Written by Neil Dawson
Jason Tindall’s first game of a new era for Bournemouth saw them nervily dispatch a Blackburn Rovers side full of endeavour but lacking in the quality the home team showed. The ability to score with flair and also concede with ease shows that it might not be that different from standard fare!
Jason’s eagerly anticipated first line upheld a couple of surprises – no Rico (knock apparently) and no Brooks (working his way back to fitness). The side stuck with the 3-4-3 that had looked good in pre-season. Travers got the nod between the sticks.
The first half started cautiously, Bournemouth wanting to pass out from the back in PL style, Blackburn just pushed up and harried in Championship style and often we didn’t have the quality to make it work. This led to a nervy period and we were all glad to remember what it is like to be back in a league where when you give teams opportunities they don’t take every single one of them. Unfortunately, we also had to remember how clunky the transitional play can be at this level with both sides giving the ball away at will. Chuck in as well how many fouls get waved on and there was a pleasant feeling of familiarity about it.
What there wasn’t was chances – it was all a little camped in the non-action areas of the pitch despite bright bursts by Danjuma. Lerma and Cook in midfield were being a little over-run and there was little evidence of cohesion with Solanke acting more like a wall than a sponge. Stan wasted several free-kicks as is his way. It was no surprise with the lack of quality from both sides that the goals scored were long-distance pops. Bournemouth scored the first when from a broken-down set-piece Stanislas fed STACEY who thumped a humdinger with swazz (I have a 13-year-old to thank for that technical analogy) which bent it away and in off the post.
The goal gave confidence and there were some great periods of play particularly with Danjuma and Lewis Cook. It was a surprise therefore when Blackburn equalised with their first real shot in anger and it was a goal that Mark Travers won’t be looking back on tonight. JOHNSONS drive from 30yards was routine for a keeper (no swazz) but it spun in off the stricken youngster’s arms. A poor first half but that’s not uncommon in the opening weeks.
HT Bournemouth 1 Blackburn 1
The second half started with much more energy and as a result, was far more eventful. Particularly looking like he had had a designer trainer up his **************** was Solanke who showed much more endeavour and movement. The main difference was the full-backs were pushed much higher up the pitch and the wingers playing inside and behind them – the way this system should be played if it is going to work. There was a lot of early possession in Rover’s half but it was Johnson again who had the best chance against the run of play but he blazed wide.
Bournemouth re-took the lead with a great team goal, Stacey released to pull back for Solanke who turned and found LERMA to cooly despatch a low drive into the bottom corner. The team had confidence coursing through its veins now and enjoyed a great spell where they looked to put the game to bed – Solanke was denied spectacularly by Kaminski’s fingertips. With us camped in Rovers’ half it was great to watch but the final quality was elusive. This allowed Rovers to creep back into it particularly after Lerma was removed for protection and Gosling came on to leave a few holes at the back.
The inevitable happened when after a couple of close scares, notably when Armstrong fired over from twelve yards Blackburn equalised. Nyambe got past Kelly too easily on the right and Cook fatally stood off ARMSTRONG allowing last seasons top scorer to turn and find the bottom corner with ease. Blackburn then had their post-goal purple patch but Dolan missed arguably the games best chance to give them the lead.
Bournemouth were a team that broke to effect in the last few seasons and used that to great effect to grab the games pivotal goal. Smith broke and played the ball to DANJUMA who then scored a goal worthy of a full house. The Dutchman has a penchant for cutting in and shooting as he has demonstrated even at Champions League level. He teased at pace before checking right and bending a beauty into the top corner beyond Kaminski’s outstretched hands. It would have brought the roof off but instead, some guys in hazmats clapped as a crisp bag blew along the touchline – such is the weird world we live in…..
There was one more pivotal moment to come. This see-saw match looked destined for an equaliser when the ball reached sub Evans six yards out and free at the back post. Kelly arrived from nowhere with a heroic block and the points and his manager’s gratitude were in the bag.
FT Bournemouth 3 Blackburn 2
Man of the Match against Blackburn
Travers 5 – Not a lot to do but really bad error when called on.
Mepham 6 – Steady enough without breaking much sweat
Cook 6 – Marshalled the centre well but a little slack on the second goal
Kelly 7 – Caught in possession a bit but great block to save points
Stacey 7- Buzzed about, superb goal and defended well.
Cook 7 – Good use of the ball and defended better.
Lerma 7 – Excellent goal, battled hard, passing a little off.
Smith 6 – Useful display never as attacking on his wrong foot
Stanislas 5 – Largely anonymous
Solanke 6 – Terrible first half but made up for it in 2nd
Danjuma 8 – Sparkling foot skills and a goal to remember (MOM)