Written by kirsikka
After Saturday’s exhilarating comeback, this evening saw the return To Dean Court of one of AFCB’s favourite sons in Harry Arter playing for a Forest team who just missed out on the play-offs last season.
With that, Forest almost got off to a flier with a wild Harry Arter shot on two minutes. However, this was immediately followed by Brooks getting on the ball near the halfway line and spotting a glorious Stanislas diagonal run from the left of the halfway line to the right centre of the Forest box. Brooks played a ball of which Euclid would have been proud, landing it to the mm into Junior’s run who took a touch and slotted past the onrushing keeper.
1-0 and crucially we’d exposed space in the Forest backline with one incisive pass. Their response was to hunker down in their own half like a team of doomsday preppers to avoid any possible repeat whilst maybe catching us unawares with an occasional forage for food.
There shouldn’t be any surprise in that, Hughton has made a career out of being effective if not pretty and he always looks to start that from a well organised defensive shape.
Bournemouth’s dominance of possession was characterised by constant passing and moving with players always showing for the pass and trying to find pockets of space in which to work. When it worked it was something to behold but the problem, as with the first half on Saturday, was it too often lacked the vertical thrust to cause damage and instead regularly moved side to side.
It did feel better than the Reading first 45, with Brooks the outstanding contributor often looking to glide past defenders in central or inside forward positions to break their shape. That’s where we looked our most dangerous.
Adam Smith, in for Stacey who picked up a knock at the weekend, made plenty of lung-busting runs but was more often than not used as a decoy or completely ignored by his teammates. On the other side, Kelly seemed a little more circumspect in his forays forward but that may be down to worrying that Danjuma doesn’t have quite the same defensive industry that Brooks shows when called upon to get back.
Chances were at a premium but on 14 minutes Danjuma sold Christie a glorious dummy, the eBay equivalent of getting an empty box instead of the expected iPad in the post, and burst into the area. With the angle narrowing, he chose to try and poke it into the near post rather than cut it back to the wide-open Brooks and the effort was saved. Hard to criticise him being selfish given his recent goal-scoring form but it should have been two.
Forest’s single chance of note in the opening 45 was when Taylor got the wrong side of Mepham only to loop his header from a good cross nowhere near the goal.
The ref had a slightly odd half. Yates went heavily into L Cook and also separately pulled Lerma back, Ribeiro went straight through Brooks and Arter hacked Smith but all four clear yellows somehow escaped proper censure.
It was a period that had seen some fine Cherries play but not much created when, in the second minute of injury time, that man Brooks tricked his way to the byline and cut back. With the goal like a gaping maw before him, Stanislas was unable to feed it with his shot cleared off the line at the last moment by the impressive McKenna.
Half time and with Forest defending so thickly it had been like trying to play the ball through, well, a forest. Still, so far so good.
The Cherries came out of the traps quickly in the second half with Brooks sharply robbing a poor clearance and setting up Junior who shot wide.
Solanke, who was giving another selfless performance up front, decided to try and dribble his way through a thicket of three defenders only for Colback to muscle him over with the offence continuing by the merest fraction into the far top right corner of the area. Poor from Colback as Solanke wasn’t going anywhere dangerous and he gave the ref a decision to make.
Maybe someone had a word with the ref at half time about the four missed yellow cards because, soft as it was, he gave it. The kind of decision that’s probably right under the letter of the law but would leave you tearing your hair out and trying to blame the ref if it’s given against you. The real culprit was Colback though.
Stanislas proceed to step up and smash home our first penalty of the season and his second goal of the game.
Shortly after the game fell into a pattern that was almost the inverse of the first half with the Cherries sitting deep and holding their shape, inviting Forest to try and break them down but hoping to catch them on the break with all the space they’d have to leave in behind.
Often times in the past watching AFCB trying to shut out a team was an exercise in nail annihilation it was that uncomfortable. However, this was, at worst, mildly disconcerting. Sure, Forest started to look neat as they knocked the ball about and got a feel for having some possession but there wasn’t a lot created in the way of meaningful chances.
One cross flashed in front of the goal begging for a touch that never came and on 69 minutes Ameobi ran into a sudden block of space in front our area and pinged in a shot to which Begovic class of 20/21 was easily equal. From the resultant corner, Yates headed over when Forest sub Knockaert couldn’t quite keep his cross down.
Meanwhile, the Bournemouth formation changed as Gosling came on for Brooks with Stanislas going to the wide right position and then Rico on for Lerma to return to the three at the back. Nullifying the game to make sure of the result rather than chasing the third, fourth or fifth but maybe letting the other team back in at the same time. That seems to be a hallmark difference in the pragmatic Tindall approach as opposed to the buccaneering Howe one.
On 79 minutes Gosling was booked for a foul no worse than the four the ref let the Forest players away with in the first half and then with 90 on the clock Solanke was bursting into the area looking to get onto a cut back when Colback clipped his heels.
If the first penalty award was debatable this was stonewall but the ref, with a perfect view, waved play on. A very odd performances from the ref all night on the cards and key decisions front.
Still, another three points and another strong performance in differing styles across the two halves. On we go.
Man of the match against Forest
Good report. I did get a bit of kick out of the almost petty substitution of Rico on to counter Knockeart. Would like RoRo to be getting a bit more game time than he is. Other than that no real complaints.
I will say that I thought Kelly had a bit of a poor game, not quite as bad as Rico’s first half vs Reading but then Rico has been consistently excellent this season. I also thought Solanke was absolutely fantastic, his hold up play today was so useful. – Join the conversation, click here.