Thursday, 5 March 2015

Beating Wolves was just the tonic for the Cherries

The Cherries know exactly how good they are and what they can sometimes do better, but it is putting everything together when you need a result that will mark out the better teams from the also-rans in this close division. The contest is really on now as the Championship is living up to its unpredictable nature with several shock results occurring as regular as clockwork. The mountain just seems to get bigger as well with a match against Fulham now in front of AFCB's headlights that are on full beam and staring at their highest ever finish in this wonderful league.
Do the Cherries go to Fulham as underdogs or favourites? 
The trick that Eddie Howe has played is a good one in that he has all season long asked the players to enjoy themselves and express themselves in the belief that what they have done in training would win them games on the pitch. There have been low points and each time the Cherries have come back stronger for the experience, and  if they are to get a win against Fulham then the memories of what they did only two seasons ago to win promotion will start to feel like the same can really happen again.

It is as Howe has said a much tougher league than many others and to do well in it the team has to try and get back-to-back wins against some of the most difficult of places. The visit to the Cottage reminds me of when last season AFCB had to go up to London to play QPR in a night game. It did not work out that night but it is those kind of games that have added to the hurt and experience of AFCB's players so that they can go into the match on Friday knowing that they cannot afford to be a few per cent off of their top game.

The belief will be back now if it had ever wavered and while Fulham have their own concerns, the Cherries should be able to play with a little more freedom than they have done for a while. I think the match against Fulham will be tight and hard fought, but the players will be thinking positive now and it is important that us fans try and keep that positive vibe going on Friday night.

Tomorrow we have a Rival Lines chat with Fulham website Cottagers Confidential. You can see what answer i gave to their three questions on AFC Bournemouth by visiting their sit now!

Is this the Cherries' springboard to promotion?

The win against Wolves only count for three points on the board but when a team has not been winning for a long time it can be a massive bonus to finally register that win. What was pleasing about AFCB's performance against Wolves was the fact that as usual they took the lead and still managed to comeback again when Wolves had equalised. Their heads did not go down and while the second half might have been a bit scrappy they got the points and showed that they can battle it our for wins.

That is going to be really important in upcoming games. The football might not be at its best in these later stages of the league. The pitches will start to turn though as the spring weather comes and they start to firm up with some sun. It could be why AFCB team traditionally have a push at this stage of the season as the pitches improve, but when your team is in a promotion fight it does not really matter how you get the points as long as they keep ticking over.
Fulham stand in the way of back-to-back wins for the Cherries.
Whether the Wolves win is the springboard or a false dawn we will not know for a little while yet. You can tell by the after match interviews though that there was tension building and frustration at the poor return of points from the last few games and that can have a mental strain on the players if they can't understand why they are not getting the points, but doing everything else that they set out to do on the pitch. Now they need to use those good feelings from the Wolves match to take the game to Fulham who will be also searching to keep their home form going. While they lost to Watford away in midweek it was a narrow defeat and Fulham were by no means out of that contest or dominated, so AFCB have another really difficult match ahead of them and if they can enjoy the stadium and the atmosphere the points much just come their way again.

Good luck to Miles Addison who has joined Championship side Blackpool on a 28-day loan. I imagine there will be a clause in there that means he will not be able to line up against the Cherries the weekend after next. He played last night but Blackpool slipped further behind in the relegation battle slipping up with a 1-0 defeat to Birmingham City.

All Departments' latest podcast reviews the AFCB v Wolves match and previews the game against Fulham. You can listen by visiting the All Departments' website or by scrolling down the right side panel on Cherry Chimes until you come to the All Departments' logo and click on the sound bar.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Former AFCB skipper Matt Holland rides for Men Utd

You may have already caught news of this over the social media networks or on the radio but Matt Holland, one of our ex-AFC Bournemouth players and former captain, is doing a bike ride from London to Amsterdam to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United campaign.

