Date: 7th January 2018 at 9:49am
Written by: Neil Dawson

ournemouth are fast becoming the come-back specialists of the country as another late goal spared their blushes in the FA Cup against League one leaders Wigan. Whether Eddie will have fancied a wet January Tuesday night in the North West entering the fixture schedule is another matter but at least his side go one step further than last year in this once prestigious competition.

As predicted Eddie rang the changes but did what most fans had asked for by putting out a half and half side. Having admitted that Millwall had taught him a lesson last year this shouldn`t have been a surprise. Surman, Ake, Boruc, Afobe, Smith, Cook and Fraser adding a considerable first team experience to support the newcomers.

Bournemouth couldn`t have got off to a worse start though with Brad Smith all at sea at the far post allowing GRIGG to convert the nod-down. It set the tone for an abject first half. Disjointed passing, sloppy in possession and lacking the fight needed Wigan cruised around the pitch quietening the home fans into an eerie gloom.

Mousset was the liveliest player on show and he had three great chances to equalise but was just slightly too close to the keeper twice and the other time Afobe managed to block his shot in what I was largely his sole contribution to the match.

Afobe`s performance was only beaten in terms of woefulness by Surman who put in the worst captains performance since Edward Smith looked over the bow of the Titanic and said ‘I think we can steer round that`. It got to the stage where the home fans cheered when he passed to one of our players.

It was no surprise when Wigan extended their lead when POWELL`S free-kick took a wicked deflection to loop over Boruc. Bournemouth had no answer and the half time whistle was a merciful release.

HT Bournemouth 0 Wigan 2

Eddie had seen enough and wanted to get more threat on the pitch. Brad Smith and Mahoney gave way to Pugh and Ibe and that transformed the game. After the game Howe spoke about the importance of relationships and restoring the ones he did made the team click much better.

The game flowed much better and Wigan spent the half camped in their own box with the odd foray out. Ibe was causing them panic and Mousset continued to threaten but chances were at a premium. When Cook headed against the cross-bar in an identical move to his goal against Brighton it looked like the chance had come and gone but Ibe had other ideas? Beating two or three people out right he fed MOUSSET whose bullet right foot drive flew into the top corner.

It had been a long wait for the Frenchman and Bournemouth poured forwards with power, Pugh turning Byrne inside out on a number of occasions. Walton in the Wigan goal denied Fraser from a free-kick, Ake`s header as Bournemouth got closer and closer.

It was like the Alamo but the home side were luckly when they got hit on a rare break and Toney was brought down for what looked like a certain penalty to me??..not given. The play swung back and in the 92nd minute Pugh turned Byrne inside out for the last time and COOK rose majestically to head home his cross. It could have been even better but with the last kick of the game Fraser hit the foot of the post with a 20 yard fizzer. And off to Wigan we go!

FT Bournemouth 2 Wigan 2

Boruc 5 – Not much to do but distribution not great.

A Smith 7 – Lively display and looked like he cared.
Cook 6 – Distribution poor but fought to end and vital goal.
Ake 7 – Usual class display
B Smith 4 – Looked like he had been out a long time.

Fraser 6 – Lively display in two positions – tried hard.
Surman 4 – Woeful passing display and weak in the tackle.
Hyndeman 6 – Grew into the game. Lightweight but good vision.
Mahoney 5 – Some good runs but struggled on wrong foot.

Afobe 4 – If any scouts were here we’ve got him for ever.

Mousset 7 – Lively goalscoring display with some great runs.

(Ibe 7/Pugh 7 – some much needed quality and trickery)
Fox27 wrote…
The clich├ęd game of two halves. The first half was embarrassingly poor. You looked at some of the money paid for those players and you really see why I bore people to death about our recruitment team. That said – Surmans display as captain was awful. Not only was he one of the two worst players on the pitch – he spent most of his time moaning at the new lads who must have been thinking ‘have a look at yourself pal’.

It was very disjointed for the amount of first teamers on the pitch and that was because we were carrying three players (Surman, Afobe and Brad) and Hyndeman and Mahoney were inching into the game. We also were poor in the air at the back and a little lightweight in midfield. Surman has never been one to get stuck in and with Hyndeman similar in disposition we lacked the ability to win the ball back. Mousset was also playing up front on his own and had nobody to like with as Benik was in Amble mode.

The second half saw quality out wide which stretched Wigan to the extent they couldn’t cope and we were able to push up. It was a much better performance but chances were not created frequently enough. it is credit to this team though that they don’t know when they are beaten and we fought to the end. Cook had practically been playing as a centre forward for the last ten and he got his just deserts. Tricky return tie though as with a key relegation battle following it it could well be a weaker team than played today.

Report by Neil Dawson

bigfatolly added…
You missed out the Wilson substitute appearance Neil.

Largely agre with what you say but I thought Mahoney played quite well,was good with the ball at his feet and put some better crosses in than our senior wingers do.

Spot on about the midfield,if we were to play Hyndman who was tidy but not aggressive,then you need Gosling or Arter in there with him,not Surman,they are too similar.

I really don’t know what we have done to Benik,he seems genuinely shot to bits,although he was unlucky not to score before he got hauled off.

I keep thinking back to his goals in our first season away to Palace and Sunderland,and home to Norwich and Saints,and it just isn’t the same player,we’ve ruined him trying to make him into something he isn’t.

Fox27 wrote…
Surman better than a 4. Smith simply not on the same wavelength and did some good tidying up when balls were played too short in midfield. Jordon had a good game, albeit vs league 1 opposition, and was always looking to make things happen. Big thanks too for him tonight for stopping and signing autographs and photos with the kids. I think he is starting to grow as a player and in my opinion was doing more to put a shift in.

We looked much more balanced in the second half but that cannot hide the fact that with so little football Hyndman (who looked to turn his back on the free kick) and Mahoney are nowhere near challenging for a premier league start.