Seven days ago I reported on an abject display against Watford, one of which I haven’t seen the likes of Bournemouth play in a long time. Today was so much better but oh so much more painful. I’m still gutted writing this.
We started off superbly; free flowing football that we have been accustomed to at Dean Court. I liked the fact Eddie was trying out the 5 3 2 system as this seemed to release Smith and Daniels far more. In my opinion our wing backs are crucial to us. It was one of these wing backs who scored one of the most memorable goals ever seen at Dean Court. The ball pinged around the D before bobbling out to Daniels on the left. At an acute angle Charlie smashed it into the roof of the net, cue pandemonium! The returning Jermain Defoe then had a good chance to double our lead but his outstretched effort drew a good save from their keeper. City then took over and played some superb one touched football. It seems if you’re named Silva in Spain it stands for ‘small but gifted midfielder’ as the two amigos controlled the game. Firstly some quick thinking gave Jesus a chance which he took with aplomb then a slip by Ake had us all hoping for a yellow for Nathan. It was and probably fortunate at that. We were hanging on by our fingernails towards the end of the half but parity it remained.
The second half started initially with City on top but our midfield 3 of Gosling, Surman and Arter slowly got their foot on the ball more. It was through one of these attacks where Joshua King smacked a terrific shot against the upright. Was this our chance? City also hit the frame of the goal from a header 8 yards out. City were less fluent during the second half and this was mainly due to some back to the walls defending reminiscent of the Man Utd game last season. Minutes ticked away towards a deserved point. Then an incredible injury time period. Firstly Eddie was ruffled by something Pep had to say, then Afobe (on for Defoe) was himself replaced by Mousset. This meant the supposed 5 minutes would be at least 7. Joshua King led a counterattack and for one second I thought we could steal it but City then countered and despite a good looking tackle from Mousset we were penalised. A quickly taking free kick kept us on the back foot however and despite as much shouting as I could muster the ball stayed around our box until Raheem Stirling (our nemesis) bobled the ball inside the far post. DESPAIR! 10 seconds to go if that! There was still time for Stirling to be sent off (ridiculously) and a few hopeful long balls to be punted into the City box but to no avail. Absolutely gutting.
Begovic – 7 – Couldn’t do much more for the goals and made some steady saves
Smith – 6 – Started well but was pushed back as the game progressed
Daniels – 8 – An absolute worldy of a goal and prevalent throughout
Ake – 6 – Recovered after a shaky first half
Cook – 7 – Battle hard at the back against a tricky City front line
Mings – 7 – I’m a fan of Tyrone and hope he gets a run in the side
Surman – 7 – A good shift from Andrew today, much improved from the previous week
Arter – 7 – See Surman
Gosling – 6 – Slighly more inconspicuous than his fellow midfielders but worked hard nonetheless
Defoe – 6 – Not Jermain’s day but worked hard and had one good chance
King – 9 – That’s more like it Josh! A superb game from our Norwegian front man who terrorised the City defence all game
Afobe – 6 – Not too much impact
Mousset – 6 – Too late to make a difference
Mom- King for me today. Good to see last year’s Josh make a reappearance. Long may it continue.
Please can we play like this against the teams around us; if we do we will be fine this season. Last week felt so hollow, I was more disgusted at the performance. This week I was proud. Proud of the effort, proud of the energy, proud of the determination, proud of the point……. if only!
P.s Next time can I write a report where it’s not as painful or frustrating? Many thanks!
Report by London Cherry
Personally thought Begovic had his best game so far. Reassuring presence in the box under a lot of pressure. A string of smart stops, nothing world class perhaps, but solid. Mings lent on Begovic a lot with back passes to get Mings out of trouble, and Begovic always calmly connected to boot danger away with minimal fuss. Also his throwing is great. The direction of kicks could use work, Smith isn’t 8 feet tall, but on the whole I feel good about having Begovic back there.
Overall it’s a shape that suits our current players better than 4-4-2. Mings and Ake bring real presence to our back line, and that system allows both to play, as well as seemingly helping Cook adapt to playing right.
Surman unsurprisingly looked far happier in a middle 3, he was impressive today. Gosling did ok, Arter flashed in and out. All 3 were dead on their feet after an hour, why oh why didn’t Howe bring on Cook’s fresh legs? It’s was cried out for. He just let all 3 of them get deeper and more tired, more error prone. Whilst Cook endlessly warmed up. Baffling Eddie.
The full backs similarly were knackered second half, Fraser might have helped there.
Eddie sat on his hands for me and really didn’t help matters.
Obviously the game finishing as it did is gutting beyond words. Mousset won that ball and was through on goal. Who knows, we might have been talking about a dramatic victory never mind a draw. But instead thanks to that foul being given, being allowed to be taken whilst Dean was still talking to our players, and allowed to be taken 15 yards away from where the ‘foul’ occured, culminated in the perfect circumstances for City to finally find the gaps required for a winner. All minutes after the 5 earlier signalled minutes of stoppage time had ticked past.
Cue all hell breaking loose as Dean totally lost control. While he cowered away in the centre circle taking in the home crowd’s anger, the away team and fans danced around the pitch together, and the away bench ran around the touchline. Minutes went past, before Dean sent off Sterling, minutes more passing. Dean then blowing up and getting off the pitch quick as he could. Several minutes more could have been added on if we were being as pedantic about stoppages as Dean previously was. Suddenly that didn’t seem to matter. – Join the conversation here.
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