The charity has put together a piece on it in which Matt also talks about Bournemouth’s brilliant season so far and I thought that some of you might like to donate and to hear what Matt has to say on AFC Bournemouth's season. Hopefully he will continue to fly the flag for the reds, although I expect he'll also want Ipswich Town to go up as well this season!

Some of the Ipswich fans are cycling the 150 mile journey as well. Just click on this link to find out how Matt is looking forward to his challenge.

You can also check any worries you have about Prostate Cancer on the site and can find out how you can support the good cause. 

When Kermorgant clicks the Cherries hit form

It is no surprise that AFCB start hitting top form when Yann Kermorgant is on his game. I said only yesterday that he is the player that offers something different and can win games when he is determined to pick the team up. Considering the difficult week he had recently and how well he also played against Blackburn Rovers, it is fair to say that Yann may just be the player that can haul the Cherries into the top two places in the Championship if he can keep his form this high for the remaining games.
Yann has been banging in the goals and working keepers in the last few games.
While Yann's first goal against Wolves was well created by Callum Wilson, Yann still had much to do to get across his man and find the net by beating the keeper high into the roof of the net. AFCB are becoming renowned for their early starts and while they have not always hung on for victory it was Yann again who took responsibility to take the penalty kick that won the game. A million and one things might have been going through Yann's head at that moment when he stepped up to take the kick and, while he did not hit the ball as well as he might have wished, it was great to know that the Cherries were getting a bit of good luck for once.

Now AFCB have some momentum and they'll need that against a talented Fulham side. The only sad note of last evening against wolves was that Steve Cook picked up his ninth yellow card and is just one more card away from a two match ban. It was clever then that Elliott Ward was given a minute or two to sample the atmosphere at the end of the Wolves match as he could soon be right in the heat of battle. 
Steve Cook could well miss a couple of games soon unless
 he can go without a yellow card until the end of March.

Not quite Barcelona but the Cherries are working on it

You can say that the Cherries have set a good blueprint in the way they play to climb the leagues as they have in the last few years, but Eddie Howe is pleased to say that the Cherries are not Barcelona - well, not yet anyway. Last night the Cherries just wanted to play well and hope that that would bring them the win they so needed having only registered three points out of their last five games before the win against Wolves. A Yann Kermorgant double put a smile back on the faces of AFCB fans who now hope that their team's tricky spell is well and truly over.
Eddie Howe and Mike Botto share a smile - good times at Dean Court.
Even teams like Barcelona can have the odd bad run. AFCB are not a team that drop off performance levels by large margins and we were told that it would only be a matter of time before the players started to get the wins that the performances have deserved. It does play on individuals minds when things are not going well and while managers and coaches will try and lift them along with the crowd it is not until you get that win that the pressure lifts a bit and the mood becomes more encouraging.

Eddie Howe was certainly pleased by the home win against Wolves: "To beat them hear is very satisfying. ...it was a really good night for Yann I thought he was immense for us... You rely on your strikers and I thought they laid the platform for us."

Eddie added that: "It was a big win for us and hopefully it sets us up for the remaining games." 
The manager was keen to get over to the fans that this team is not broken and did need fixing and that they were strong individuals who know how hard the task is ahead of them. It is going to be difficult, but that is what drives them all on and the result against Wolves is probably one of the most important of the season for the Cherries who have now done the double over them.

"There's no surprises in this division Kris," said Eddie Howe speaking to BBC Solent's Kris Temple. "Us losing is not a surprise, us drawing us not a surprise and us wining is not a surprise - it's a tough league. It's a tough, tough league and to win you need all 11 players to do very well on the day and  for the majority of the season we have done that and even in the five games we didn't win I can't fault the performances and the work rate and the effort the plays gave. They gave everything and sometimes we just fall short, but we're not Barcelona. We're working towards that but we've got a long way to go."

