Sunday, 7 May 2017

Cherries fight hard to earn 2-2 draw with Stoke City

Match Report
AFCB 2 v 2 Stoke City
6 May 2017
Attendance: 11,046

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End of the season games can be slow affairs and while this one did not sparkle at first the irritability and spats between Adam Smith and Arnautovic soon brought this game to the boiling point. A well organised Mark Hughes side made it tough work for the Cherries who fell behind to an own goal when Lys Mousset, making his first Premier League start, inadvertently headed past Artur Boruc from a Stoke corner on 33 minutes. While the game soon became ill-tempered, only Harry Arter picked up a yellow card. Bournemouth seemed out of sorts until a rousing run by Adam Smith provided the perfect low cross for Josh King to dummy and leave for Junior Stanislas to side-foot in past Jack Butland, just after the hour. Yet, when Max Gradel came on, AFCB switched off and a right wing cross lead to a knock down from Aranutovic that Mame Diouf had the simple task of converting from six yards. The Cherries rallied once more though and another right wing cross from Adam Smith saw Max Gradel's header saved by Butland, only to rebound to King who saw the ball go in, when his shot hit the back of Ryan Shawcross to make it 2-2. The point made AFCB mathematically safe and equalled their points total of last season with two games to play.
Francis leads AFCB's greetings to Stoke City.
Stoke City line up for the minute applause before kick off. 
AFCB's players pay their respects.
More pictures will be on the Match Day Gallery later this morning

Bournemouth gave Lys Mousset his first Premier League start to replace the injured Benik Afobe and Junior Stanislas came into the starting line up on the right wing to replace Ryan Fraser who moved to the bench. Jordan Ibe also made it back int the squad.

Stoke City made one change with Mame Diouf replacing Saido Berahino who had been ill, but made it to the sub's bench.
First Half
It came as a bit of a surprise that this game would have so much niggle about it. Arter provided the first foul on Shaqiri and it started a busy afternoon for the referee's whistle. The home crowd enjoyed Adam Smith's clever play to evade Diouf near Bournemouth's box. Josh King then put an in an early shot from the right but it came at a comfortable height for Jack Butland. 

Joe Allen was breaking up play in midfield well and AFCB were getting on the wrong side of the referee's whistle in the fist 10 minutes. Stoke came close when Diouf sped down the right wing and crossed for Arnautovic, who had his shot well saved by Boruc.

AFCB resorted to a Francis launching a fabulous cross-field long-ball to Daniels from his own half to get AFCB up the pitch, even if Lewis Cook eventually saw the move come to an end with his shot being blocked.

Baily Cargill one of the subs then rushed around to the Bournemouth goal to tie-up Boruc's boot lace which received a round of applause when the game paused. Arnautovic then went down injured having ran into Adam Smith, only to get up again as play was not stopped. This angered the Bournemouth crowd who gave him a hard time from then on. It didn't slow Adam Smith though who cut in from the right and hit a curling shot that came back off the upright with Butland beaten, while the rebound was hit skyward by Lys Mousset, when he had a great chance to score.

AFCB were finding it hard to get round the back of Stoke who were defending deep. Shaqiri and Arnautovic were who they were looking for on the break. Arter was doing his best to slow them down, but his challenge on Jo Allen on 26 minutes saw him receive a yellow card, much to the home crowd's disapproval of referee Tierney. Shawcross was also in the referees ear doing all he could to make the referee give a red card for the incident. Arnautovic saw it as an opportunity to square up to Adam Smith and the referee was a bit slow to see what was going on.

Steve Cook next made a great block as Arnautovic almost slipped Shaqiri inside and Cook masked the goal just 4m out and saw the shot deflect for a corner.  Stoke City continued to come forward and won another corner that Cook had to concede, but this time Lys Mousset rose highest only to head past Boruc and give Stoke the lead.

AFCB did their best to get back level before half time with a King volley that went wide, while at the other end Shaqiri fired over as well.
The referee leaves the pitch at half time.
AFCB subs warm up.
Half time score.
Second Half
The Cherries managed to start forcing the game more up the Stoke end of the pitch, even if Jack Bultand had not had much to do. An early free kick on the right edge of the Stoke box, won by King had to be re-taken, but Arter a shot deflected for a corner.

