Written by kirsikka
AFC Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker was forced to shuffle the pack again and do something unusual due to all the players out. Again, it looked like he’d made astute decisions. The first 30 was ding dong stuff before Fulham took control and we were gasping for the halftime whistle. Brilliant restart obviously but what was noticeable is the early move to bring on Pearson. There would have been no pregame plan to give him 35 minutes (30, 20, 10, yes. 35 is just an odd number) so after watching 10 more minutes of ding dong stuff Parker decided to be tactically decisive, and try and take the pace out of the game. To be fair to him, for 20 minutes it looked like it was working but once Fulham went all-out attack, he could have looked to switch things up again and put the pressure back on them. However, by ceding the territory and letting a team of attack-minded players have the ball it was going to result in a siege. Shame it didn’t come off but credit where it’s due, despite missing a huge chunk of his team the first two calls he made looked to be absolutely correct. Next time we meet Fulham it will be interesting to see what happens when we’re, hopefully, a less depleted team. The second half wasn’t so much an enjoyable watch as an endurance, wishing time away. One thing to note. We really struggled to pass our way through that high press and the long ball rarely worked but a couple of times we dinked it over the front of the press to a man in space and the pitch opened up. That has to be a tactic we look to utilise more when teams try to do that against us. If we’d been more consistent with breaking away like that their manager might have pulled them back or, even if he didn’t, others would. At the end of it, given the players out or only just back from injury, I’d have taken a point in a heartbeat pre-kickoff so I remain happy with that. Oh, and if Harry Wilson had stumbled and gone down naturally instead of throwing himself off a cliff then he may well have got a penalty. His own theatrics cost him there. Good. Positives performances: S Cook: MotM by a country mile. Immense. What does Parker do when Kelly is back if Cookie keeps playing like that? He’s done what he had to do… kept his mouth closed whilst he was shut out of the team and waited for an opening on the pitch and let that do his talking. Solanke: Tireless running and excellent pressing. Great finish. The ball was sticking at times even when isolated on his own, which was what we missed in the last match. Travers: Harsh on him not to get a clean sheet out of that performance Room to improve: Stacey: Has looked really flustered of late and had a difficult first half. Improved in the second but with Smith back his place must be under threat. Anthony: He’s a young player so we have to expect and accept ups and downs. This was a down. I’m confident the next will be an up.
Man of the match against Fulham
I got the feeling Billing was back to old habits of going through the motions. Stacey had a really rough time first half, as did Anthony defensively. Wasn’t too impressed with Marcondes or Christie either, but can’t fault the work rate. Thought SP got things pretty much right today and we came out with a good point against a team who, realistically, is probably better than us. It’s not always perfect, but it is refreshing this season to see a less talented group try and bust a gut for each other. I’d take that over the overpaid primadonnas of the previous seasons. I’m still pinching myself that we’re second. Before the season started I was hoping for the top half!
Waz afcb said…
My thoughts: -will take a point all day long under the circumstances, really can’t argue with that. We did not deserve to win that game so we can’t really grumble. -I’ve seen a few comments re Parker’s poor game management and I agree there have been times this season in which we have sat too deep on a lead, but today I’m not sure what people honestly expect. We were playing the best team in the league and we are very depleted right now, some of our players were clearly visibly struggling physically at the end. There is no way in which any team in our situation does not sit deep in these circumstances, so any game management criticism in this instance is unfair in my opinion. -re the players. Steve Cook clearly our MOTM by a country mile, I’m not really sure how you cannot play him after that but I guess when Kelly is back his pace will be vital for that high line. It’s a shame because, despite the fact he has an error in him, I believe him to be our best defender aside from Cahill. The fact that Mepham has been starting ahead of him is frankly laughable, it’s not even close in terms of who is the better defender. -Billing was terrible yet again, he really is such an enigma. I’ve noticed that around about one in three games he tends to be very very good and look a class above this level, for the other two he looks like one of the worst players on the pitch, getting knocked off the ball at every opportunity, misplacing virtually every pass, and ambling around looking generally disinterested. He gives us a goal threat for sure, but what I’m not so sure about is whether his consistency levels are where we need them to be if we want to achieve promotion? -Stacy had a very tough night, he was simply outclassed by his direct opponent today. Probably won’t face a tougher test though. Smith did okay at full-back. -saw a couple of comments that Marcondes was poor and this baffles me a bit. He was always looking to get on the ball and he created our best two scoring opportunities in the first half. I quite like him as a player. He certainly offered more than Billing and I can’t really understand how Billing stayed on the pitch and he did not.
Got to be happy with 1-1 away to your main rivals. However, can’t help feeling disappointed that yet another late goal has cost us points. Credit to Fulham, they are a good side and seem to have a lot of pace through their team, far more than us. They certainly put us under pressure for much of the second half and it was no surprise when they equalised. I appreciate we were up against a good team, but I share the same concerns with some of the other posts about our defensive tactics, not just in this game but other recent examples. That’s Derby, Millwall, Coventry and Fulham where we have given away winning positions in the second half. Is it a physical thing, such that we simply run out of steam, or a tactical issue? I was shouting at the screen just before Fulham equalised as we had 9 players in a line at the edge of our box but no one was rushing out to close down the fulham players. I am convinced that AFCB and Fulham will be the top two at the end, however, the trend of recent points dropped is a worry and allows the chasing pack to close in when we could and should be out of sight.