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Yann Kermorgant double sinks Wolves 2-1

Match Description
AFCB v Wolves
3 March 2015
Attendance: (9851, including 1273 Wolves fans)

Yest again the Cherries scored first in a game with a Yann Kermorgant strike on 10 minutes and were pegged back before half time by a long pass that let in Afobe to equalise. So it was going to be another tense second half with both teams desperate for a win to keep their promotion charge on track. The Cherries got a dream start in the second half with Callum Wilson wriggling his way into the box and the referee pointing to the spot after Richard Stearman's challenge. Yann Kermorgant stepped up to put the Cherries ahead again, perhaps not that convincingly, but it was a great night for the Cherries to hold out against a strong Wolves side who really came to play at Dean Court. On a night that Derby County slipped up at the top it is a good feeling to know that the Cherries are still fighting and well in the Championship race.

The Cherries just made the one change from the team that got a draw against Blackburn Rovers with Matt Ritchie coming back into the starting 11 instead of Ryan Fraser who dropped to the bench. that meant that Marc Pugh had recovered okay from his knock in the Blackburn match when he came off after half time and the Cherries were looking to get their first win in six games. For Wolves Doherty and Dickov came into the side, while Price and Iorfa dropped to the bench.

Jason Tindall gives the Cherries team news.

Match Commentary: listening to BBC Solent with Kris Temple and Willo

Wolves are in all white tonight. Francis looks for Wilson  and his cross is too strong but he glided past Richard Stearman. Sako nudges Francis off the ball and then Ritchie does the same to him. Callum Wilson is offside.

Davce Edwards has the ball and Doherty. Arter has the ball and Surman on the left. Pugh and Kermorgant, Francis over to Arter and Wilson off balance loses possession to Hause. Kermorgant chests the ball but Stearman has it. Van La Parra now. Pugh against Doherty and his cross goes into the Ted McDougall stand.

An attacking line up from Wolves tonight. Wilson runs at Stearman and Francis crosses but it's cleared. Ritchie tries to curl one but it's too high and out for a goal kick. Wolves at the back play it to Kuszczak. Hause under pressure from Ritchie. Afobe the former Arsenal man, back to Kevin Mcdonald and van la Parra. McDonald plays the ball over the top and Afobe is beaten to the ball by Boruc.

Pugh on half way on 8 minutes. Wilson 30 yards out and Kermorgant to Pugh and Arter brings in Francis. Arter to Ritchie and Hause cuts the ball out. Edwards goes long but Francis has the ball under control. Wilson on the right into Kermorgant and on the near post Yann Kermorgant scores! AFCB get that bit of luck that they have not been getting. Wilson rescued the ball in the corner and Kermorgant scored with a clever finish. Willo wonders how he did it.

Arter goes in on van La Parra who has to go back to the keeper. Surman over to ritchie and Francis on the right. Surman into Kermorgant and the ball over the top from Wolves! Boruc has to come out and head the ball away.

Ritchie to Francis and Kermorgant coming in at the back but Kuszczak has it even though he dropped it for a second running into his own team mate. Long ball down to Pugh and Stearman releases Dicko and van La Parra. Dicko and van la Parra delays too long and Daniels makes him kick it out of play.

Kermorgant to Wilson and looks for options but Doherty clears. AFCB win the ball back. Steve Cook over to Wilson but the ball runs away from him for a goal kick. "Wolves have set out to attack," says Willo.

Doherty to Batth who puts the ball straight out of play. Kermorgant and Arter right back to Boruc. Cook and Elphick is closed down by McDonald. Surman now and Hause heads it out. Surman and Daniels back to Arter and Francis. Batth wins the ball back to Kuszczak.

Wolves have a throw. "They have score 21 goals in their 17 away games," says Temple. Kermorgant and Ritchie and his deep is too high and deep. AFCB are back in control. Daniels and Surman plays it long. Arter picks up the pieces. Both teams are giving the ball away. Stearman to Dicko who makes a deep cross and Francis can play it out to Pugh. Free kick given to AFCB as Ritchie was caught.