Stoke also had a corner in the 54th minute after Shaqiri shot was deflected, but neither team was finding much space. On 58 minutes Howe decided to change things and Mousset was subbed for Ryan Fraser to run at the Stoke defence.

Stoke were getting ambitious with Whelan fancying his chances from distance as his shot cleared the Ted MacDougall stand! Stoke had the perfect chance to extend the lead moments later when a cross from Joe Allen on the right was headed over by Arnautovic from six yards, unopposed!

Such a let off installed some determination in the Cherries. They put some strong passes together with Lewis Cook and Adam Smith playing Ryan Fraser don the right and his cross was dummied by King and fired in by the on rushing Stanislas to equalise on 62 minutes, 1-1.

The game was lively now. Daniels had a half claim for a penalty shout when trying to get past Whelan and Shawcross, but the hand involved was deemed accidental.

Max Gradel came on for Stanislas after Stoke had just had a corner. AFCB didn't mark up quickly enough and Cameron put in a cross from the right that was contested in AFCB's box by Arnautovic and Francis, but fell nicely to Diouf who was right on target from a few yards out, 1-2 to Stoke with Adam Smith and Artur Boruc down on the ground.

While there was still some 20 minutes to go, it was the kind of game where you wondered if the Cherries were really able to comeback a second time. The time management of the game by Stoke City was extremely annoying though and there was a determination not to let Hughes' tactics spoil the day.

Lewis Cook did his best to change the picture by firing a low shot wide of Butland's left post. It was then that Stoke made a change and brought on Jonathan Walters for Diouf. AFCB had reorganised with Gradel playing as a forward behind King and Fraser on the left when Jordan Ibe came on to replace Marc Pugh.

Ibe settled in to the right wing position and while he lost the ball at first it wasn't long before it was won back and Fraser had come across to his side. Lewis Cook spotted Adam Smith in space on the right and he put in another good cross that max Gradel headed at the feet of Josh King, only for the ball to come off the back of Ryan Shawcross go in to the goal on 81 minutes - it was 2-2. 

Joe Allen was still looking to create as AFCB were pinned back, but clear chances were not being created now. Arnautovic was subbed for Pieters on 90 minutes and four minutes of added time saw the game out with Max Gradel having the only half chance, deciding to shoot from distance having not seen Josh King coming up on his right. 

While Stoke had some late pressure, AFCB could be satisfied in keeping them out to claim a point.
A good home performance for the Cherries keeps them above Stoke in the table.
This was a peculiarly aggressive game at this stage of the season between two mid-table teams, but it showed that the game mattered to both. It was physical and very much a battle, but Stoke came to defend deep and attack on the break while doing all they could to waste time when they were ahead. AFCB have a great weapon though in Adam Smith and this crosses really did much of the damage to unlock Stoke's defence. While Eddie Howe will not be impressed with the way AFCB fell behind, he will have been encouraged by their energy and desire to comeback after Stoke went ahead twice. To be in 10th place at the end of the day is a good place to be after such a hard won point.

Ryan Fraser at the end of the game.

AFCB: Boruc, A Smith, Francis, S Cook, Daniels, Stanislas (Gradel), L Cook, Arter,  Pugh (Ibe), Mousset (Fraser), King

AFCB Subs: Allsop, B Smith, Mings, Cargill, Gradel, Fraser, Ibe

AFCB Ratings: Boruc 5, A Smith 8, Francis 6, S Cook 6, Daniels 6, Stanislas 7 (Gradel 5),
L Cook 8, Arter 7,  Pugh 6 (Ibe 5), Mousset 5 (Fraser 7), King 8
Stoke City: Butland, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Muniesa, Allen, Cameron, Whelan, Shaqiri,
Arnautovic (Pieters), Diouf (Walters)

Potters' Subs: Grant, Pieters, Adam, Sobhi, Walters, Berahino, Crouch

Referee Watch: Paul Tierney 4/10 - an ill-tempered match and yet only two Bournemouth players were booked and no Stoke players. Arter's foul on Joe Allen was controversial, as he appeared to get the ball cleanly, but with both feet off the ground he was always likely to be booked. There was little punishment for Stoke's constant game management.

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