Date: 7th November 2012 at 10:12pm
Written by: dan23afcb

In the dark days of relegation a few short seasons ago, the Dean Court faithful sang ”we’re going to Shrewsbury” with a certain black humour. These days, with the Shrews now up in League One after finally clearing the promotion hurdle, playing Shrewsbury doesn’t seem quite so beneath us.

With fireworks exploding behind the empty south end, Cherries started with a whizz bang of their own. CHARLIE DANIELS’ rocket of a free kick was fired low through the Shrewsbury wall after just two minutes.

Just three minutes later, there was another goal. Lee Barnard recovered well after his shot from close range came back off the post, allowing Marc Pugh to cross for JOSH MCQUOID to head in.

It had all the makings of a rout, with Harry Arter pulling the strings in midfield – every blade of grass was covered, tackles flew in, and balls of such delightful precision were played to all corners of the pitch.

Instead it was the visitors who would steal the next goal, ‘steal’ being the apt description. Recalled captain Miles Addison struggled with the pace of Marvin Morgan, and clumsily bundled over the former Aldershot man in the penalty area. Morgan was clearly looking for any excuse to go over, referee Trevor Kettle pointing to the spot. The North Stand responded with cries of ”are you Suarez in disguise?” MATTHEW RICHARDS stepped up to pull one back for the visitors, his low struck penalty just beating David James, another recall, to his right.

What followed from Bournemouth was a masterclass in attacking football that Paul Groves would have done well to take notes on. Pugh, maintaining his impressive return to form, was a constant threat down the left, ensuring the Shrews right back, and not just Kris Temple, was ‘all shook up’.

If Cherries were putting on an attacking masterclass, it was matched by Shrewsbury goalkeeper Chris Weale’s virtuoso performance between the sticks. A curling shot from Arter looked destined for the top corner, but Weale somehow got up to get the block in. Another rifled 25 yard strike from Simon Francis missed just wide.

As half time beckoned, Lewis Grabban, full of energy and looking to make an impression, was put through on goal by Pugh, his low shot to the far post blocked by the leg of Weale.

After the break, Cherries continued in vain for the extra goal or two that their efforts deserved. Grabban was provided an early chance, but headed over from a Pugh cross.

Pugh and Arter continued to buzz in midfield, but the game dipped somewhat as play entered the final third of the match.

Such games usually contain at least one heart-in-mouth moment, as failing to take chances has regularly come back to bite us in the past. Here it was provided by Addison. The defender lazily playing a ball back to James, whose hurried clearance was charged down by the onrushing Morgan. The ball looped just wide of goal, but left many wondering if Steve Cook should be given a longer run in the side.
For all that, Addison did head over from a corner at the other end, as did Barnard twice, whose hold up play diminshed his goal threat somewhat. Perhaps for that reason, he was sacrificed for Wes Fogden mid way through the second half. Matt Tubbs made a late substitute appearance for McQuoid, who had taken a knock.

On US election night, it was somewhat fitting that Cherries failed to provide a landslide victory. The scoreline did, however, fail to reflect the glut of chances created, with the midfield in particular looking as strong as it has since Eddie Howe’s previous time in charge.

F/T – Bournemouth 2 – 1 Shrewsbury

Ratings and Mom:

James – 6 – little to do apart from the penalty. Always looks capable of dropping one clanger.
Francis – 7 – Would have been goal of the season had his long range shot gone in, otherwise solid as usual.
Addison – 6 – Dominant in the air, poor on the ground. Struggles against fast opponents
Elphick – 7 – Solid display
Daniels – 7.5 – Scored, linked well with Pugh, looked to tire by the end. Is it me or could he do with losing just a couple of pounds?

McQuoid – 7 – Scored, looks to get into the box, but would like to see him played up front. A late run through defence reminded me of what he can do.
MacDonald – 7 – A no-nonsense performance, quietly getting on with playing it simple and allowing the other midfields to flourish.
Arter – 8 – MOM – Ran the game for large periods, excellent passing, and goal threat. Did talk himself into the book yet again, though.
Pugh – 8 – Back to his best weaving his magic on the left.

Barnard – 6 – Held the ball well allowing the midfield to play, but sacrficed his own goal thraet to do so.
Grabban – 7 – Needs to work on his finishing, as got into good positions
Final verdict
This was my first game of Eddie’s second spell, and I was greatly anticipating it. The team failed to disappoint, with all the hallmarks of Eddie’s coaching baring fruit. This is a side that worked for each other, that attacked with width and pace, and that looked to close the ball down high up the pitch. It was disappointing that the scoreline did not reflect all the chances we created, but we can’t win every game 4-0. The team is on an upward trajectory, and will be confident going into a tricky away tie at the weekend. Questions still remain, however. Should Cook play instead of Addison? Do we have the best combination up front? Knowing Eddie, he will be aware of the danger of complacency, but this is now no longer a side to fear for, and instead a side to fear.

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