It just had to be Grabban
30th August 2014
For 600 years, from the Norman Conquest to the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was the second city of England in terms of population, business and trade. Norwich was once a truly international centre and the whole concept of fashion was invented here in the 13th century. Maybe that`s why the Canaries adopted garish yellow and green while most football clubs opted for a variation of red or blue. Norwich once had a church for every week of the year, but a pub for every day. There are no longer 365 to choose from, but there is certainly plenty of choice. That is where I start: on Friday night with quite a number who have journeyed up down and across to make a weekend of it. None of us had seen the Cherries play a league match in Norwich, the last one being our 3-2 win in 1959. An eagerly awaited match is previewed in the Glass House, the Ribs of Beef and the Mischief with a few memories of our last meeting here of the 0-0 in the League Cup in 2000. You might think that early season form and Lewis Grabban would dominate discussions, but no. Because the assembled were at all school at the time, so inevitably the discussion drifted back to the "Norwich exodus;" the break-up of one of the most talented Bournemouth teams ever that still rankles for some.
To cut a long story as short as possible (ancient supporters can skip this), despite the signing of a young forward called Ted MacDougall, Bournemouth took their first step out of the old Third Division in 1970 by being narrowly relegated. John Bond arrived as manager, brought in wingers to supply MacDougall and reinforced the side with Mel Machin and Phil Boyer. By Christmas, Tony Powell was the only other of the relegated side left and, including 49 MacDougall goals, Bournemouth were promoted. The next season saw three home league crowds over 20,000, a 3-0 win over Aston Villa, 48,110 in the return at Villa Park and Ted`s 9 goals in the FA Cup match against Margate. This was a golden time for Boscombe often known today as the "Bond era." But Bournemouth missed out on promotion because just two went up and MacDougall only scored a measly(!) 35 league goals. Harry Redknapp arrived from West Ham and Bournemouth were promotion favourites for 72/73 until MacDougall was sold to Manchester United in September. Despite challenging at the top, Bournemouth finished 7th. 73/74 also saw Bournemouth as favourites but, just before hitting the top of the table in December, John Bond left to become manger of Norwich City then in the old First Division. The Bournemouth 'keeper, Davies along with Mel Machin and John Benson and coach Ken Brown all followed Bond within weeks. In February, Phil Boyer was transferred to Norwich, to partner Ted MacDougall who had already been signed by Bond. Norwich were relegated though. Tony Powell then joined the exodus to Carrow Road. The following season, Norwich were promoted back to the First Division with almost half the team having been Bournemouth players who had played in ourmost successful and exciting period up to that point. The very same players then guided Norwich to 10th place the top flight. To cut that story very short indeed, NORWICH STOLE OUR TEAM!
Some may have had headaches this morning, but hearty breakfasts enabled some of us to take pints with arrivals on morning trains in the Compleat Angler and the Coach and Horses long before the sun was over the yard arm. A 'fact` bandied around on the way to the ground was eagerly checked on mobile phones. Are we really undefeated at Carrow Road since 1951?. Can any Bournemouth supporter anywhere recall seeing us lose at Norwich? Another fact is that all three teams relegated with us in 1970 are now non-league clubs while we grace the Championship.
Anyway, that, as they say, is history. A nearly full Carrow Road, the only empty section is a horrible bit in the north-west corner with restricted view where only those who are desperate buy tickets, welcomed the two sides in alternating cloud and sunshine. Bournemouth opened with 4-5-1.
Early on, a lively Grabban forced Cook into an error but O'Kane cleared the ball. Otherwise. Bournemouth had the best of the opening five minutes, winning the first corner on five minutes.
A lot of midfield little penetration no shots on goal. Remember that phrase.
Norwich got first corner on nine minutes and as couple of clumsy challenges showed the referee wanting. But on 14 minutes Redmond was given acres of space on the right after leaving daniels behind and taking the ball to the goal line, crossed back and Grabban had a free header on the six yard box to Camp's left. The goal was sensed from the moment Redmond struck the ball. It just had to be Grabban, didn't it?
Then tons of stuff in midfield. really 20 minutes where neither side dominated and possession seemed to be the only aim. With eight minutes to half time a Norwich player milked it for a free-kick and Redmond forced a great punch over the bar from Camp. It all seemed like half time was going to come and go with the status quo as advantage Norwich. The performance of the first half was undoubtedly the Bournemouth supporters who defied the strict 'sit down shut up' policy and stood and made plenty of noise. A few long range shots from both sides being the sum total of half an hour's possession football
Fans were drifting down to avoid the half time queues when Carrow Road was silenced and the Bournemouth contingent erupted. Stanislas passed forward, Francis advancing crossed from right infield to Wilson on the left. Calum's run-in was perfection and he powered the ball in to the left of the Norwich keeper from about five yards. We were probably already into time aas there was very little further play in the first half.
Half time Norwich 1 Bournemouth 1
The second half was tense with both sides seemingly content with a point rather than taking any risk that might bring three. Bournemouth slightly had the edge and Gosling and Wilson both had chances, but it was so much a game of possession chess than passionate football.
Richie came on for Fraser on 60 and Pugh replaced Stanislas on 67. Like-for-like changes that did not alter the shape of play nor did it affect the balance of power. This match now was destined to be a draw.
Norwich has spells of pressure, but still without threatening our goal to any great degree. Camp made a late save from Johnson and in time added on there was faint glimmer of hope that we might just snatch it, but that draw was almost nailed on.
Again the supporters at the back who made great noise and defied the stewards (who could not justify why 75% of the Norwich support in the Barclay Stand were not hassled to sit down as we were) justified the 12th man tag.
After the match, I met up with the long-time president of the Norwich City Independent Supporters` Association and former Lord Mayor of Norwich, Roy Blower. I wanted his take on the match. The shrug of the shoulders said it all. Amazingly, Roy was there in 1951 when Norwich last beat us at Carrow Road. But just as we were talking, another voice piped up, who tuned out to have known Roy forever, 'HUH! I first went and have been going ever since 1944!'
Verdict: Solid but by no means spectacular display. We certainly had a majority of possession, but no end result. Norwich were, for the most part, equally lacklustre in the final third
Camp 7. Couldn't be faulted for the goal. Otherwise solid. Made one crucial save.
Cook 6. Couple of forced errors.
Elphick 7 There when needed.
Francis 7 Solid and began some moves.
Daniels 7 Some very good passes.
Gosling 7 All rounder hard to quantify
O`Kane 8. Just gets better and better.
Stanislas 7. Lively.
Arter 6. Pretty anonymous today, actually.
Fraser 6. Not really on form.
Wilson 7 Brilliantly taken goal, but not a lot else.
Ritchie, for Fraser (60) 6 Not really up to his own high standard.
Pugh for Stanislas (68) 7 a couple of deft moves.
Unused subs: Smith, Harte, Kermorgant, Rantie, Flahavan.
Report by ErikThViking