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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

AFC Bournemouth 3 - Yeovil Town 0

Dean Court

26th December 2013, 3pm

Attendance: 10,717

Glovers Floored on Boxing Day

Christmas is a time for looking after the family but Bournemouth didn't roll out the carpet when their country cousins made the short journey round to dish out the presents. The resurgent Matt Ritchie scored twice and a beauty from Eunan O'Kane meant the return visit to drop the Easter Eggs off in April might see a frosty reception.

Eddie understandably stuck with the same team that had won so impressively at Hillsborough, meaning Cook's hamstring kept him out again and sticking to the one up front that had looked a little impotent at home previously.

Roared on by a near 11,000 crowd the Cherries were quick into the ascendancy with Grabban pulling the centre halfs all over the place with his runs and Fraser murdering Edwards. Surman's header from the little Scot's cross was brilliantly saved by Stech before the on-loan Norwich midfielder then saw his and Arter's pointblank drives blocked brilliantly by the impressive Duffy.

As against Birmingham it was a first half of total fluid movement and possession with the ball worked wide effortlessly and a joy to watch. Also like the Birmingham game though there was a lack of numbers in the box so the crosses were cleared before the next round of pressure relentlessly began.

Yeovil were playing only sporadically on the break and Miller looked dangerous forcing Camp into a good save from an oblique angled drive.

It was rare though, as Bournemouth kept pouring forward, Stech saving smartly from Ritchies header and then when Grabban was put clean through he elected to round the keeper which allowed Duffy to get back and clear his goalbound shot.

The half wound to a close with Bournemouth still urgently seeking the first goal. Elliott Ward skipped inside Edwards like a winger before curling a drive inches wide and Grabban broke wide but Stech brilliantly kept out his stinging drive. It was a great half of football by the home team but ominously for the goal starved Dean Court fans there was nothing to show for it.

HT Bournemouth 0 Yeovil 0

The second half started as the first half finished with Bournemouth turning the screw. The impressive O'Kane had a brilliant 40 yard run but he didn't shoot in the box when well placed and the moment went.

Yeovil couldn't hold out though and when Fraser carried the ball brilliantly at speed for 70 yards his cross was headed out to the edge of the area. If the home fans could have chosen a recipient for a loose ball falling on the edge of the box it would have been RITCHIE and sure enough the diminutive playmaker first time half volleyed drive screamed past Stech to open the scoring in the 49th minute.

Arter went in two footed on Upson, won the ball and then remonstrated strongly with the ref who called over skipper Elphick to ask him to cool Harry down. Howe had seen enough and substituted him straight away with Macdonald.

Instantly Bournemouth doubled the lead. It was the same combination of Fraser breaking and feeding RITCHIE 30 yards out. Buoyed with confidence he smacked the ball which took a deflection off a Yeovil head that span it into the top corner over Stech's despairing reach.

The quick football and high pressing continued with Yeovil fast getting worn out. This led to the goal of the game. There seemed little danger when O'KANE picked the ball up near the right wing and set off on a mazy run towards the penalty area. The Irishman has a penchance for the spectacular and he continued across the back four taking touch after touch before smacking a reverse left foot drive back across Stech and into the opposite bottom right hand corner.

With one mind on the Ipswich game Howe took this as his cue to save the legs of the hard working Grabban and Fraser replacing them with Rantie and Pugh.

The team then slowed the game down, allowing Yeovil a little more possession. Upson sharp turn and shot in the box saw the ball come back off the foot of the post before Ritchie smacked a drive from 35 yards that missed the post by centimetres. Francis was similarly close from the same distance with a spectacular dipping volley from a clearance. The scoreline didn't alter though but the entertainment stayed high.

FT Bournemouth 3 Yeovil 0

Camp 7 - Good handling and kicking assured on the little he did.

Francis 8 - Bombed up and down, defended well - all energy.
Elphick 7 - Solid performance after an early Miller run around.
Ward 8 - Aerially impressive and some great passing/runs.
Daniels 8 - Back to his barnstorming arrogant best.

Ritchie 8 - Brilliant goalscoring and ever intelligent prompting.
Arter 7 - Tidy enough but not at best. Hot head reared again.
O'Kane 9 - Such a great reader, great effort, brilliant delivery.
Surman 7 - Quietish display but kept ball moving/ever available.
Fraser 8 - Stunning dribbling technique and a constant threat.

Grabban 8 - Led line well, worked channels, intelligent ball use.

Star Player

You could argue a few cases and I wouldn't fall out with you. For me it was a straight choice between the goalscorers, both of whom were brilliant today. For me O'Kane slightly edges it because he had more of the ball and his covering and tackling were every bit as good as his passing and prompting. A goal to long remember too.


A totally dominant and exciting performance albeit against average opposition. The movement and skill was worthy of the large attendance for once and anyone watching will surely come back. The team never let Yeovil settle and the triangular passing and space finding was mesmerising at times.

If you were to pick a worry it would be that again we lacked presence in the area - a sea of crosses and corners/free-kicks were once again easily dealt with. All three goals came from outside the box and were spectacular hits - on another day they might fly wide or high. We still need to find midfielders that gamble beyond the striker or a striker Eddie trusts to partner Grabban and attack crosses.

That said the extra man in midfield does give us a lot more possession and makes us look less likely to concede with O'Kane offering a great cover to the centre halfs. The Irishman has been a revelation in his new position - even finding time to join the attack today, something he always does with quick feet and style. The discovery of his new position and the return of Ritchie has revitalised a side that were on a scary run of results. The table looks a lot prettier as a result. This should encourage a couple of people to join us in January and I would imagine an aggressive front man will be high on the list. With this in place we should be safe and maybe even have a flirtation with greater things. Its a happy place this Christmas.

Report by Neil Dawson

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The Journalist

Writer: Neil Dawson Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday December 26 2013

Time: 7:59PM


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