Written by Rodmorg
The FA Cup is certainly a competition that hasn’t been nice to watch recently. Considering we’ve lost in the third round to League 1 Millwall and Wigan in the previous years, seeing Luton at home may have meant no fourth-round spot again.
But Eddie had other ideas. Pre-match, he promised to field a ‘strong side’ and he most certainly did. With only 2 wins in 15, positivity was needed as Howe introduced Stanislas, Simpson, Billing, Fraser and most notably Surman into the side against Luton. These changes were pivotal as to how the game would play out.
We started off well, Surman played the ball out wide for Rico to cross in brilliantly for Solanke, as his effort was denied by the goalkeeper. However, the inevitable goal came after only 8 minutes as Fraser and Rico linked well for BILLING (8) to hammer the ball into the ground and for it to float into the net; rather luckily. He didn’t celebrate much, but it was noticeable to see Surman rallying the players to celebrate and push the team on.
Then after we looked bright; even Solanke had scored what would’ve been his first goal in 59 appearances, only for it to be denied for apparent offside, with Wilson obstructing the goalkeeper in an offside position. He would have to wait a little while longer for his first goal.
Former Cherry youngster Harry Cornick was then given a glorious chance to equalise after Billing had given the ball to the wrong shirt, but Travers was there to deny what would have been an awful way to concede. And just before the break, Luton had another glorious chance to bring things level, with Billing tripping up a player in the box and after a lengthy VAR check for the penalty, it was given. Luton captain Sheehan stepped up to take it and it rattled the bar despite sending Travers the wrong way, arguably a bit of a let-off for us.
Half Time: Bournemouth 1-0 Luton Town
Like the first half, the second started well for us and not even five minutes in, Stanislas had a wonderful chance to score, with Solanke threading the ball through for the former, only for him to sky it outside the box. The game started to get as scrappy as we have seen recently, with the ball usually being lost after two or three passes.
Eddie decided enough was enough and rolled the dice by throwing on Callum Wilson for Stanislas. Less than a minute after the substitution, Harry Wilson robbed the ball off the Luton captain out wide and played it to his namesake CALLUM WILSON (67), for him to poke the ball past the goalkeeper’s legs for his first goal in thirteen.
And from then on, it was all Bournemouth. Rico came off with a deserved round of applause from the home side with Steve Cook coming on for him. Not long after the substitution, BILLING (79) struck the ball into the net with the help of a lucky deflection, as we ran rampant. Eddie thought luck was on his side as he brought on youngster Dobre for Fraser and would you have it, there was a fourth not long after. Callum Wilson grabbed the ball on the left and bombed forward to plant it into the box and after a scrap, SOLANKE (82) was there to poke the ball in for his first goal in a year and a massive cheer from the crowd.
Full Time: Bournemouth 4-0 Luton Town
Travers – 7: Was not threatened bar the penalty. Perhaps an expected clean sheet for him
Francis – 8: Looked 10 years younger out there. Good crossing and passing.
Mepham – 8: Solid display, hardly threatened.
Simpson – 8: Much like Mepham but disappeared after Steve Cook came on.
Rico – 9: Another brilliant display, a deserved assist (could have had two) with great crossing too.
H. Wilson – 7: Grabbed an assist but still seems as though he hasn’t fit in with the squad.
Billing – 7: Looked like a striker in midfield. Two (arguably lucky) goals but conceded a penalty and gifted the ball away numerous times. Also caused a bit of a ruckus first half with a Luton player.
Surman – 9: Very impressive. A welcome 90 minutes, made some cracking passes to the wings and above the defence. Can’t remember him giving the ball away. Motivated the team too and orchestrated the link between defence and attack.
Fraser – 6: Linked very well with Rico but it was Rico doing all the crossing and pressing. Seems that other things are on his mind.
Stanislas – 6: Quiet game and missed a good chance to score.
Solanke – 8: Best game for him even if he didn’t score. Pressed the defence and grabbed a deserved goal at the end of the game.
C. Wilson – 7: Great cameo appearance, a good goal with his first touch of the game and dripping in confidence.
MOM: Surman. Did what Billing wasn’t able to and had a very calm and composed game. Rico and the rest of the defence did very well too.
Great to see Solanke, Wilson and Billing on the scoresheet. Although it was against a relegation side in the tier below, it shows that in only four days, we can turn things around with a few key players such as Lerma and Steve Cook missing out. Surman was very impressive today. He played very well on and off the ball by providing cover in defence and occasionally drifting out wide; with his passing being spot on. Rico was brilliant but still lacks consistency. This match will give a confidence boost to all players, especially Solanke who could have had two today. Billing looked very out of place and a divisive player. He scored twice which was good but his passing was terrible, he conceded a penalty and had quite a bad attitude. Eddie will certainly need to address this.
Speaking of, this match has certainly eased some pressure off of Eddie. With some calling for his head matches like these shows that he cares for the team and club and has passion. Other managers in our current position would have thrown on the youth and be off. He didn’t. Even if we go down and he stays at the club he will be the only one to take us up and if we can keep a similar team to this I doubt we’ll be in the Championship for long.
Perhaps this is the day we start to turn things around. The next few fixtures are certainly ones we can win. Eddie looks to have ‘brought the team back’ after some speculated he had lost the dressing room. If we can continue to play the way we did today, we aren’t destined to go down.
A huge, huge win for this team. Surman did what anyone in our midfield should do against poor opposition, run the game. A joy to watch.
Eddie was encouraging the players during the pitch walk, urging them to move towards the fans. Good to hear Eddie’s name being sung.
Luton may be poor but we still had to beat them. The goals for Wilson and Solanke will work wonders for their confidence. – Join the conversation, click here.