Dull Clarets with a hint of Bright Cherries
13th May 2017, 3pm
Bournemouth's home campaign finished in style with an entertaining but relaxed win over the Ginja Ninjas claret warriors. It was a day for putting one over people with both Stanislas and Vokes scoring against their former employers and King scoring against his former club Blackburn's oldest rivals. More importantly it moved Bournemouth up to the heady heights of 10th in the Premier League.
Both sides were unchanged going into the clash, meaning Mousset kept his place up front. Gosling returned to the bench, just in time for the Leicester clash with L.Cook off to international duty.
The day started with the predicted clash of styles. Burnley defending deep and hitting Vokes with every move forwards. Bournemouth were trying to zip it around in normal triangular fashion. To be honest, neither style was working in the early stages of the game which was largely scrappy and littered with poor passing and control by both teams. Mousset and King were making many runs and pointing but the safer option was always taken which saw them increasingly frustrated.
This stalemate was broken when a moment of rare beauty broke the humdrum. Lewis Cook's influence is growing by the game and his look up and glorious raking 60 yard pass over the top of the Burnley defence was worth the admission fee alone. STANISLAS had made the run behind and his chest, composure and stroked side foot finish were all very classy.
Boruc had little to do and watched Arfield's drive sail past the post. Pugh shot straight at Heaton after some more magic by Stan and Daniels nearly capped a barnstorming run with a drive that fizzed inches over the cross-bar.
The 44th minute tribute to Paul Gethin Willis was superb, a full standing ovation. We moan about the size of our ground but one of the silver linings to this situation is we are still a fan family. Someone like Paul would never have been known had he been an Old Trafford or Emirates regular. There is something quite special about this. If we double or triple our stadium size there will be a lot of great gains but not every situation will improve. I hope it slightly helped his family and friends.
HT Bournemouth 1 Burnley 0
Sean Dyche threw on the lively Gray at half-time to try and inject some ground play into his attack. It made little difference and Bournemouth's second half was much better than the first with near total control. Lewis Cook was dominating proceedings in the centre of the half and Mousset and King were growing into the game by the minute.
Chances were at a premium though, Pugh and both Cooks shot ferociously but straight at Heaton. At the other end Arfield fired worryingly close with a thunderbolt curler. The game was starting to stretch in the heat. When Mousset limped off and Fraser arrived the game moved up another gear with the interplay improving although verging on over-elaborate at times, there was also a sea of good crosses to nobody in the box.
It was entertaining and enterprising stuff though so it came as a big shock when Burnley equalised out of nothing with seven minutes to go. VOKES had won his fair share of aerial balls as per the norm and he rose first to flick home Gudmundsson's cross.
'We are staying up' chorused the Burnley fans but this had only just got into it's second verse when Bournemouth smashed and grabbed the lead back. Fraser buzzed and fired in a cross/pass that KING moved swiftly on to and finished beautifully past Heaton from a tight angle. It was the quicksilver striker's 16th of an impressive season and taken with the aplomb of a man with the highest confidence. Ironic that a man questioned on here as the worst to wear our shirt is now undoubtedly the greatest asset in this club's history. Not a bad two year turn-around job!
FT Bournemouth 2 Burnley 1
Boruc 7 - Nothing spectacular to do - great on the routine.
Smith 7 - Usual all action display and speedy defending.
Francis 7 - Work cut out marking Vokes but gave as good as he got
S.Cook 7 - Player of the season didn't put a foot wrong again.
Daniels 7 - Back to his normal after a quieter game last run out.
Stanislas 8 - Creative and lively, another goal and great pace.
Arter 6 - Calmer and while his passing was a little off - energetic.
L.Cook 9 - Outstanding game control, positioning and passing.
Pugh 7 - Bag of tricks against boyhood team.
Mousset 6 - Team not quite reading him yet, odd flashes.
King 8 - Very fast and powerful display capped with another goal.
We feel at home at this level and hopefully we will inject into the squad and become comfortably established around the top ten. Newcastle will be good but the other promoted sides, Swansea, Burnley and Watford should be below us next year and we get another £120m injection. Keeping the players we have will be the biggest battle and I would imagine King and Smith will be in the office with contracts on the table before long.
These are unreal times for us die-hards. Immense credit to Eddie once again - leaving us all wondering where it will all end. When you see another member of the fan family go to the big Dean Court in the sky it does make you think - why worry?! Spend the summer dreaming of Defoe linking up with King in an Umbro kit that doesn't shed it's badges in the washing machine... It won't last for ever so savour every minute!
See you all next season folks and thank-you for another season of reading, arguing, agreeing and making me laugh.
Report by Neil Dawson