Dicko wins a throw. McDonald to Edwards and Hause. Stearman plays it forward but only finds Elphick. Ritchie and Kermorgant is down with a dead leg. The Cherries have lost the ball but Kermorgant is back up. Elpichick and Dicko come together. Surman comes forward. Arter and Pugh loose ball for Ritchie and the Cherries get a corner from the shot.

Kemorgant tries to kick it goalwards a claim for handball off McDonald but another corner. Surman takes it short but Stearman clears for a throw. Francis goes back and Wilson down the side of the centre half before McDonald clears. McDonald plays it up to van La Parra. Dicko to van La Parra but Steve Cook makes the block. Ritchie looks for Kermorgant but he loses the ball. Wolves have a throw. Afobe is offside after 29 minutes.

Surman up to half way. Dicko into the box but Surman stands firm. Kermorgant onto Wilson on the left. Steps over and Arter shoots with a deflection wide of the left post and a corner. There is a whistle in the crowd that Temple is not very happy about. Kermorgant was sliding in at the back post but Surman was adjudged to foul a Wolves player.

Just 13 minutes to go in the first half. Daniels had the ball, Wilson picks it up and Wolves win a 50:50. "We have dominated, but I would not say we have so much possession tonight as in recent weeks," says Willo.

Space for van La Parra McDonald now to try and play in Afobe but Elphick and Ritchie make the clearance. Steve Cook was left for dead by Afobe, he was that fast. Pugh taking on Batth and Doherty gives away a free kick. AFCB take it early but Kermorgant shoots over.

van La Parra to Hause and back but van La Parra puts it out. Kuszczak comes out before Wilson can close him down. Surman heads to van La Parra, but Surman wins it back. Pugh and Daniels and his crosses is headed away by Edwards. Ritchie on the edge of the box and Francis holds off Edwards. Kermorgant is tracked back by Sako. The Cherries have to get numbers back.

Hause plays it to Kevin McDonald in to Afobe who is on goal and it's 1-1 on 39 minutes. Slotted into the bottom left corner. "It was like a knife through butter," says Kris Temple. McDonald's pass was great took 10 AFCB players out. Afobe had a shirt pull but still finished well with Wolves first shot of the game. It was a long 40 yard pass.

Ricthie back to Kermorgant and Doherty blocks for a corner. van La Parra clears and Sako finds Dicko and Elohick wins the ball. Kermorgant passes to Ritchie. Arter holds off Edwards and Daniels. Surman over to Ritchie and Hause puts the ball out.

Ritchie up to Wilson spins away and shoots, but Kuszczak catches the ball! Edwards wins the ball van La Parra and Doherty but Daniels blocks. Afobe again goes past one and Boruc goes down to make the save. "Wolves are coming into the game more and more now," says Willo.

Arter, dummy by Pugh. Back to Daniels and Kermorgant's cross is blocked by Doherty. Dicko and McDonald goes himself and he shoots wide after a long run of some 50 yards with no challenge! Just one minute of extra time and Cook who slips brings down Afobe and he gets a yellow card. Free kick to Wolves. Cook is now on nine yellow cards and close to a ban.

Sako now to the byline and Kermorgant puts it out for a corner. A powerful header away by Kermorgant and it's half time 1-1.

Half time stats: 
AFCB 58 per cent possession, seven shots, two shots on target, four corners two fouls.
Wolves 42 per cent possession, three shots, two on target, one corner and three fouls.

Second Half
AFCB are kicking to the north stand in this half. Yann Kermorgant does a nice turn but plays a poor ball to Hause. Dicko gives the ball away and Surman has it. Kermorgant and Wilson in and brought down - penalty! Stearman was the man that made the challenge and it's just a yellow card. Yann Kermorgant to take the penalty. He scores, Kuszczak dives over it and while it was not convincing it's in the back of the net. "The keeper's made a hash of that," says Willo. It was a side footer just left of centre and a side foot. 

