Written by Neil Dawson
Well, that was eventful. A game that set the definition for ‘tetchy’. A game of penalty claims, two sending offs, a fair few fights, a teenage keeper with a debut to remember and a late winner. Hard to believe it was only one-nil – but that was the scoreline as Bournemouth saw off nine-man Spurs with a late flash of dreadlocks…
It was an odd team selection with Travers named in goal. Begovic chucked his toys in the week and Boruc had some toys in the car ready for his new-born so had to be on advanced notice to depart at any moment. In stepped the little known (outside of Weymouth and Dublin) Mark Travers, a good season for the kid with his first full international call up and Premier League debut. Finally, we had five in midfield which crucially allowed us to keep more of the ball. Ibe played behind Wilson in the free role with King and Fraser either side of Lerma and Ake. Smith was back at fullback.
The first half belonged to Mark Travers, we probably over-egged his saves a little with the excitement but it was still a very notable debut under such pressurised circumstances. He nearly caught a cold when Moura tried to chip him from the half-way line but the ball dropped the wrong side of the post too much relief. He then got his confidence going with a smart save to deny Dele Ali.
Bournemouth were back into it with lots of good breaks, Ibe central to a lot of these in an impressive first-half performance. Shorn of any defensive responsibilities he is a different player, emphasised by his fading when put back on the wing in the second half. Too often the attacks floundered on the final ball. Spurs were dangerous when they countered and Travers again denied Moura from a header and then stopped him again when he was put clean through. The crowd were warming to the giant keeper and his final save of the half from Dele Ali was the pick of the bunch, one-handed and leaving the England man with his head in his hands…
The game was starting to heat up, Lerma in the centre of it unsurprisingly. He’d had a run in with Dele Ali and then appeared to stamp on Son when retrieving the ball. The officials hadn’t spotted it but they did spot the Korean’s retribution and he was gone. Two penalty shouts then added to the controversy – King rounding the keeper but the referee judging correctly that Loris had touched the ball before flattening the Norwegian. The second should have been given, in a cluster of bodies, Wilson had his legs cleaved when about to flick goalwards. Dier stopping King going through was also a potential red leaving Pawson with that wonderful refereeing moment when you are booed off by both sets of fans.
HT Bournemouth 0 Spurs 0
The second half saw ten-man Spurs withdraw their other two booked players so Pochettino must have been incredulous when one of the subs, Foyth, embarked on an early run and after a heavy touch went over the top on Jack Simpson for another straight red. Now down to nine men Spurs banked two banks of four and settled in.
This led to frustration for Bournemouth, and the crowd. Some right idiots in our stadium
It had to be said. Whinging as to why we couldn’t walk through two solid banks of world class players and the World Cup winning keeper. You despair sometimes you really do.
Bournemouth didn’t help themselves though by keeping four at the back against zero and the game resembled so many recent home games when we have been losing with a lot of possession but little threat.
Too often the crosses or final balls were poor and as the game ticked on and on it looked, with no Bournemouth chances to worry Loris that we would be denied our first win v Spurs. Jordan Ibe forced the Frenchman into one great save just before he departed for Mousset.
It was the French sub who inspired the winner. He turned brilliantly in the corner to win the corner kick. We don’t know if either player will be with us next year so it may be fitting in the final game of the season that Fraser topped the assist charts with his fizzing delivery and AKE’s head did the rest. There was time for one more Lerma/Ali head butting scrap before the referee blew and will be glad to get home tonight I would imagine.
Bournemouth 1 Spurs 0
Travers 8- welcome to the big time!
Smith 7- kept at it and lively return
Simpson 7- very solid looking and read well.
Cook 7 – normal busy organising self.
Clyne 7 – starting to come on to game again
Fraser 6 – quieter and less accurate but assist!
Lerma 7- the pick of the outfield. Strong and sure.
Ake 6 – not his position but finished it!
Ibe 6 – great first half, poor second.
King 6- some strong runs but some periphery
Wilson 6- battled manfully
Mom. As others pointed out, saves you might expect but because it’s a new player they stand out and a couple of superb saves. Confident and good with feet as well. What a day for the lad Mark Travers
Great to see us looking like a side again. Thank god Eddie has realised a five-man midfield is worth trying as it made all the difference in competing for football wise and made the players playing there look better. Ibe is good in the ten role too as we saw at Chelsea once before. Hopefully a sign of things to come next year.
The second half was always going to be odd. We lacked vision which is what you need, but with Ake and Lerma as ball winners and no options on the bench, it was going to be hard. The game was crying out for a through ball but it went wide and then was blocked. That’s a reflection of the personnel available though and will improve when they all return.
The cohesion was back though and the appetite looked strong. The relief at the winner was palpable and showed what it meant. We have seen the last of Begovic, I wonder if he will be alone? I suspect quite a transitional summer for this team with players earning a move up and some deserving a move down. Eddie won’t want to do too much change, it’s not his style, so it should be fascinating.
One player it was sad to say goodbye to was Marc Pugh, a player we will all take to the grave in our hearts for what he helped us achieve. I don’t think a player has given me that much pleasure over such a sustained period. Legend is an overused word in sport but he is a club legend here for sure.
So, that’s it from me for another season. It’s not been the greatest time lately after the dynamite start but a late goal against top six makes stepping into the summer a better place.
See you all next year, god willing for all of us!
I was pleased for Simpson, when he came on as a substitute for the last home game he looked liked a rabbit in the headlights but much more composed this time around and played well. Clyne was pulling his weight today but I can’t make up my mind about him. Travers was amazing and in our section of the East Stand, we were just commenting that perhaps we don’t need Butland after all (that’s half a joke by the way). Pleased at the number of our players who went over to congratulate Travers afterwards. While I don’t wish to make any excuses for the whingers in any shape or form (especially the person who was booing the team against Fulham the other week) we did well today as a team and when that happens we tend to forget who we are up against. Why oh why, with such an enthralling game how can people leave early, I don’t get it. – Join the conversation, click here.