Writer: Neil Dawson
Date:Saturday February 23 2013
23rd February 2013, 3pm
Bournemouth's slumped to their second consecutive defeat in a war of attrition at Dean Court this afternoon. Visitors Sheffield United were too strong, too tall and too up for it all afternoon and the hosts wilted under the pressure.
Eddie made one change from the defeat at Preston, O'Kane resuming his central berth with Arter while Macdonald stepped back to the bench.
The game kicked off with three instant moments of skilful flowing football that was a false dawn in terms of what was to follow. First Seaborne left Robson unmarked and he chested the ball 25 yards out and thumped a volley off the top of the crossbar with Jalal stranded. Straight down the other end and O'Kane burst through to feed Grabban whose first time shot was brilliantly saved by Long.
From the resulting corner Arter's angled drive smacked into a defender on the line in what was turning into an enthralling opening cameo. Little did we know that Arter's fifth minute drive was to be our last effort on target!
From that moment on, Sheffield United ground themselves into the game, playing with an intensity when they didn't have the ball that we couldn't live with. Clearly having watched us carefully they pressed right up the pitch with the two central forwards and wingers while the central midfield sat back waiting for the back four to panic under pressure and kick the ball anywhere. It worked a treat if we are to be honest for the next eighty five minutes.
The home support grew agitated at the constant moving the ball along the back before hoofing it high where giant centre halfs Maguire and Collins completely aerially dominated Pitman and Grabban. This agitation grew worse with the inconsistent and fussy referee who gave a series of bizarre decisions against the hosts.
As the visitors control increased they started to venture forwards more, Maguire was left unattended at a corner for Jalal to save his powerful header. We had no response and the games only goal arrived shortly after when Seaborne slipped and the abject Painter lost concentration to allow Murphy in behind. To complete the comedy of errors, when Jalal had blocked the winger's fierce drive he was allowed to run backwards, latch on to it and fire back past the keeper showing more determination than the four Bournemouth players around the ball.
If the goal would have infuriated Eddie than so will the play for the rest of the half. If you blurred your vision to who was in the dug-out it would have been easy to assume Groves was back in charge as the team played ever increasing triangles while heading backwards and then launching an aerial ball at Grabban. With both wingers off song and Arter and O'Kane in careless mood with the ball it was pretty grim stuff and resulted in no meaningful efforts whatsoever.
HT Bournemouth 0 Sheffield Utd 1
The second half saw Eddie remove Painter for the second game in a row after 45 minutes. Mcquoid came on with Ritchie dropping to left back. Painter has to have something about him to have played fairly regularly in the championship but it has been impossible to detect it on his two showings so far - he looks shot of all confidence with even a routine 10 yard pass an ordeal and he is as slow as the Brighton fans warned us.
The change spurred Bournemouth into greater forays forwards with Pugh and Ritchie a better combination but still the final ball was woeful - Pugh not producing one and Ritchie aiming at an imaginary tall target man and seeing them all headed clear with ease and no challenge. With Arter and O'Kane having to drop ever deeper to get the ball we twice in a row crossed the ball to one attacker and five defenders.
In an attempt to produce a result Eddie made further changes, giving Fraser his debut for Pitman with Josh moving up front and then bringing on Tubbs for Grabban. It was just shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic really though as every one was a like for like replacement so Sheffield United were not tested in any way and were able to hold formation and keep pressing. More than that with Tubbs, Fraser, Arter, O'Kane, Ritchie and Pugh in the forward line there was not a cat in hell's chance of winning any fight or any ball in the air. And we didn't.
There was one chance of not much note in the whole bad-tempered stop/start half. Maguire sliced a Ritchie cross onto the roof of his own net causing the only heart stopping moment in 85 minutes for the massed Sheffield United hoards who became the latest team in this ever-changing league to claim top spot. Let's hope it has the same effect on them it had on us....
FT Bournemouth 0 Sheffield United 1
Jalal 6 - No chance with the goal and generally distributed well
Francis 6 - Couldn't escape the double bank that faced him.
Cook 7 - Good dominance of the ginger lump Kitson.
Seaborne 6 - Solid enough tackling but couple of positional errors
Painter 4 - Like watching someone's Dad playing for a pub team.
Ritchie 6 - Lightweight in midfield but more involved at left back.
Arter 5 - Lost the battle and too many loose balls.
O'Kane 6 - Marginally more involved than Arter but still average.
Pugh 5 - Plainly misses Daniels as lacks pace to do on own.
Grabban 5 - Ran a few channels but generally quiet and not in box.
Pitman 5 - Looked a bit sluggish and not in box enough.
(Sub McQuoid 5 - Gave ball away too often and cut in too much).
Date:Saturday February 23 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)
Mitchell: We can't break the rules (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Howe: We are going to need an edge (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Tubbs: Howe & Tindall turned the club on its head (Tuesday May 21 2013)
|5. Sheff Utd||46||19||18||9||+14||75|
|7. Leyton Orient||46||21||8||17||+7||71|
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