9th August 2014, 3pm
Bournemouth's season started where the last one ended with an emphatic thumping of a bewildered opposition. This time it was Huddersfield left reeling and rocking their way out of the John Smith's stadium as if they had drunk seven pints of the stuff. Not the murky brown ale for the visiting Cherries though who put on another four goal champagne performance.
To keep up the deja vue nature of the performance there was only one debutant - Wilson - as a straight swap for Grabban. O'Kane took Surman's slot and we were back in very familiar territory. The end result was a stunning four nil complete performance and two goals for Wilson to help him settle into the top scorers replacement role.
All the plans and hopes for the summer can be either exaggerated or dashed with the season's first goal and the speed with which Bournemouth took the lead would have definetly flattened a Terriers team with 2 wins in their last 21 games of 2013/14. With 28 seconds on the clock O'Kane beautifully found Ritchie with a cross field pass of majestic beauty and the diminutive winger pinged a first time cross over the centre halfs to an unmarked PUGH who controlled and fired confidently past Smithies. Fans who attended the friendlies will have seen the same three work an almost identical move against Swansea so it's clearly training ground inspired.
The terriers were on their heels at this stage and Pugh was causing Crooks nightmares with a stream of tricks and crosses that three times saw Ritchie shots blocked or saved. With Arter and O'Kane showing huge pressing energy and the back four calmly dominant it all added up to a very impressive start for the visitors.
Midway through the first half Huddersfield rallied but the defence was equal to every break and move as the home fans frustration grew. At this point the match was still balanced and the next goal was going to be critical. Most of the pre-match talk by Bournemouth fans was which forward would start with Yann and whether they could replace Grabban. When Elphicks long ball saw WILSON break the off-side trap and race away out wide we knew we would be getting an early answer. The speedy debut man advanced on the goal with confidence, paused beautifully and curled a drive past Smithies at his near post to set the travelling hordes wild. Huddersfield appealed that Wilson's shoulder charge on Lynch to set him off was illegal but it was all in vain.
The second goal settled Bournemouth back into a rhythm that would remain for the rest of the game. The story of the rest of the half was one of assured possession rather than a sea of chances. The only two efforts were from long range. Norwood struck the crossbar out of nothing from 30 yards to briefly rouse the home fans and Ritchie had an audacious 70 yard chip from his own half sail wide with Smithies stranded.
HT Huddersfield 0 Bournemouth 2
Mark Robins brought on winger Scammell and moved from a trendy 3-5-2 to an orthodox 4-4-2 to try and stem the tide of Bournemouth attacks down the flank but within five minutes they were 3-0 down. Without taking anything away from Bournemouth some of the Huddersfield defending was distinctly suspect and the sight of two players queuing up to score, both unmarked, will no doubt be a feature of the hosts video analysis tomorrow. O'Kane was the provider firing in a cross to where Pugh and KERMORGANT stood, free as a bird and un oiseau, at the back stick. The former headed at Smithies who parried for the latter to dink over him and into the net.
That was it for Huddersfield, the crowd had turned and the last of their confidence evaporated as Bournemouth slowed the game down and kept the ball with passages of majestic possession. Only set pieces proved a threat and Camp demonstrated how good he is with stunning saves in quick succession from Peltier's and Crook's headers - impressive as it was his first call to action after over an hour of a largely watching brief.
The fourth goal duly arrived when Ritchie again pinged an early cross to WILSON whose speed had taken him ahead of the defence and his side foot finish crawled over the line after Smithies had done well to get a hand to it.
There then followed the rare enjoyment of sitting watching an away game with your hands behind your head as ones team stroked it about pausing briefly to have the odd attack. From one of these Ritchie released Wilson who was brought down by Smithes for a clear penalty. Kermorgant grabbed the ball but Wilson, buoyed by the fans singing for him to take it, asked the Frenchman and the two looked at the bench. Eddie didn't seem to get involved but Yann offered Wilson his debut hat-trick on a plate in a great show of unselfishness. You could have written the script though when in front of the away fans Wilson's nervy soft spot kick was easily saved by Smithies.
Good cameos from Gosling and Rantie followed as the pattern continued but the result stayed the same.
FT Huddersfield 0 Bournemouth 4
Camp 8 - Unruffled and one brilliant save
Francis 8 - Imperious defending and normal attacking energy.
Elphick 9 - Rock like calmness and a lesson in positioning.
