Written by Neil Dawson
A fairy tale ending is so often the hand of a prince, but Bournemouth discovered today it’s not the hand of a King. Fine margins…most coaches refer to these and a goal that would have stood in injury time and won the game for Bournemouth was chalked off through the keen lens of the VAR referee for the slightest brush of a hand.
This was a much improved Bournemouth performance and the point could yet prove crucial if the concentration and determination of this game can be taken into the three winnable fixtures to come. it wasn’t a great game for the neutral with Jose Mourinho having turned a champions league final squad into an outfit as entertaining as a four hour Jasper Carrott monologue.
Eddie made two changes for this game – Dan Gosling’s physical presence and energy coming in for Lewis Cook and Callum Wilson returned upfront for Dominic Solanke. That meant Lloyd Kelly kept out a fit-again Steve Cook. The side went off well too clearly playing higher up the pitch and looking to get bodies in the box.
Bournemouth made all the early running and created a couple of half-chances, before what looked like a lucky escape when King felled Kane in the box. VAR took a long look but, perhaps surprisingly, didn’t go with the England skipper. This was the only meaningful action in front of Ramsdale and the rest of the half saw Bournemouth camping out around the Spurs box with Rico and Stan particularly prominent on the left looking to make things happen. Spurs were niggly in their fouling and Sissoko and Lerma were niggly of each other.
Despite getting into some good crossing territories all Bournemouth had to show for it was some good moments blocked and a smart save from Loris to deny Stan’s clever reverse drive.
HT Bournemouth 0 Spurs 0
The second half was probably best described as a war of attrition between two sides finding goals hard to come by. One player emerged out of the first part of the war on a field stretcher. Adam Smith had a five minutes he will be feeling for quite a while I fear. First blocking Kane’s booming free-kick on his chest then taking Ndombele’s shoulder flush on his cheekbone at full pace. 9 minutes of on-pitch treatment and protection happened before Smith could be removed and, worryingly, whatever the TV execs saw made them decide not to show any replays. I’m only speculating so let’s hope I’ve read too much into that decision.
Stacey came on but the play didn’t change, still, Bournemouth looking to attack and Spurs playing on the break. That changed for a spell midway through the half with Spurs winning a series of free-kicks and corners but there was always a Bournemouth body in the way as a lot of the old spirit looked to have returned.
We then entered the last spell knowing that a win could change everything. There were three pivotal moments in this spell…each going against the home club. I’m not superstitious but previous relegation campaigns have been similar on the luck front. First Ndombele clattered Callum on the break and played the ball through to Stan who advanced to cross for King to the net. VAR ruled offside and the ref had already decided to bring the playback for a free-kick. Technically it should have been play-on and then VAR could have ruled on who played the ball through.
Next the game-defining moment. Lerma heading the ball back into the box from a corner and Wilsons clever overhead kick had the pace taken off it slightly by flicking King’s arm on the way in. A goal in every other season prior to this.
Finally, a golden chance to win the game in a normal fashion. King’s glorious pass leaving Harry Wilson unmarked and one on one with Loris. The little winger is very one-footed though and not being able to slot it near post with his right he fatally hesitated and his left foot stab was kept out by the keeper’s arm.
How costly those pivotal moments maybe, only time will tell.
Bournemouth 0 Spurs 0
MOTM against Tottenham
Ramsdale 6 – No shots to save but a few flaps aside very solid.
Smith 7 – Much better from him until the untimely, painful exit.
Kelly 8 – He was superb on the ground and in the air.
Ake 8 – His normal clever watchful mastery.
Rico 8 – Defensively excellent and some great passing
Brooks 6 – Quiet again before going off.
Gosling 8 – Covered every blade and added much-needed energy
Lerma 7 – Some passing awry but a good physical presence.
Stanislas 7 – Continued his clever post COVID form.
King 7 – Useful running and a disallowed goal and assist.
Wilson 7 – Improved movement and very unlucky with ‘goal’
MOM – Tough call between the back three and Gosser today. Think I will give it to Kelly as he was marking Kane.
Good report as always, my MOTM was Gosling, was everywhere, but as you say Kelly was marking Kane and kept him out of the game.
Though Harry Wilson did well when he came on and he seems better as an impact sub, in real-time I thought his miss was bad, but it was a very smart save from Lloris. – Join the conversation, click here.