"A great time to go ahead," says Willo. 2-1 to AFCB. "I think we'll need another one," says Willo. Low ball in from Wolves but Cook stretches and gets a clearance in.

Francis is caught up field but Cook covers. Daniels volleys the ball away and Wilson is penalised for a nudge. van la Parra crosses but Arter clears. van La Parra slides but almost runs into Pugh. Throw to Wolves. Sako and McDonald to Afobe out to van La Parra but Daniels puts it out for a throw. Dicko poorly controls the ball and it's a goal kick.

Pugh down the left wins a corner off Doherty. Arter to take. Ricthie was in there for the header six yards out but it was too high for him. Wolves win a throw. Kuszczak has the ball. Wilson behind Hause but the shoulder barge is deemed a foul.

Pugh to Surman and over the top but Batth and Pugh loses possession. Arter tries to find room. Daniels to Arter and Daniels cross comes out to Kermorgant and Francis cross is headed out by Batth. Wolves have a throw up at the AFCB end.  An hour gone. Doherty and van La Parra is thwarted again by Daniels.

Doherty can't catch up with the ball. "Red Army" rings out. "Wolves have won their last three and not conceded a goal in the process," says Kris Temple. Kuszczak makes a clearance to half way. A scrappy bit of play.

Dicko holds off Cook but Surman blocks the route forward. On the Wolves left and Sako holds off Ritchie. Tommy Elphick is on the ball 18 minutes of the second half have gone. Pugh plays it in to Wilson acute angle but nobody there and it's a goal kick.

"With Wolves having three up front and three in midfield there is more room for Wilson to exploit," says Willo. I'd like to see Yann get his hat-trick."

Matt Ritchie choses the wrong option but Elphick plays the ball out over the East stand. McDonald and Edwards, but Arter is in there quickly. Ritchie has been kept quiet tonight according to Willo. Arter goes back to Francis and Stearman has to put the ball out. Surman and Wilson through two sets up Pugh and a great save by Kuszczak and Stearman on the line!

Arter into Wilson but Stearman reads it and comes out with the ball. Sako runs into Francis. The ball gets changed again as it is flat. Kermorgant with McDonald finds Wilson. Ritchie and Francis to the back post but Doherty gets it clear ahead of Pugh. Fancis to Surman and Francis' low cross gives a corner off Doherty.

Batth clears and Francis fouls Sako and Francis gets a yellow card. Wolves whack the ball straight out of play. Daniels with the ball. Pugh takes on Doherty but it's a Wolves throw and Pugh is limping a bit after that challenge. Brett Pitman is warming up.

Kermorgant with Stearman and Edwards makes a long ball down the middle. The ball is out for a goal kick to AFCB. Kevin Doyle is getting ready to come on and Dicko goes off on 75 minutes. Doyle back to McDonald towards Afobe, Pugh and Cook and Daniels get the ball out.the referee gets in the way of Ritchie.

van La Parra can't get past Daniels. Arter has gone down and he's flat out on his back. A clash of heads. Arter is up on his feet.  Ritchie finds Wilson with 11 minutes to go and Wilson makes a cross and it comes off Steaman for a corner. Elphick and Francis stay back as cover.

Hause wins the header, Francis over the top looking for Arter but Wolves clear. Daniels now. Wilson low shot across goal is wide of the post. van La Parra down the left and a Wolves throw. Afobe but Ritchie gets a clearance in. "Daniels has had an excellent game tonight," says Temple.

Sako is fouled and Adam Smith is ready to come on. The free kick goes over the top. Ritchie comes off for Smith to come on. Kris Temple hears another whistle from the crowd. Kuszczak clears long. Arter on half way. Arter into Pugh and the cross is over hit but Smith is pushed over and the ref gives the free kick even though the assistant ref did not.