Cook 8 - Solid, hard as nails and great reading of the game.
Daniels 8 - Not as attacking as normal but some great tackling.
Ritchie 9 - Centre of everything and pulled all the strings.
Arter 9 - An awesome display of energy, harrying and passing.
O'Kane 8 - Clever dovetailing with Arter and sweeping up all over.
Pugh 8 - Had Crooks on toast and brilliant in first half especially
Wilson 9 - Pace, strength and looks like a natural finisher
Kermorgant 8 - Great target and another goal.
As for the performance.... A rock like defence, hard working and inventive midfield and a dangerous forward line. Wilson looks like we have bought a largely finished article which is a relief and all the other players we know well and they performed to the upper reaches of their talents. Tactically we had shape and a system and all the passing was clearly pre-ordained in training. Huddersfield couldn't live with it - we move on to see how other teams cope with joy in our hearts. Welcome back!
Report by Neil Dawson
Audenshaw Cherry wrote...
.......did I think this would the result today.
To temper the elation Huddersfield just didn't turn up. They were a shambles. Let's not kid ourselves (and I'm sure that we don't) there will be a lot harder days than this to come this season.
BUT WE WON 4 - 0 ON THE FIRST DAY THE SEASON!!!!! AWAY!
I think I had just put my ample behind on my seat and I was stood up again as the Huddersfield defence went AWOL and Pugh ghosted in to score in the 26th second. Delirium in the away end but the rest of ground became a library for the rest of the game, only for the booing at half time and at the end of the match and for Robins' substitutions. Boy is he not popular in Huddersfield tonight.
The game settle into a pattern where Bournemouth retained most of the possession and when we lost the ball we pressed the very high to put pressure on the home team. I went with a friend, who as it happens supports Stalybridge Celtic, and he commented very early on that we looked more like the home team.
As the half wore on Huddersfield did put some crosses and shots in but there was no real concern in or defence until a shot from about thirty yards out dipped viciously and smacked off the bar.
The lead was doubled on 32 minutes when debutant Wilson shrugged off the challenge from a defender some 40 yards out and run in on a brilliant long pass and one on one with the keeper calmly slotted it home.
HT Huddersfield 0 AFCB 2
The second half was the same again and 5 minutes in Kermorgant slammed the ball home in front of the away fans after some good set up work but also some lamentable defending. The away fans were in raptures and this was the cue for hundreds and I do mean hundreds of home fans to leave.
More were to follow when a cross by Ritchie reached the toe of Wilson and the ball found itself in the net again. This was really strange because I don't really know how the keeper missed it and will have to watch the TV tonight to find out. It must have hit a bump on the flatest of flat surfaces.
It could not get better could it?
Oh yes. A few minutes later Wilson was brought down in the box. Clearly Kermorgant is the penalty taker but I think Eddie let his heart rule his head and he signalled for Wilson, who was on for a hat trick to take. (The away crowd were also calling for Wilson) Wrong decision and safe to say he won't be taking many more penalties this season. But hey ho we were 4 - 0 up.
The game finished with a flurry of substitutions with Kermorgant, Wilson and Pugh all be allowed to take the plaudits from the crowd.
FT Huddersfield 0 AFCB 4
Camp: 7 Didn't have a great deal to do but looked solid
Francis 7 linked well with Ritchie and caused trouble whenever he went forward
Elphick 7 Never troubled. Played the ball out from the back with ease.
Cook 7 As with Elphick. He did get booked taking one for the team when a hole opened in the defence
Daniels 6 Linked with Pugh bit lacked pace and did get caught with the ball on a couple of occasions.
Ritchie 8 Was a thorn in the home team side all game. One audacious lob from 40 yards only just missed.
Arter 8 Harried all afternoon. Sometimes frustrating when he doesn't make the final pass but played really well
O'Kane 8 When I saw him play last season I wasn't always impressed but today he was efficient and also harried a lot.
Pugh 7 Scored the early goal but you get the feeling that the link with Daniels is not yet back to its best
Wilson 8 What can beat two goals on your debut? 3? Oh well. He clearly has a nose for goal and the one on one with the keeper was clinical
Kermorgant 8 Led the line very well and tucked away a good gaol. Strong and very much a team man, Wasn't afraid to track back.
MOM - Any one of five but would give tom Wilson for his goals.
So a great start to the season against a very average side but a win is a win and an away win even better. A 4 - 0 win is FANTASTIC!