Written by Rodmorg
Well, that’s our first away win since October, after enduring a 9 game losing streak away from home, Bournemouth brushed aside rock-bottom Huddersfield with some excellent football, but at the cost of what?
The team sheet shown at 2 pm showed early signs of fortune. Jefferson Lerma came back into the side in place of Nathaniel Clyne, and Callum Wilson returned up front alongside Josh King in replacement of Jack Simpson.
The game started off to a blast – Ryan Fraser blistered down the left-hand side numerous times to poke the ball into the box to try and find Wilson or King, but to no avail. Wilson had a chance to score after fifteen minutes but was saved from close range.
It only took another four minutes for WILSON (20) to snatch a deserved lead. A good ball by Brooks allowed Wee Man to pull wide and cross for the England International, who slid along the ground like a rock star, with the ball hitting his chest and into the Huddersfield goal. A good start for the striker after nearly two months out with injury, all in front of Gareth Southgate too.
Huddersfield continued to try and pry open the resilient Bournemouth defence but youngsters Ake and Mepham were there to throw away any chance Huddersfield had of scoring. Lerma and Surman showed great coverage for the full backs too, as every opportunity the Terriers had of countering were squandered.
However, at the brink of half-time, Adam Smith was forced to limp off with a hamstring injury for Clyne. A major concern for Eddie and his team.
Half-Time Huddersfield Town 0-1 AFC Bournemouth
The second half was far less one-sided than the first and far more scrappy. King had an excellent opportunity to feed an isolate Wilson for his and Bournemouth’s second, but his lay-off was magnificently blocked by a defender. Frustrations did boil over for the home side though; midfielder Stankovic lunged aggressively at Wee Man leaving the Scotsman lying on the ground in pain and was only given a slap on the hand by the referee Anthony Taylor as he brandished a yellow card.
Worries for the Cherries did arise however as, after an hour of play, David Brooks limped off for Solanke who ironically came on from injury. It did seem that the number of injuries was to be equivalent to the number of goals scored as not even a minute later, FRASER (66) doubled the lead for the visitors. From a throw-in, King wiggled past three defenders to feed Wilson, who ran to the byline and unselfishly crossed to the isolate Fraser to drive into the bottom right-hand corner. An assist and goal for both Fraser and Wilson.
Bournemouth continued to drive forward for a third. King continued to be… King… and somehow missed his footing from two yards out and then had an opportunity to put the icing on the cake with a sweet volley but sliced it wide.
The game petered out for a Bournemouth win, their first since October, and surely safety for a fifth consecutive season in the Premier League – after a poor run of form.
Full-Time Huddersfield Town 0-2 AFC Bournemouth
Artur Boruc – 7: Had to get out of his armchair a few times to punch away a cross. A mere spectator of the match, and another clean sheet under his belt.
Adam Smith – 7: Showed great energy, a shame his impressive performance was cut short though.
Chris Mepham – 8: A new Steve Cook? Brave, brought the ball forward and exceeded in confidence. Well worth the money in January, whatever people think of his price.
Nathan Ake – 8: Cleared every cross, tracked back well and showed great bravery in situations.
Charlie Daniels – 7: Although not involved as others, he was composed and didn’t make any mistakes.
David Brooks – 7: Set up the first goal and a disappointment his game was cut short to injury.
Andrew Surman – 7: Instructed players on passing and made a good defensive contribution. Great energy and stamina for a 32-year-old too.
Jefferson Lerma – 8: Style of play during the match really suited him. A solid midfielder that sat back and cleaned up balls forward. Gels really well with Surman.
Ryan Fraser – 8: Scored and assisted once again. Showed great determination and confidence on the ball and his positioning was second to none.
Callum Wilson – 8: Came back into the side like he was not even injured, excellent contribution with his goal and assist. Certainly impressed in front of Southgate; a great opportunity to show his class and perfected it.
Josh King – 7: Lung busting moves forward and showed great skill. Would have been a 9 if his finishing was better.
Nathaniel Clyne – 7: Defended well and filled in the void of Smith. Probably his best performance since he signed.
Dominic Solanke – 6: Particularly quiet, but made some good moves forward
MOTM: So, so, tough. Everyone contributed really well (especially the backline) but it’s got to Wilson for me, given his return from injury and the subsequent lifting of the ‘Southgate Curse’, with his goal and assist.
Finally! An away win and a clean sheet too. 6 months without an away win is undesirable but all the players contributed and looked determined to win. Although it was against a team in awful form and rock bottom of the table, 37 points is basically safety. However, it did come at a cost; the substitutions of Smith and Brooks are of particular concern. Fortunately, both weren’t on stretchers but they both could be out for a matter of weeks.
Besides, we impressed today. The scoreline certainly flattered Huddersfield. If finishing was better, we could have been three or four goals to the good. The return and impressive performances of Lerma and Wilson don’t show that we rely on these players to win (eg Chelsea) but it displays they’re certain influencers of how the game will be played. Their partners – Surman and King – presented far more confidence and capability on the ball than they are without their partners. Back to the usual of Smith at Right Back and Daniels at Left Back seems more suitable, plus I think Daniels deserves some game time and I’m certain he’ll get some now due to Smith’s injury.
Anyway, performances such as these show that we are capable of staying in the league and even pushing for potential European football. Although the game was patchy at times, the excellent contribution by the side was nothing short of impressive. Playing out from the back and with pace in attack certainly justifies a good football match to watch.
Audenshaw Cherry wrote…
I would have given the man of the match to Mepham.
Showed his class today and, with Ake, kept it really tight at the back. Also, his distribution and surging runs were brilliant. – Join the conversation, click here.