Arter delivers the ball and Kermorgant keeps it in. Sako wins the ball and looks for Afobe but Boruc comes out in time. A solid night from Artur Boruc. Pugh gets a card for trying to foul Sako.

Yann Kermorgant gets man of the match. McDonald goes down but it's AFCB's free kick for a foul on Adam smith. Francis launches the ball but Batth clears. Afobe and Doherty. McDonald and Wilson wins the ball. It's a free kick though to Wolves.

Hause and Fancis gives away a free kick in the 89th minute. Sako plays it in and Kermorgant back towards his own goal but it's up to half way. McDonald and Doyle and Sako and a free kick against smith for a block. Kermorgant clears. Pugh and van La Parra puts the ball out, perhaps handball.

Pitman comes on for Yann Kermorgant the goal scorer on 90 minutes. Elliott Ward is coming on for Marc Pugh as well. Four minutes of extra time are being played. Ward clears the ball. van La Parra looking for Hause and a free kick to AFCB in their own box for a foul on Hause.

Pitman gets a yellow card for dribbling the ball away and wasting time. Wilson jumps and Hause smashes it long but Ward wins the header in front of Doyle. Offside against val La Parra. "Allez, allez oh," sing the home fans.

Wolves launch an attack but ward clears. Adam Smith goes down and wins a free kick. Francis has the ball. Kuszczak volleys long. Elphcik and Doyle a cross to the far post and ward clears and the whistle goes. AFCB are back on track - 2-1 winners.

Summary
It was a relief to hear the whistle go. Every man played their part in this win and it was much needed. The confidence should be back now and AFCB can look to go forward rather than worrying what has happened in the recent past. It was important that Charlie Daniels played well tonight and by keeping van La Parra quiet there was every chance that AFCB would get the win. It will have boosted Yann Kermorgant to get the goals and while it was not a clean sheet, there was not too many problems at the back for the Cherries.

AFCB:
Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Smith 83), Arter, Surman, Pugh (Ward 91), Kermorgant (Pitman 90), Wilson.

AFCB Subs: 
Camp, Smith, Ward, MacDonald, Fraser, Pitman, Rantie.

Wolves:
Kuszczak, Doherty, Batth, Stearman, Hause, van La Parra, Edwards, McDonald, Sako, Afobe, Dicko (Doyle 75)
Wolves Subs:
Golbourne, Henry, McCarey, Doyle, Price, Ebanks-Landell, Iorfa

Can AFCB ride the Wolves storm headed their way?

Wolves have been in good form of late and they will know that a win at Dean Court would put them on level points with the Cherries at a crucial part of the season, but a defeat for Wolves would really harm them. The progress of Wolves has been quite low key but they are now looming large as a potential threat to one of the current top six places and this match is now a six pointer in terms of the momentum it is likely to give a winning side.
Enjoy the spectacle tonight. These games are what the Championship
are all about - two great sides fighting out.
Beating Cardiff  last time out for Wolves was perhaps made a little easier with Peter Whittingham getting sent off in the second half, but Wolves had already got their goal in the first half. Wolves only managed eight shots at goal all match so they may not be firing as much as they would like, but the Cherries know that they never give up and will make things difficult. Kenny Jacket has been saying how spirits are high at their club and it is up to the Cherries to upset their good run. They have sold their ticket allocation of 1273 seats for tonight so will be in good voice.

For the Cherries it will be about keeping it tight at the back again as they did against Blackburn. I hope the pressure of needing a win does not weigh too heavily on the players as they just need to try and enjoy the moment of entertaining the crowd in what will be a special atmosphere. A win against Wolves would set the Cherries up beautifully with a visit to the capital on Friday night, and I think a home win would make that Friday game against Fulham all the more easier as they will be able to take plenty of confidence into it then.

The strain is starting to be felt by all the leading teams at the moment and it is just going to be about trying to beat the team in front of you. That is all our players can try to do and we hope then that the rest takes care of itself. UTCIAD!