Date: 27th August 2014 at 10:29am
Written by: northstandmark

After the first round win at Exeter, another League Two opposition were the task at hand for Bournemouth last night. There were slightly fewer changes from Howe this time. Camp remained in goal, Steve Cook remained from Saturday with no Elliott Ward. Baily Cargil made his home debut, with Adam Smith and Ian Harte completing the defence. Gosling came in to partner O’Kane, with Pugh and Fraser running the flanks. Pitman and Rantie the strikeforce.

The game started at a good pace, only a few minutes in and the crowd thought we’d scored when Eunan O’Kane’s piledriver crashed off the bar from 20 yards. The passing was quite slick with plenty of movement between midfield and attack. Adam Smith was taking every opportunity to charge forward from right back whist O’Kane conducted the tempo like a seasoned pro. On the other flank Pugh was busy, and he was enjoying the extra yard of pace he had over his opposite number. The final ball wasn’t always quite there mind.

Some of the interplay down the right between Smith and Fraser was lovely, although you’d have to say Smith’s continuous attacking and linking with his partner on the flank was made easy by the lack of any threat from our visitors down that side.

Several times the pattern of play seemed well rehearsed. Smith, Fraser, and Rantie would combine down the right, Rantie in the channel trying to pull the ball back across the box. This brought about a couple of near misses, before it paid off 20 minutes in. Rantie pulling back to Smith, who squared to Gosling, who calmly slotted in for 1-0.

Only a short time later it became 2-0 in slightly bizarre fashion. Pitman was slowly wondering back up the pitch from a failed attack. The visiting keeper’s goal kick went out to his midfield, this was passed back vaguely in the direction of a defender, but actually went straight to Pitman. Brett couldn’t believe his luck to be gifted a one on one with no defender anywhere near him. Pitman rounded the keeper and passed into the net, with the crowd laughing as much as cheering.

Right at the end of the first half Northampton almost gave their supporters something to cheer. A sloppy pass gave the ball away and let Northampton in down our left side with Harte scrambling to get back. A nice cross came in towards the far post finding centre forward Marc Richards, who could only head over the bar. A let off, but thankfully it was to be Northampton’s only real chance of the night.

The second half will be hard to write about, because the pace slowed considerably and it became more like a keep-ball training exercise for periods. Initially Northampton came out the blocks with a few tasty challenges, they probably had a talking too at half time and were told to work harder. The ref booked one partially naughty challenge.

Rantie’s had one run and tame shot from a tight angle before his contribution to the night ended with picking up a knock, Callum Wilson coming on along with Ritchie. The game spent most of the time in midfield second half but Wilson’s introduction did add a little more decisiveness to our play at times, as compared with Rantie. Whereas Rantie worked the channel, Wilson would pick up with his back to goal centrally, drop the ball off and then look for a return ball in behind the centre back. A slightly different threat for Northampton to deal with.

One thundering Ian Harte effort was palmed away straight to Wilson who shot wide, but Wilson would get on the score sheet when Gosling’s effort was parried on 80 minutes,Wilson’s header was enough to force the goal for 3-0.

Stanislas made a brief appearance and had a couple of long range efforts over the bar, before the game was brought to an end. Credit to the 332 traveling Northampton supporters, not a bad number for a wet Tuesday night in the League Cup.

I shouldn’t write a report without mentioning Baily Cargil. Granted he and Cook didn’t have a huge amount of defending to do – but he is so assured and composed, you’d never know he was 19. He fits into the mold of passing, technically comfortable defender we look for, yet can put himself about when needed.

Report by northstandmark
Cherry_Bozzo added…
All in all a comfortable evening where we passed the ball around very well against opposition who did not live up to their performance from the previous round. With better finishing, or a bit more urgency at 2-0 up second half, we could have had a few more goals.

A few thoughts on the players.

Pugh should have done better in the first few minutes when a lovely Rantie pass put him in with only the keeper to beat but his shot missed the target entirely. Otherwise usual mix of tricks and mainly weak crosses – a good first half but poor second.

I think Cook can be grateful he was not up against the likes of Rhodes last night. A good few sloppy passes and first touches – will need to improve for the Norwich game.

I think Northampton had at least three free headers in the first half but fortunately their players attempts were poor. We still need to sort out the defending of high balls into the box.

O’Kane was very classy and my MoM, Fraser quick and tricky with a mixed end product, Cargill assured and confident, Rantie worked hard but shooting is poor for a forward, Camp, Harte and Brett all competent solid performances.

Smithy was excellent going forward but still goes down too easily for my liking and struggled again in the air against his man. Personally feel he needs to buck up defensively if he is to challenge for Francis’s place once he is fit again.

Gosling is one that frustrates me at the moment. He clearly has the ability but still seemed off the pace even against a league 2 team. Until he scored, I had forgotten he was even on the pitch. Based on last nights performance I do not see him as ready to come into the league starting 11 yet and that is disappointing as he is the sort of player I think could make a big difference.

Still as we all see things differently I am sure a lot will disagree.