Writer: Neil Dawson
Date:Tuesday November 20 2012
20th November 2012, 7:45pm
Bournemouth and Stevenage fought out an enthralling 1-1 draw with a late Tubbs equaliser keeping Eddies unbeaten record going.
With Brett Pitman signing on before kick off, Matt Tubbs must have been wondering where he fits in to the grand scheme of things but the diminutive hit-man did everything he could to prove himself worthy of fighting for a place and keep the recent run on track.
Bournemouth lined up with the same team that had demolished Oldham against a resolute Stevenage side who were looking to prove a point after two four goal concessions in a row. They had changed their formation to one up front and a five man midfield and it proved a difficult conundrum for Bournemouth to get their heads around.
The extra man in midfield forced Bournemouth to go wide to create anything and Barnard had the first chance firing straight at Arnold from Daniels low cross. The Cherries were playing lots of neat triangles but Stevenage threw themselves at anything and height wise were happy to allow us to cross the ball and then head it away. On a rare occasion we won a header Arnold clawed away Grabban's top corner bound effort.
Chances were at a premium though with Bournemouth always dominating possession but struggling to find a break-through. When the opening goal came it was against the run of play. Addison fatally hesitated on a bouncing ball and allowed Haber behind him to cross for TANSY to smack a shot in off the underside of the cross-bar and stun the home crowd.
For a brief period Stevenage dominated possession but Bournemouth came back strongly. Again though every cross was dealt with and some poor first touches gave possession away in key areas. When we did have chances Stevenage threw bodies in the way of every shot - 5 blocks in 5 minutes leading up to half time showed Bournemouth this was not going to be easy.
HT Bournemouth 0 Stevenage 1
The second half saw Tubbs on for the ineffective Barnard and clearly a plan to play low and not into the visitors height advantage.
The usual bombardment took a while to happen though with two rows of four and a spare man sweeping Stevenage restricted Bournemouth to a lot of wide positions and blocked crosses - clearly a game plan worked out well in advance. Playing further back Arter and Macdonald both fired in 30 yarders but they didn't trouble Arnold.
As the game went on the visitors started tiring as Bournemouth's constant switching of play, mostly orchestrated by another impressive Arter display, tired their legs. You sensed a goal was coming - Macdonald headed a Francis cross inches wide and Grabban volleyed narrowly over from a brilliant Pugh run and cross.
Howe switched Grabban and Mcquoid and this was the catalyst for the equaliser. Mcquoid was having a bit of a mare with his first touch and the right wing wasn't really clicking like the left. Grabban changed this with more controlled play. The switch was key to the equaliser with Grabban picking a loose clearance wide and crossing first time for TUBBS to ghost in to the six yard box unmarked and head home for a typical poacher's strike.
The atmosphere was now crackling and Bournemouth went for the jugular. We very nearly equalised with what would have been a contender for goal of the season. Francis picked out Pugh with a 60 yard cross field pass. The newly signed winger controlled and back heeled in Daniels whose first time volleyed cross was met by Addison who headed powerfully and wastefully wide from ten yards having stormed into the box unmarked.
How Bournemouth didn't go on to win only one man can answer - Stevenage keeper Arnold. Fletch arrived as a late sub and straight away headed back across the box for Addison to head into the top corner but Arnold appeared from nowhere to claw the ball on to the post with a world class save. He then blocked brilliantly with his legs when Grabban's volley thrashed through a crowded penalty area.
Right at the death though Bournemouth were indebted to David James who reacted fantastically to keep out a deflected shot by visiting sub Rogers. Four minutes of injury time brought a lot of huff and puff but no real chances and a pulsating game drew to a close.
FT Bournemouth 1 Stevenage 1
James 7 - Handled well and one late great save
Francis 7 - Motored up and down well and defended superbly.
Elphick 9 - Read game brilliantly and was faultless
Addison 6 - Fatal error again - how many goals are down to him?
Daniels 7 - Link with Pugh is almost telepathic.
Mcquoid 6 - Stop start game for Josh with good bits / poor control
Arter 7 - Great second half of probing and scheming.
Macdonald 8 - Another lesson in work and skill.
Pugh 8 - Trickery superb and entertainment personified.
Barnard 6 - Not really gelling and we are not getting best of him
(Tubbs 7) - Johnny on the spot and good hold up play.
Grabban 7 - Wasteful on a couple of chances but worked hard.
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Date:Tuesday November 20 2012
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