Date:Monday September 3 2012
The trip to Bramall Lane was seen as a real milestone to AFCB contingent, with the Blades being odds on favourites to win the league it would really give an idea of where the side were in their hopes to gain that much wanted promotion to the second tier of English football.
Manager Paul Groves made two changes to the side that worked hard to earn a point at home to Preston. MacDonald returned from a dead leg to replace the suspended Arter and after a poor showing Thomas was dropped for the tricky Grabban.
The early exchanges were typical of the season thus far with Bournemouth struggling to get the ball down and play with an unbalanced diamond formation being employed offering little width from midfield but encouraging the full backs to push on.
With Sheffield missing a few half chances the first clear cut chance fell to Lewis Grabban who leapt well to reach a cross from the right wing but failed to work the keeper from 8 yards. The game began to find some rhythm with a fast pace making it enjoyable for the neutral with Sheffield missing what looked like a simple tap in but was blazed well over by Collins.
Then when it looked like United were taking the upper hand Bournemouth earned a corner from good passing play around the edge of the area. The initial delivery was cleared but fell back to O'Kane who drove in and found ELPHICK who rose to nod the ball past the keeper on the 20 minute mark.
However as ever with Bournemouth they struggled to keep the ball after scoring and with several lame attempt to clear the ball from the danger area, United played the ball to the far post where a simple nod down was met by the onrushing FLYNN who scored an easy reply.
With the game at a pivotal stage Bournemouth continued to look like strangers on the pitch and a second looked inevitable and another piece of poor defending saw the ball fall to FLYNN who had more time than should ever be available in the box to pick his spot and cooly finished past the flat footed Jalal.
And as it seems with Bournemouth away from home when it rains it pours, a good spell of sustained possession was soon become tedious for the Bournemouth back line and with MacDonald losing the ball on half way to young COFIE he waltz unchallenged up to the edge of the area before smashing home a delightful finish for one so young.
Bournemouth were lucky to go in at 2 down with Cofie then hitting the bar with an audacious effort from 25 yards which left Jalal stranded. The players left the pitch to a chorus of booing from the fans who had made the trip up to Yorkshire.
The second half saw Groves make a change with Hughes replacing Partington who again seemed an observer of all around him. This immediately made a difference with Bournemouth also reverting to a 4-4-2 Hughes was calm and confident on the ball spreading play and keeping a better tempo.
With this promising start Bournemouth were soon rewarded when BARNARD scored his second goal for the club with a free header inside the United 6 yard box from O'Kane's precise corner.
Groves then tried to seize the initiative by bringing on McQuoid for MacDonald to play his first competitive game back at AFCB and he looked lively and up for the fight. Within for minutes though Bournemouth gave Sheffield another gift when Francis lost out to Flynn in the defensive third and the Sheffield man drove down the left flank and was left a free cross that was met by CRESSWELL to restore their two goal lead.
The game began to slip away with Bournemouth struggling to find that final ball despite lots of movement all along the front line. Another chance fell to Grabban after excellent work by Pugh cut the ball back to the penalty spot where Lewis had a simple finish but instead sliced sideways, threatening the corner flag instead of the net.
AFCB had a glimmer of hope when PUGH struck a low drive which was deflected into the bottom right corner of the net and meant for a thrilling final 5 minutes plus stoppage time. However after pushing for an equalizer Bournemouth shot themselves in the foot when Daniels tripped BLACKWELL who stepped up to beat Jalal whose attempt at a dive looked like a dying bird.
The most worrying thing for me is that every game we appear to have different problems and although some see negatives from the performance there was plenty to take on the plus side against a efficient Sheffield unit. The main ones are: 1. We looked a threat in the second half when reverting to a 4-4-2. 2. Hughes controlled the tempo and has still got an excellent passing range under pressure. 3. McQuoid looks fit and a threat when out wide and through the middle and could be deadly alongside Barnard. 4.To score three goals that were earned from own play shows how we can do if we cut out the errors of overplaying at times.
The main areas for improvement are at the back we need to be tighter to our men from crosses and react to the second ball all over the pitch. Also do not be afraid to thread balls through to the strikers who movement is causing problems and finding space to spare. Groves should be given target for points at 10 games and review from there. We are getting there I promise.
Jalal 5-Poor distribution and never really remember a save he made that wasn't straight at him.
Francis 5- Worst game from a usually steady player, got forward well, maybe seeing injury to Holmes is in mind (46 stitches!!!!)
Elphick 7- One of the better players, confident on the ball big slide tackles and scored another good header.
Addison 4- Worst player on pitch for me. Didn't lead by example, simple passing errors over ten yard. Does not motivate always moaning.
Daniels 5- Still a shadow of former self, regularly getting beaten by his man which is costing us.
O'kane 6- Better when he moved into to the middle, good spread of play but went missing towards final quarter of game.
MacDonald 5- Worst game in a Bournemouth shirt. Sloppy on the ball and losing out in areal and physical battles.
Partington 4- Did he get off the coach.
Pugh 7- Struggled at top of the diamond but much improved second half with some great crosses which were unmet of squandered.
Grabban 6- Looks lively on the ball but off the ball work rate leaves a lot to be asked which is needed away from home
Barnard 8- Stand out player again! Linked with wide players and midfield, held ball up, created chances for others and took his only one. Also exceptional work rate until the end chasing down lost causes and acting like a captain to get people going.
Hughes 7- Made a difference in the middle, good spread of passing and increased tempo. Tired towards end but sharpness will come and could be the midfield general we need!
McQuoid 7- Full of energy, all over the pitch wanting the ball and alongside Barnard were only players showing a hint of passion for the cause.
Fogden- Late sub so not worthy of rating but in glimpses as full of energy as ever and could come could in our new style of play.
Report by jas_afcb
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Date:Monday September 3 2012
Footballers found not guilty (Friday May 24 2013)
10 years ago today (Friday May 24 2013)
Flahavan: I am staying to fight for the shirt (Friday May 24 2013)
Cherries linked with Brentford striker (Thursday May 23 2013)
Win a kit for a local youth football team (Thursday May 23 2013)
Introducing the 'All Departments' podcast (Thursday May 23 2013)
Mitchell: It is paramount we keep Howe (Thursday May 23 2013)
Three more games added to pre-season schedule (Thursday May 23 2013)
Pitman: No-one expected us to go up that day (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Mitchell: Season ticket sales are fantastic (Wednesday May 22 2013)
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