the whole game.”
According to the opposition manager Mr Holloway the game hinged on a couple of key decisions. He was right, but those decisions weren’t just the penalty and the alleged offside that gave the Cherries their two goals. We will get to those in a bit. The poor decisions were being made by him. Once again he decided to change his team which didn’t work, but he might want to take a closer look at the games stats.
While Millwall were looking to compete, which they did, especially in the first half hour of the game, they didn’t manage to get a shot on target in the whole game. In fact, they only managed three shots on target, plus a few half chances. You can blame the referee as much as you like, but when a team can’t get a shot on target in 90 minutes this would suggest that the referee is not to blame.
The first 45 started with both sides creating chances from free-kicks, but no-one was seriously testing the keeper. However, the home side did go close when Elphick made a rare mistake (won’t be able to do that in the Premiership), but Boruc was on hand to save the day.
Just past the half hour mark the first ‘controversial’ decision from the ref was made. Daniels was tackled right on the edge of the box and went down, penalty. The argument wasn’t whether it was a foul, it was a matter of whether it was in the box or not. The referee said yes. These are the decisions you get when you are top of the league and not down the bottom, apparently. As you might expect Ian Holloway had something to say “I couldn’t believe how quick he blew the whistle. You gotta be 100 per cent sure. Well, to be honest, he’s 200 per cent wrong, because it’s outside the box.”
“To keep the Millwall fans happy another ‘controversial’ decision was made just before half-time. This time Callum Wilson was allegedly offside”
Having had a closer look, we cannot be sure but its looks on the line, so a penalty it is, 100%. Up stepped Yann Kermorgant to stick the ball in the bottom corner and send the away fans in raptures. To keep the Millwall fans happy another ‘controversial’ decision was made just before half-time. This time Callum Wilson was allegedly offside, to add to the pantomime theme, oh no he wasn’t. He squared to birthday boy Harry Arter who looked like he had missed the chance to double the score, oh no he hadn’t. He swivelled and tucked away his shot to make it five in five league games.
With a two-goal lead at half-time Ian Holloway decided it was time to try and re-enact the second half from the home fixture. On came Ricardo Fuller and a change of formation. Millwall were looking to bully the Cherries defence once again and went close 10 minutes into the half. Once again Magaye Gueye was brought into the fray in a 3-5-2 formation. Eddie Howe decided that he need to shore up the midfield and replaced Kermorgant with Dan Gosling. Gosling went close as Millwall finally started to run out of steam.
The lack of ‘decisions’ going their way, and the fact they were being outclassed, Millwall were getting more and more frustrated. None more so than Shaun Williams who’s attempted stamp on Wilson saw him get a straight red with ten minutes to go. While the hosts had little chance of getting anything from the game, Williams moment of madness killed off any lingering hopes. Ritchie, Pugh, Wilson and Arter all had chances to add to the Cherries goal count, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.
Thanks Eddie and the boys for a great 2014. May 2015 bring more of the same.
TFTSE MAN OF THE MATCH
It was the midfield maestros birthday and he celebrated with a great all-round performance, a goal and no yellow card. He has matured into a class act in the middle of the park and rarely makes a mistake and now scores goals.