Date: 11th December 2016 at 7:53am
Written by: Uttoxeter cherry

There were a few surprises in the line up today which I feel led us to losing the game.

No one could begrudge Fraser a start after last weeks MOM cameo performance. Smith was moved from left back to right midfield to accommodate ake in central defence next to Cook with Francis at right back. Wilshere was on the bench leaving a midfield of arter and gosling. Wilson was up front as usual but was joined by afobe in what was a return to a 442 formation.

We started as we left off last week with chances for gosling (wide) and afobe (saved). At the back however we looked vulnerable every time Burnley came forward. Their direct balls up to Vokes, who won most aerial duels, caused major issues especially to the shorter ake.

I can only imagine that wilshere was benched with Eddie expecting the ball to be spent in the air too much. We might have been better to play to our strengths. We lost possession of the ball too much throughout the match with gosling and smith being the main culprits. Arter was also off his game with many passes going astray.

It was still somewhat against the play when Burnley scored from a sumptuous half volley from the edge of the box that beat Boruc in the top corner.
Within 3 minutes it was 2 0 as a high ball into the box was headed goalwards and via a deflection off Wilson caused Boruc to fumble the ball which was smashed in by ward.

We still seemed to be dominating possession and Fraser was making some great forward runs, drifting inside off the wing and winning free kicks as defenders couldn’t cope with his pace. Once again though we failed to turn possession into chances, frequently choosing the wrong option to shoot or pass.

With 1 minute of extra time showing on the board, Bournemouth continued to push and with the home side whistling for half time, a smith cross arrived at afobe who scored past Heaton.
The referee was not popular with the home fans, but our turn to be frustrated by the officials was to come later.
So we reached half time feeling more positive for a better second half.

The second half saw us start brightly with us having lots of the ball. We were working well down the wings but too often delayed the cross. Afobe, despite scoring wasn’t looking particularly mobile, nor did he seem to anticipate balls into the box. The next goal was to be crucial and I firmly believed we could still win. Subs were made with king replacing the ineffective Wilson. He’s still not back to where he was IMHO. Pugh came on for Fraser and Wilshere for gosling.

It was from a wonderful Wilshere pass where we thought we had equalised. Afobe chested down while running through and blasted into the net. The referee immediately blew for handball. That’s one for MOTD later.

During all this pressure, it was likely Burnley could counter, and despite wasting several good chances, they finally created a chance which was finished excellently by Boyd.

We never know when we are beaten though and continued to search for a way back into the game. We should have had a penalty when Pugh turning his defender inside out had his legs taken in an even more blatant manner than ake last week. At the moment we seem to have 1 obvious penalty denied each week.

Just into injury the 4 mins of injury time, the ball fell to Daniels in the box after good build up work and smashed it into the roof of the net. We couldn’t do it again could we? Well no, not on this occasion, but it was a good effort from the boys. We can’t give away 3 goals and still expect to get a result.

It was nice to be at a proper old style stadium with a great home crowd and both sets of supporters right behind their team.

Boruc- 6 -at fault for 2nd
Cook 7- mostly good in air and good forward runs
Ake 6- a difficult afternoon but still touches of class
Francis 6- some good forward runs. Would prefer him in middle
Daniels 7- took goal well and some positive runs
Smith 5- off pace, out of position for 2nd week
Gosling 5- effort but not good enough
Arter 5- that hurts. But not a good game
Fraser 7 – positive running and attacking
Wilson 6 – not a sniff really
Afobe 6. Disappointing target man display but scored

Wilshere 7 showed classy touches
Pugh 7 ‘won’ us a penalty with trickery
King 6 no chances

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