Written by London Cherry
I’m quite enjoying sitting down each Wednesday to watch the Cherries. Granted the picture isn’t amazing and it’s a shame to miss replays but nonetheless it’s an experience!
Jason Tindall made a few changes to our starting 11 and brought Adam Smith back to replace Diego Rico, Dan Gosling came in to replace the stricken Jefferson Lerma with Dom Solanke and Junior Stanislas also recalled.
It was a slow start with both teams cancelling each other out. City looked a nice, tidy looking team without threatening too much. The big, burly figure of Semenyo had the first real chance shooting into the side netting with Begovic blocking the path to the goal. A fortuitous free-kick then allowed Stanislas a chance to work his magic but, not for the first time, his shot lacked accuracy and whizzed past the post. Our Bosnian shot-stopper then made the save of the game denying Bakinson’s fizzing right-footed drive.
I must admit I thought this was in and felt Begovic deserved more credit for his save from the commentators. Joshua King was in the right place at the right time to deny a Kalas header and some good skill from Diedhiou saw his deflected effort hit the outside of the post. I was relieved when the referee brought the half to a close, it was a tough watch from a Cherries perspective and Jason Tindall needed to get the players in quickly to change the course of the game.
Within five minutes of the restart and the players looked rejuvenated. A quick side note here; we need to start performing the whole game not just in fits and starts as better teams will punish us! Joshua King seemed everywhere and he bullied and harried the City defence at every opportunity. Gosling had half a chance before some excellent play from Adam Smith released Lloyd Kelly who in turn drilled his cross into Solanke. The ball seemed to take an age to loop up and agonisingly for the Cherries hit the outside of the post and span away. Junior Stanislas then had a good chance to work the keeper but dragged his shot wide when he should have done better.
As the game ticked on their only seemed to be one team who wanted to win it. Steve Cook was marshalling the defence superbly and Begovic was a spectator for the final 45 minutes. Arnaut Danjuma came onto replace Junior Stanislas as Jason Tindall went for victory. Arnie brought some much-needed impetus to the proceedings and the Robins were pushed back again. Dom and Arnie himself had half chances before some nice interplay from Lewis Cook, Dom and Arnie resulted in the Dutchman being 1:1 with Bentley. Initially, I thought his touch was too heavy but this led the Robins keeper to come storming out and for Arnie to lift the ball delicately into the open net. A big celebration resulted in the London Cherry household, wary it couldn’t be too loud to wake his family up!! They’ve learnt to leave me alone on a Wednesday night now!!
10 minutes left, could we hang on?! The result was relatively surprising, well easily. The Robins huffed and puffed but a snapshot by Martin, which almost hit the corner flag was the closest they got to our goal. The referee blew his whistle and without setting the world alight we were up to second!
Analysis – I enjoy reading everyone’s views on here so wanted to leave some of my own. We weren’t spectacular tonight and we haven’t been so far this season, but we’re up to second! This bodes well for the future as the likes of a fit David Brooks and a fully fit Jefferson Lerma can only help to strengthen the team. Whilst I thought City looked decent at the back their frontline lacked any pace or cutting edge. Granted they were without a few players but I feel this is a huge difference in the two divisions. I’m hoping the likes of King, Danjuma, Solanke and Brooks can take advantage of this in the future.
Man of the match against Bristol City
Begovic 8 – Continues to grow in confidence with every game. Was a spectator second half but made some crucial blocks and saves first half.
Stacey 7 – Not as effective as Smith on the other side, but becoming a very important player for us in the wing-back role.
Mepham 7 – Gives me palpitations at times but is gradually growing into the season. Looked assured, especially in the second half.
S Cook 9 – I stated a few weeks ago he would have been the player I most wanted to stay and Cookie is proving me right. Another outstanding Captain’s performance.
Kelly 7 – See Mepham. Leaves me worried at times, especially when we’re playing out of the back, but growing in confidence each game.
A Smith 8 – An excellent second half by Smithy who looked back to his best. Nice problem for JT to have with Rico itching to play left wing-back as well! I’m sure he’d still rather play on the right too!
L Cook 8 – I’ve always enjoyed watching Lewis play and despite his occasional wayward pass, he ran the midfield second half.
Gosling 6 – Dan can do a job in this division. Jeff makes us a better team but there’s no doubting Dan’s commitment. Slightly off the pace, I felt though tonight.
Stanislas 6 – Again slightly off the pace. Not Junior’s night tonight and needs to hit the target more but he’ll come good (if he stays fit!)
King 7 – At times a world-beater, other times a Sunday league player. If we can get Josh King the former for most of the season we’ll be around the top two come May.
Solanke 7 – Still frustrates me with his occasional Bambi on ice tendencies holding the ball up but perhaps we have been spoilt by Callum in the past? Gave everything to the cause and did display some nice link-up play.
Sub – Danjuma 9 – Was only on for 15 minutes or so but changed the fortune of the game in our favour. A wonderful clipped finish to secure the winner. Could you show the other lads how to hit the target Arnie?!
MOTM – Captain fantastic for me. Steve Cook is such an important player for us and he showed it again tonight!
Final thoughts – Onwards to Saturday and Rooney’s boys. We definitely look more solid at the back this year and if we can crank our undoubted talent going forward into fourth rather than second gear the Championship better watch out!