Written by London Cherry
Cherries secure first win of the season:
Whatever your age and despite the fact we’ve had football all summer thanks to the World Cup, I always have an excitement at the start of the season. That first walk across Kings Park, that first programme brought that first teamsheet in. Eddie Howe sprung a slight surprise by starting David Brooks and having Lewis Cook on the bench. Perhaps Lewis playing some of the summer made this decision easier but I for one am looking forward to seeing Lewis and Jefferson Lerma in tandem!
It was an uneventful start to the game with both teams easing their way into the season. Cardiff seemed content to let us have the ball and we seem content to pass the ball around the back. Callum Wilson had our first real chance of the game but his shot lacked accuracy. “Wee Man” Ryan Fraser had started brightly and it was nice interplay from Callum Wilson and Joshua King which resulted in the ball being squared back to Wee man who blasted the ball into the net. The 1-0 scoreline gave us some confidence with Adam Smith and Dan Gosling prominent. The referee was then called into action and gave us a penalty 10 mins before halftime. From my view, in the North Stand, this decision looked harsh on the bluebirds as it seemed to be shoulder to shoulder. Callum stepped up but the goalkeeper read which way it was going and saved it much to the relief of the travelling supporters. The rest of the half fizzled out and we were left to contemplate what might have been a more comfortable lead.
The second half sadly didn’t seem to really get going as a spectacle. Ryan Fraser was our main outlet of success though and one bullet of a cross almost gave David Brooks a debut goal. I remember Cardiff being strong on set pieces in our Championship days and with the scoreline at still 1-0 the nerves started to spread around Dean Court. This seemed to pass to the players as Cardiff then grabbed the initiative. One heart in the mouth moment that sticks out resulted from one of these set pieces but luckily from where I was sitting Asmir Begovic got one of his big mitts to the ball to claw it away from danger. Simon Francis replaced David Brooks as Eddie seemed to move to 5 at the back. I could stand corrected on this though as Adam Smith seemed to be in midfield.
The game had become very bitty (just how Cardiff liked it) and passes were not finding their marks. A courageous Steve Cook header had the big man down for a couple of minutes which resulted in 5 minutes being shown of injury time. Luckily within the first of these good interplay from the midfield released Simon Francis who did well to keep the ball in play before squaring it for Callum to slot home. Que ecstasy and relief from all around me! Jermain Defoe and Lys Mousset were brought on deep into injury time as the Cherries saw the game out for a solid if unspectacular first day win.
Begovic 7 – Very rarely called upon but when he was it seemed to be an excellent stop
Smith 7 – A high energy performance from Adam and someone I feel we need to keep fit this year
Cook 6 – A decent game from Cookie although had his momentary lapses at times
Ake 7 – An assured display from Nathan (whisper it quietly but I’m amazed not one of the big six came calling in the summer)
Daniels 6 – Some good work from Charlie down the left mixed in with some errant passing. Will Rico push him for a starting slot?
Surman 5 – Oh how he splits opinion. I like Andrew as a player as he does a lot of the unseen work but he just appeared off the pace today and gave too many passes away for my liking. Sorry, would prefer Lewis in there!
Gosling 6 – I thought Dan grew into the game and seemed to give 100% to the cause throughout. Just at times slightly slow to get the ball away.
Brooks 6 – An encouraging start from the youngster who you can see as ample talent. It didn’t always work today but I look forward to seeing how he progresses as a player under Eddie
Fraser 8 – Star of the show for me. A highly energetic performance from our “wee man” who Cardiff seemed terrified of
King 6 – I’ve seen better days for Josh but he worked hard for the team without creating too much up front.
Wilson 6 – Callum saw a lot of the ball today and worked incredibly hard. His touch let him down at times and he’ll be gutted about the pen but should be delighted for his goal.
Subs: Francis 7 – Have to give Franno a 7 just for his role in our second goal and the fact he made injury time more relaxing!
Defoe/Mousset – Too Little time for a mark.
Overall view – This was a well-deserved win although not a first-class performance from the lads. But a wins a win and these are the types of games we have ended up throwing away in the past! I was delighted with Fraser’s contribution who looked deadly throughout. Still feel as though we need to shake the midfield up a bit at times though and the idea of a Cook/Lerma combination is exciting. Well done the lads and let’s build from here! Up the Cherries!
MOTM: Definitely for me our “wee man” who terrified the Bluebirds defence all day!
I thought Charlie looked unhappy and he didn’t exactly persuade me he was playing for his shirt. Equally, he made that surging run that led to the penalty. Same with Franno, he’s not fast enough in defence and was grappling with a Cardiff player and gave away a free kick in a dangerous area. Then he goes and makes a run and a pass that results in Callum’s goal, it’s a bit of a puzzle, I’m glad I’m not the manager. Thank you so much for the report. – Join the conversation, click here.