Writer: Neil Dawson
Date:Saturday August 17 2013
17th August 2013, 3pm
On fire hit-man Lewis Grabban bagged his fourth of the season to beat reigning FA Cup holders Wigan 1-0 in another pulsating afternoon at Dean Court.
If we are to sustain a Championship place Dean Court will need to become a fortress...... and on the first two games evidence it is very achievable. Bournemouth are always at their best when dictating the tempo and in reality we are more likely to do this on home turf than on the pitches of some of our more illustrious opponents.
Eddie made a couple of changes today - one enforced with Harte coming in for Daniels and one tactical with Pitman replacing Surman. They nearly got off to the perfect start as well in the opening minute when Pitman fed Grabban but Carson was quick off his line to deflect the top scorers drive wide. Wigan hit back and Allsop palmed over Mcarthurs curling drive in an enterprising opening.
Bournemouth became quite disjointed after that with Wigan pressing them hard. The ball wouldn't stick up front and the midfield was sat very deep. Harte doesn't attack like Daniels does - and that left Pugh with two opponents whenever he got the ball and it all becoming a little strangulated. Arter was having one of his more careless days passing wise, and with our defence impressively dominant against Holt and Maloney it was all a little rushed from both sides - without any chances being created for a good half hour.
Towards the end of the half Bournemouth had a very fruitful purple patch. Pitman and Grabban interchanged brilliantly twice and Wigan were indebted to ex- England stopper Carson who blocked twice. Fraser then broke but agonisingly couldn't decide between Pitman or Grabban and the moment came and went.
The pressure was mounting though and Pitman had a shot brillantly cleared off the line by Barnett from 'that' corner routine before Grabban's acrobatic overhead volley from Pugh's cross flashed wide. Wigan could not hold out though, but the source of the goal was unusual. With Pitman poleaxed by Barnett from a high ball the players half stopped expecting a free-kick. It wasn't given and... maybe confused by it all..... Latics centre half Barnett sent a long pass back to Carson that was intercepted by GRABBAN who rounded the keeper with assureity before firing right footed into the empty net.
HT Bournemouth 1 Wigan 0
The second half started with Bournemouth again a little negligent in their passing routines and Wigan fighting hard with some tasty tackling. The visitors were enjoying a lot of possession but were very wasteful with their final ball, when they got it right Cook and Ward were immense in concentration and application.
Bournemouth changed up a gear on the hour mark and Harte's dipping 30 yard volley was beaten out by Carson. From the loose ball Pitman was flattenned as he turned and the ref pointed to the spot without hesitation. A battle of wills followed with words between Pitman and Carson. The keeper was the winner though as after showing Brett a large space to the right..... he flung himself full length to palm out the ball when Brett put it there!
It seemed like it might have been the games pivotal moment and the crowd became edgy. Holt was withdrawn - a sign that Ward had dominated his old team mate - and star winger Mcmanaman arrived along with French striker Fortune as Coyle threw caution to the wind.
You could see the pattern the game was going to take when Allsop was booked for time wasting with 25 minutes still to go but Wigan were about to hand back the advantage with a moment of rash stupidity. Calum Mcmanaman lit up the Premier League and FA Cup with some superb moments at the end of last season but was probably more famous for his controversial knee high two footed lunge on Newcastle winger Haidara that sparked an on and off pitch battle. At the time much was made about how out of character it was.... so his repeat performance on Pitman, albeit slightly lower, which earned him a straight red, will no doubt become a talking point. Brett had already jumped so the impact was greatly lessened. Had Brett's foot been planted the winger would have produced his second 'out of character' career ending tackle........
The ten men of Wigan still continued to take the game to Bournemouth and Barnett's header was cleared off the line by Pugh. This was his last piece of the action as Eddie withdrew both wingers to bring on Thomas and Elphick. It should have calmed things down but frustratingly we couldn't keep hold of the ball for more than two passes. You could see the absolute desperation to get something out of the game for our players in the wake of Watford and pressure doesn't always add up to composure.
Looking back though, Wigan rarely threatened and we could have extended the lead when Pitman's brilliant quickly taken chipped free-kick was kept out at full stretch by the superb Carson. With six minutes of injury time there was one heart stopping moment left when free-kick specialist Maloney lined up an 18 yard free-kick. He hit the wall to huge relief and as the ball broke to Macarthur Pitman raced 10 yards and threw himself in the path of the drive to block it. A moment that summed the game up - hard-fought victory!!
Ft Bournemouth 1 Wigan 0
Allsop - 7 Some fine stops and good all round assurance.
Francis - 7 Hands full with Beausejour but coped admirably.
Cook - 8 Outstanding concentration and controlled dominance.
Ward - 9 Led the back four superbly and a tower of strength v Holt
Harte - 6 Doesn't get forward. Passing poor at start but got better.
Fraser - 7 Grew as game went on and pushed them back in 2nd half.
Arter - 6 Muscled out a lot, worked hard but accuracy less than norm.
Macdonald - 9 Another immense performance on and off ball.
Pugh 7 - Over elaborate at times but starting to show old form.
Grabban - 8 Worked socks off and another well taken finish
Pitman - 7 Immense work rate - not quite there with ball in 1st game.
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Date:Saturday August 17 2013
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