Written by Rodmorg
That’s something that we have needed for a long time. The long-awaited victory finally came, and to sweeten it, it was against Brighton. The display was far from what we’ve seen recently; the lads gave everything. It was as if a new manager had taken charge. Perhaps Eddie had been reading the forums? It seemed as though he was listening to the fans after all. The mentality completely flipped after the awful performance we had on Saturday, let alone what happened against Watford.
Following from the away defeat to Norwich, Eddie made two changes; with Simon Francis coming in for Steve Cook (to some fans’ dismay) and Dan Gosling was dropped for Solanke (which even worried me). Llyod Kelly appeared on the bench for the first time since November, in what appeared to be a change to the heavily criticised 4-4-2 formation, with some predicting a loss again.
And it seemed to have been going that way for the first 25 or so minutes. We saw what we had been used to seeing since our run of poor form – sitting back, playing out from the back and waiting for the opposition to score. Rambo and Ake were the players saving us from seeing the away team score. They were excellent throughout.
But it all seemed to change though after about half an hour in. We started to show desire. The full-backs were bombing forward, laying off to the wingers or strikers. We were upping the tempo with the crowd giving it their all. It paid off eventually; Billing pinged a Surman-esque ball cross-field to Wilson but was headed out, only to find Solanke outside the box, who calmly laid it off to HARRY WILSON (36) to shoot into the back of the net. Excellent build-up play with a perfect ending. And not long after, Bournemouth grabbed their second; Rico’s excellent in-swinger from the right allowed Callum Wilson to nudge in from 6 yards out. However, after much deliberation, it was given as a GROß (41) own-goal. Perhaps a little unfair for the England striker, given his last goal was in September.
Half-Time: Bournemouth 2-0 Brighton
The second half started with the same tempo and atmosphere as the first ended. The front two were pressing Brighton’s backline, forcing them to clear out of panic. The wingers and midfielders were waiting for the second ball. It was how 4-4-2 was supposed to be played. We engaged in the high press, we weren’t winning the ball in our own box, instead, we were winning it in midfield; Lerma and Billing dominated the midfield in the second half.
Our control coerced Brighton to throw on three after an hour of play, purely out of desperation. It would make no change though. We continued to dominate. They were forced to shoot from outside the box, and although they were quite decent shots, Ramsdale was there to produce some saves even the likes of Allison and De Gea would be jealous of. Whether they were from point-blank range or outside the box, he made himself big or dived to make a finger-tip save.
We continued to hold Brighton at bay and hit them on the counter. After numerous attempts, it finally worked with Solanke picking up the ball in our half and bombing forward. With Smith to his right, he passed to CALLUM WILSON (74) who fortunately picked it up outside the box (after an interception) and rounded Ryan to plant inside from 6 yards out. The huge smile on his face showed how much that goal meant to him, whether or not the second goal was his.
The game was close to finishing when Brighton finally had luck on their side – AARON MOOY (81) struck an unstoppable effort from just outside the box to give Brighton a supposed lifeline, but to no avail, as Bournemouth finally grabbed a win.
Full-Time Bournemouth 3-1 Brighton
Ramsdale – 10: Unbelievable performance. Strange to think he is 21 with the amount of talent he has. Southgate better watch this game when selecting his team…
Smith – 8: Solid display, although a little quiet as play was focussed more down the left.
Francis – 8: Unusually superb, diving headers and showed determination. A good performance in place of Steve. Did give the ball away on a few occasions, however.
Ake: – 10: Top quality defending and great positioning, always there to clear. Do I need to say any more?
Rico – 7: Brilliant first half but seemed to have dwindled. Somewhat at fault for the consolation.
H. Wilson – 9: 100% effort. Excellent work rate and won the ball on numerous occasions. A well-deserved round of applause when he came off too.
Lerma – 9: Excellent. Won the ball high up the pitch, defended well too. He just needs to refrain from shooting outside the box.
Billing – 9: Much like Lerma, and to quite a surprise too.
Fraser – 9: Maybe he’s finally realised this is the club he’ll be staying at. Pressed high, got into the nitty-gritty and would never stop running. Even won the ball on a few occasions.
Solanke – 9: Definitely his best game in a Bournemouth shirt. Two assists are excellent. Didn’t seem lazy too. Hopefully, he can continue what has been a reasonably good month for him.
C. Wilson – 10: Deserves to have two to his name. Either way, he was finding space and played some very intelligent football tonight
Man of the Match: Rambo. Outstanding performance. Kept us in the game before we scored and made two world-class saves before our third. England’s No.1. surely. Honourable mentions to Callum, Ake and the entire midfield.
The side that I had seen on Saturday was bad. The one I had against Watford was awful. The one I had seen against West Ham was appalling. The one I saw tonight was top notch. When I saw the team sheet on Twitter I sighed and thought we were going to get a draw at best. Solanke and Francis on the team sheet usually causes the forum to go into an uproar. Both usually get stick by us, but tonight, they had their best performances in a long time. Francis pulled a Cook-like performance out of a hat that usually includes losing the ball and errors leading to goals. He was excellent. Solanke showcased what he could do when we played Luton. Two assists for him is a great confidence boost. Now he just needs the goals. Both Wilsons were great too. Harry had his best game in Bournemouth shirt (much like Solanke) with a good goal and great effort and Callum didn’t look devoid of confidence and was involved throughout and showed great composure when he grabbed his second.
The whole team were outstanding today. The first 20-30 minutes were dull, but the sudden change in tempo and mentality was the pivotal moment in the match. The high press from everyone bar the central defence is what made us win. Despite the two in centre midfield, we looked confident. I lost count at how many times the midfield won the ball. They were brilliant and showed why the midfield has come under so much criticism in previous games. They were actually linking play between defence and attack and surprisingly won the ball on so many occasions.
The end of the match just showed how relieved the players were to finally get a win under their belt. Wilson collapsing to the floor, even Surman who was supposed to come on looked happy. Most importantly though, Eddie looked happy. Post-match, he was correct; we looked threatening, we easily could have scored more, and I think it’s fair to say he will be staying with us for the foreseeable future; those calling for his head won’t be mentioning this game.
If we can continue to play like this against the likes of Villa, Burnley and even Chelsea, then I’m sure we can stay up. Sitting 18th is still worrying, but the team looked confident and it paid off well tonight. There can be only one way forward, and that is up.
Good read…think some marks were a tad generous…
Rambo 10 and Man of the match, his save at 0-0 could be the turning point of our season?
Smith 8 High energy and one of our most consistent players this season
Francis 7 still made some sloppy passes out from the back in the early stages but was dependable the rest of the game.
Ake 9 Back to his best made countless interceptions to save us
Rico 7 Some good stuff, and some not so, at fault for not getting his tackle in for their goal. However, his inswinging corner was perfect for our second goal
H Wilson 7 Took his goal very well, good on the ball but doesn’t do much when not. Hopefully learning all the time.
Lerma 8 massive game broke up play consistently, silly booking and wild shot when more composure was required.
Billing 6 Awful first 45 just floated around the pitch not doing much, upped his game in the second half and produced a good save from their keeper with a back-post header. I want to see more of his second 45 efforts in matches.
Fraser 9 Ran his socks off and looked really up for proving us fans wrong, we need his energy and spark for the run in that is for sure.
Solanke 9 best game for us IMO, looked like a Josh King at times! Just needs to add a killer instinct into his game. Brilliant run to set up Callum for 3~0
C Wilson 8 best game for a while took his goal excellently, but still looks a bit off the pace, I am hoping that he will kick on from here…his goals will save us if he does! – Join the conversation, click here.