Date: 29th January 2014 at 7:56am
Written by: Neil Dawson

Finally the conundrum of getting the best of a South African striker from Sweden is solved……………. wait for Swedish weather. In the middle of a biblical downpour with the game descending into farcical conditions TK finally came of age to grab three crucial points for Bournemouth.

Eddie will take credit for the substitution, and for playing Rantie with someone at last and not moving Grabban to the wing. In a congested game with the wings waterlogged it was good tactical awareness.

Bournemouth remained unchanged tonight and started slowly in a deluge of rain. Wells cut in to shoot at Camp as the ball zipped off the pitch quickly making our passing game difficult. It took ten minutes for the home team to get in it and it was our first glimpse of the excellence of Terriers keeper Smithies. First Elliott Ward had his shot brilliantly blocked from a corner and when the ball fell to Arter he thumped it from 18 yards but Smithies somehow got his body to it and kept the ball out.

Bournemouth then suffered a blow when Daniels limped off on thirteen minutes pointing at his knee. Harte came on to replace him. It didn’t interrupt what was a good first half hour from the home team with some slick interchanging of passing and more of a willingness to shoot. Ritchie got his sights in with one just wide and then produced a stinging 20 yard drive through a crowded area that Smithies kept out of the bottom corner with a world class one handed save. It was the best save I’ve seen this season by a mile and Ritchie stared on increduously.

Huddersfield were workmanlike and efficient without creating a huge deal – Camp saved well from Clayton’s hammered drive and Ward beat his namesake to flash a header wide of the post but they were largely kept at bay.

The pitch was starting to cut up very badly and Bournemouth’s passing game was becoming more and more error stewn towards the end of the half as keeping the ball on the floor became tricky. Bournemouth attacked in waves but the final ball either stuck or ran too quick in what was an impossible pitch to read. One such example saw us break three on one but Grabban get stuck with the ball at his feet.

HT Bournemouth 0 Huddersfield 0

The second half started explosively when the impressive Pugh turned on to Grabban’s cross and smacked a volley inches wide of the far post. This heralded another spell of great football but the willingness to shoot of the first half had receded back to normal fayre and the crowds frustration became audible. When Arter eventually played Pugh in he was on his wrong foot and found Row P. The passing started to go adrift on the cutting up pitch and it was beginning to look like a scoreless draw was nailed on.

Pugh had other ideas though and moving on to a through ball he went down in the box. Seasoned observers will note it doesn’t exactly take a JCB to knock the Lancastrian off his stride and I think we might have been aggrieved had it gone against us. No matter, up stepped GRABBAN to lamp the ball into the bottom left hand corner and give the Cherries the lead.

No sooner had the lead come then it had gone. Huddersfield finally put a move of intent together and and Woods played a brilliant 1-2 with Danny Ward before powering a left foot drive in off Camps hand.

Eddie had seen enough, and no doubt worrying it was going to take another 55 minutes to score moved to two up front with Rantie replacing Surman.

The little South African was chasing down wing balls like a man possessed and finally got the moment he has waited for – a home goal – in the 72nd minute. O’Kane, as busy as ever, took his time on the edge of the box before releasing a slide rule pass to RANTIE who finished classily in off the left post in front of a euphoric North Stand. A booking followed his celebration which was harsh to say the least.

The match then became stretched with both teams tiring quickly on the heavy pitch. Our defence held firm bar one scare when Darren Ward should have scored from a point blank cross. Rantie then missed the chance to double his tally when through at the end but the Cherries cruised to the whistle.

FT Bournemouth 2 Huddersfield 1

Camp 7 – Steady handling in poor conditions – one great save

Francis 5 – Poor for him. Wondering if Smith arrival unsettling.
Elphick 7 – Great blocking, diving headers, skippers will to win
Ward 7 – Sensible back up and now looking a good pairing.
Daniels – Limped off on 13
(Harte 7 – Steady as you go wise defensively, good passing)

Ritchie 6 – Quiet again attacking wise but is working hard.
Arter 6 – A lot of blocking, sweaty work – not as sublime as old.
O’Kane 8 – Prompting and clever display in worst conditions.
Surman 6 – Gliding around well but doesn’t hurt teams enough.
Pugh 7 – I thought he tricked well and worked the flank cleverly.

Grabban 7 – How much ground does he cover?! Good one man role

Subs – (Harte 7 – Steady as you go wise defensively, good passing)
(Rantie 7 – Impressive pace, took goal well, injected energy)

A much, much needed three points. Not much to comment on the tactics – we know these backwards now. It seems like Eddie is also trying to work on a bit of physicality in the box and some more directness via the transfer market and hopefully that will come soon. There were still too many occasions where we didn’t pull the trigger and over-passed.

What was impressive was we worked so hard and fought for this on a pitch not suited to Bournemouth football. The substitution was bob on as we needed a quick mover in the box. It was great that we left Grabban to play up front – on a lot of the many Rantie threads it has stated he needs someone close by. His goal and his all round well recieved running will hopefully be a confidence boost and see him progress on to justify Eddies huge faith in him.

Harte has proved in his last three games that he is less of a worry than at the start of the season and the centre backs are gelling now. Quite clever not to have Cook in the side during the transfer window……. expect him back in Feb!! If Eddie is really to be fair then Macdonald should start ahead of Arter or Surman in my opinion – to keep them on their toes after some hit or miss performances. Ritchie also looks like he might need a rest too.

So, crucial, hard fought win before some tough fixtures… A Rantie home goal….. potential new signings. Not a bad week. Footnote to the fans complaining we needed a bigger ground for the Liverpool match……. ‘where were you tonight?’

Report by Neil Dawson