Pre-match the talk was about whether Howe would field a weakened side and also whether, dun dun derrrrr, Grabban was off. Well the weakened side argument was put to bed with the announcement that it was as strong as it could be, albeit with a tweak to the formation, while, there was a murmur of ‘oh noes, Grabban’s not playing, [insert club he’s going to] don’t want him cup-tied’
The three subs from Saturday moved into the starting eleven and we shuffled round to make it 442, rather than Howe’s preferred 451. However, 442 suited us well when we were in the lower leagues so it’s no surprise that that’s what we went for.
As kick off approached, the rain and wind started to increase, meaning, me, in the cheap seats of the north stand (yes, I know, all the seats were cheap), got really quite wet as the game progressed, but this isn’t about me. If it were I’d have been doing this for years and would have developed personalized leitmotifs around each player.
Anyway, kick off came and, kicking to the north stand (boo, burton albion, boo) we started strongly. Waves of pressure came, mostly down the left where Daniels and Pugh were combining really well along with Rantie and a couple of chances were missed before the ball broke on the edge of the box for Pugh to dink a ball over the top lollipop style and PITMAN to squeeze the ball home on the angle from about 2 yards out. GOAL! 1-0 to the Cherries.
Bournemouth continued to pile on the pressure and you began to fear for the poor souls in the away end who hadn’t paid a penny to come and watch their team capitulate to the power of our championship stars. More good work down the left saw Rantie cut into the box and pass only for the chance to be missed. Then Rantie picked the ball up, cut inside and shoot a stinging drive for their keeper (wearing number 16. For my money the other 15 keepers above him must have been injured) to push round the post.
Not much was happening down the right hand side, Ritchie, newly hair-cutted (is that a verb? is it now) seemed lacking a bit of oomph, not linking up with Francis anywhere near as well as Daniels and Pugh were, but anything that did happen on the right seemed to involve the effervescent Rantie as well. Rantie was everywhere, chasing lost causes, pulling defenders all over the shop and then, again, cutting inside on the left and hitting what seemed to be a goal bound shot that the keeper managed to get to.
I’m not one for stats and possession and corner details, that’s for, well, you know, simpletons (no, Andy, tell us about the passing statistics, they are important), but we were murdering them.
Then Burton remembered they were allowed over the half way line and broke down the left. Nothing came of it an the ball went to Pitman deep in our half. He passed forward but it was wayward and then Burton came forward, not sure who, might have been the one who looked about 12, and he hit a shot that was heading for the main stand until it hit a defender (maybe cook? might have been elphick) and thwanged viciously into the back of the net, Allsop basically waving at it in despair as it went past him.
Here we go, eh?
Anyway, on we went, still pressing, still causing most of Burton’s problems down the left. Corners came and went, the ‘lad’ to our left shouted in despair ‘don’t fking play it fking short they never fking work you fking tits’ and we played it short and the ball eventually found it’s way into the six yard box where ELPHICK stabbed it home from a couple of yards out. 2-1 BOSCOMBE
And that was that really for the 1st half.
I had a cup of tea and then it was time for the 2nd half.
Which was really dull. We had a few attacks, we hit the post, Francis did some good work down the right, but the conditions were starting to take effect. You could see puddles starting to form on the ground and our passing suffered. We also seemed to suffer from a belief that we hadn’t turned the ground round 90 degrees 10 years ago. From left to right we went. then from right to left. then left to right. then pass it back a bit. then pass it left to right. then right to left. you get the idea.
Anyway, Burton had a bit of pressure. Nothing to really worry us but as the game wore on and we continued passing it around as if we didn’t have a care in the world apart from the care that would come if we misplaced a pass and gave burton a chance. Ritchie, who had seemed subdued the whole game decided to try jujitsu instead of football and received a yellow card for his trouble. Howe took him off straight away. Which was pretty wise, no point, with the conditions worsening, possibly losing players through yellow cards. On came the jinky wee wing wizard Fraser in his place.
Time stood still, the wind and rain got worse. My jeans were SOAKING by this point and my knees had started to go numb, one last burst from Rantie saw him pick the ball up deep in our half and run, and run and run, Kevin Rooster Russell style to the edge of the box but his final ball to Fraser was lacking and burton got the ball clear.
Pugh was subbed for Surman and moments later Grabban (YAY We’ve CUPTIED him, have that Brighton) replaced Rantie. Pitman seemed drop deep and Daniels seemed to push up into some sort of vague 361 formation that suited our crablike passing to a tee. (I say crablike dull passing ,no doubt some hipsters round these parts will be extolling our tika taka virtues. *rolls eyes*)
Then we broke again, Grabban passed to Pitman who played an exquisite ball through to FRASER who ran on to it and chipped the keeper from the right hand side of the box to make it 3-1
5 mins to go and despite having 20 odd shots, half of which were on target, the north stand took the opportunity, again, to remind burton that we score when we want.
Seconds later we broke up the left, I presume it was Daniels who burst into the box and got scythed down being as he was our only left sided player left at that point. Anyway, the ref pointed to the spot and lazy-arse PITMAN stepped up and easily put the ball in the net from the spot.
There was time left for a 35 yd freekick from pitman to go sailing over the bar and then the ref blew his whistle.
We’d only blooming well done it. Tiny Boscombe, from the championship had got a game against a famous club. Hurrah
Allsop – N/A – might as well have raffled goalkeeper position off to a lucky punter in the north stand. at least one of us would have had warm hands
Francis – 7 – with Richie subdued he had to do more of the attacking on the right and did it well. had nothing to do defensively.
Daniels – 7 – linked well with rantie and pugh, tried some outlandish shooting. I like Charlie daniels
Cook – 6 – good, I guess, but made some laboured mistakes in 2nd half, letting ball go out from a pass from allsop for example
Elphick – 7 – nothing to do, but did it well. and scored.
Pugh – 7 – tortured their right back all night, linked well with Daniels
O’kane – 8 – mopped almost everything up, I’ve seen talk of how he’s improved but was really impressed. terrier like
arter – 6 – bit anonymous, didn’t get booked. well done
Ritchie – 6 – not sure that haircut has helped him
pitman – 7 – if he hadn’t scored 2 goals it’d have been a 5 or 6, just looks so not arsed
rantie – 7 – ran his socks off, unlucky on couple of occasions, needs a break in front of goal really
fraser – 6 – didn’t really do much apart from score.
surman – 6 – excellent at doing the sideways passing
grabban – 7 – only had a few minutes but looked class above
anyway. woo, yay, we’re playing Liverpool. maybe we could sound a bit less like a 4th division outfit who has drawn a big club though. solent were all ‘oohhhh’, texts in were all ‘cooooooo’. we’re a championship side. yes Liverpool, but we’re not the minnows we were a season or so ago. we’re almost, (shut up at the back) equals.
Report by AndySith
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