Date: 9th December 2020 at 8:50am
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Written by kirsikka

After his performance in the last match, Sam Surridge must have been disappointed to be dropped to the bench for tonight’s match. Junior Stanislas the man to come in with Tindall sticking to the three at the back but opting for more width in our forward play.

The pitch bears passing comment upon, looking as it did like a throwback to the 1980s. Still, it’s the same for both teams so you have to deal with it, presumably with studded wellies.

Swansea have an excellent defensive record this season and it was immediately apparent why as they set up to park the John Deere with only the occasional rumble forward.

Despite dominating the early possession the only chance created in the opening spell came from Lewis Cook darting up the pitch with the ball and slipping it to Solanke who dinked in a shot that was deflected wide.

The Cherries were trying to mix up their play with a few long balls but without Surridge, they didn’t come to anything. In fact, it wasn’t until 17 minutes had gone that there was any more meaningful action. Billing and the impressive L Cook combined with the latter again sending Solanke in through the left channel but he skied his shot.

A minute later the Swansea keeper scuffed a clearance that Brooks managed to intercept. His stretch to reach the ball resulted in a fractionally heavy touch which meant that by the time he caught up with it near the goal the keeper was able to close off the angle. Brooks’ attempt to lift it into over the goalie was snuffed out for a corner.

With inspiration in short supply, on 37 minutes Lewis Cook tried to bypass involving anyone else by dribbling from deep and unleashing a humdinger of shot that would have left scorch marks on the grass if there was any but unfortunately it went a fraction wide.

It was mostly a tepid first half those aside. Lots of AFCB possession without a lot created. The only notable incidents were the ref declining to book Swansea players, one for a similar incident to the one where he booked Solanke and another for a blatant pull back that stopped a breakaway.

Swansea had a weak shout for a penalty on 39 minutes when a player volleyed the ball at Rico from point-blank range and it smacked on or near his arm. The kind of decision that VAR may have given only for it to be lambasted by pundits after the match for its ridiculousness.

Tindall must have been pleased with what he’d seen as the second half saw no changes although there was a flurry of activity as the Cherries finally tried to add some impetus to proceedings and take the match by the scruff of the neck.

Lewis Cook was again often in the thick of everything AFCB did, intercepting and nearly setting Solanke through almost straight after the restart but Dom was unable to gather it cleanly.

Two minutes later Billing showed the strength his frame indicates he must possess to muscle his way to the byline and cross the ball ending in a Stanislas shot off-target that really should have made the keeper work and, in truth, maybe should have been scored.

Ayew was the only apparent danger for Swansea with the Cherries looking reluctant to tackle him when he dribbled at them, perhaps wary of giving away cheap free-kicks. A wise choice it seems.

A pattern was emerging with nudges, pushes and strong tackles near the Swansea box from the defenders repeatedly going unpunished. Something of which they took full advantage once they realised with what they could get away. No such luck at the other end though.

In fact, the ref twice stopped AFCB promising breaks for apparent Swansea head injuries including one where the player didn’t even hit his head.

Google Translate from Welsh to English does change Bankes to swan so maybe the clue was already there.

Like the pitch, the game started to get really cloggy until about the 65th minute when there was another burst of Cherries pressure.

First, a Smith pull back, unfortunately, found a defender then a Rico one from the other side resulted in a Smith shot followed by a mass scramble straight out of your local Sunday League, including an unfortunate Brooks air shot from the six-yard line.

Then Billing showed a classy touch to backheel volley the ball to Solanke in the area but his shot was blocked.

Finally, in this spell, the ball broke to Brooks one on one in the area with space all around them. A dream scenario for a trickster like DB and he dinked the ball past the outside of his man and made to go after it only to be blocked off and prevented from chasing it by an outstretched leg. A penalty surely had to follow. Normally banks are only too keen to give out penalties but not this one though as he incredibly waved play on to the utterly bemused expression of Brooks.

The game simmered back down again. Lewis Cook had another shot fly wide of the post before the game descended into a farce of Swansea free kicks with absolutely nothing given the other way.

I was glad the final whistle went as the longer the game went on the worse the decisions got and it felt like the ref was waiting for a Swansea player to fall down in the box.

Frustrating but a decent performance all told, if still with a lot of room for improvement.

Conclusions against Swansea City and Player Ratings

Man of the match against Swansea

Mepham

Mepham

S Cook

S Cook

L Cook

L Cook

Rico

Rico

Your say…

Toronto John wrote…

Well-written as always K. We definitely had a good share of half-chances, just didn’t get the ball to fall our way. In baseball, the expression “a swing and a miss” is used and Brooks and Smithy both had one of those. L. Cook certainly had the engine going, and S. Cook made a couple of sliding tackles (as per) that might have saved us the point.

Now we have to build on our last two performances with home matches v. Huddersfield and then Wycombe on the docket. – Join the conversation, click here.

 
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