Writer: Neil Dawson
Date:Wednesday August 22 2012
21st August 2012, 7:45pm
Another day......... another death by narrow midfield as Bournemouth threw away a 1-0 lead against ten men tonight. If ever a game was set up for victory tonight should have been it. Leading by Grabbans home debut goal and with Alan Smith taking an early bath Bournemouth looked to be about to wrap up their first three points of the season. It wasn't to be though as once again bizarre tactics and management decisions handed the game back to the beleagured Dons on a plate.
Groves made two changes from Saturday. Cook stepped in for Elphick and Thomas made way for Arter with Grabban and Pugh playing together behind Barnard in a return to Terry Venables famous 4-3-2-1 Christmas tree formation of the 90's.
The game started edgily with both teams looking to play to feet in a very cramped midfield and the overcrowding producing a lot of errors and misplaced passing. It wasn't particularly stirring stuff and set the tone for a library like atmosphere in the ground that continued most of the match. Lewington fired a free kick narrowly over and Grabban steered a long ball from Daniels wide but neither goalkeeper was looking particularly troubled.
The first move of any significance saw Bournemouth take a 16th minute lead. Daniels burst into the box recieved a fortuitous bounce and fired across goal where GRABBAN turned and fired softly past Martin who had advanced too far for the cross. The goal livened the crowd and the excitement continued when Smith departed for a two footed lunge on Arter. MK Dons were incensed but in reality the ex Man U star should have already been booked for a tug back on Pugh and the Arter tackle definitely warranted a yellow if not the straight red.
Bournemouth then moved into a period of total control but although the ball moved around sweetly there was no natural width so the crosses were always easy to defend as they were coming in from safe positions. Groves football 'vision' is for people to play close together and take it in turns to go out wide and cross it. It works with some of the best teams but I am not convinced that third tier English footballers can pull it off. The fact that the North Stand got excited everytime we eventually found our right back summed that up.
So..... lots of possession with Arter particularly impressive.... lots of sweet passing over 20 yards or less..... lots of interchanging of positions........ zero chances created except for a fierce Partington cross shot that Martin beat out at his near post. That said though a match we had totally in control.
HT Bournemouth 1 MK Dons 0
The second half saw Fletch replace Arter who had been holding his elbow for the last five minutes he was on the pitch. It seemed a strange subsitution as you need to zip the ball around and use the width of the pitch against ten men so mobility is the key and this is not Fletch's strength. What we saw was the inevitable launch of the ball which played into the hands of the MK Dons defence.
Still it was Bournemouth that had the better possession but it was very deliberate. Partington had a good run and curling shot just past the post but that was the last of the chances with a good half hour to go.
MK Dons were gaining in confidence, dealing easy with our long distance crossing and starting to pick the ball up more in midfield and playing on the break. Suddenly it was them making all the running with the home crowd getting increasingly frustrated. Bowditch picked up Powell's cross unmarked and fired just wide with Jalal stranded and Addison then made a great challenge to stop Powell when he was clean through.
Barnard hit a great 25 yarder that Martin did well to tip over but it was a brief respite as MK Dons resumed control and equalised. Potter picked the ball up with too much space and released POWELL who dinked the ball over the onrushing Jalal.
Bournemouth were stunned and ran out of ideas totally getting bogged down in an ever increasing swirl of short passing before knocking it back for another aimless punt to Fletch. One of these nearly paid off when Barnard hooked in while off-side.
And that was that. Our last piece of width was Grabban but he was then removed for Tubbs. We now had the tactical genius of three central forwards who thrive on crosses.............. with no-one to cross the ball to them.
The game played out with the three of them all making the same runs and bumping into each other trying to reach crosses coming from full backs just over the half way line. Pitiful really. I wonder what Max Denim makes of it all.
FT Bournemouth 1 MK Dons 1
Jalal 6 - Nothing to do.
Francis 6 - Up and down well but crossing not usual standard
Cook 6 - Nice and calm on the ball and strong in air.
Addison 6 - Fiercely strong but gave away too many free-kicks
Daniels 5 - Shadow of player he was - stays way to deep.
O'Kane 6 - Very involved but end ball not always great.
Arter 7 - Was looking excellent in effort and passing before injury
Partington 6 - Better than previous two games but still inconsistent
Pugh 5 - Delayed final ball too often and over deliberate
Grabban 6 - Took goal calmly but drifted in and out after
Barnard 5 - Worked hard but formation was against his strengths.
Date:Wednesday August 22 2012
Ward: It's going to be a big test (Wednesday June 19 2013)
Cherries sign Ward (Wednesday June 19 2013)
Arter: 'Every game will be a big one' (Tuesday June 18 2013)
Ritchie: Looking forward to Portsmouth (Tuesday June 18 2013)
Cherries to host Pompey in the Capital One Cup (Monday June 17 2013)
Fraser: I'm ready to deliver (Monday June 17 2013)
AFCB Sign Holmes (Monday June 17 2013)
Howe: We will continue to pass (Monday June 17 2013)
Long-term Injury Update (Monday June 17 2013)
Time for Stockley to Shine (Friday June 14 2013)
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