April 6 AFC Bournemouth 4-2 Birmingham City Att: 11084

Last updated : 08 April 2015 By Peter Wicks

A dry, sunny, almost sweltering afternoon. Boscombe’s standard “first” 11 – Kermorgant in for Pitman – k.o. to the south stand. First few minutes were tentative by both sides; Brummagem had just 1 up. Fraser ran purposefully up the centre & was up-ended nearly 30 yards out. The free led to 2 corners, a scramble, the ball sent over the bar and 2 arm-ball appeals refused. Fraser was battling and winning, but rarely gave a decent end-product. Then Boruc was diving onto the ball when Elphick slid in and conceded the first of 2 corners – distinct lack of communication. A mistake by Cook led to 3rd & 4th corners.

Kermorgant flicked superbly to Fraser, from whose cross Wilson was just wide. Then from behind the centre circle, the no.22 sent a high ball forward; the no.9 ran between the 2 home centre-backs & just managed to lob Boruc. 0-1, 18. Too easy. Brummagem fans sang “we want 8”… Then a missed pass in midfield saw the ball sent out to the no.11 (Cotterill; always rated him) on the right. Daniels seemed to have gone missing, perhaps supporting the attack that never was; the 11 ran inside-right at Cook, went outside & fired across Boruc into the far corner. 0-2, 21. Reality check.

Fraser was felled wide right in a chase; Ritchie’s drive was saved. But the home side failed to challenge properly if at all, missed passes, generally having a bad day at the office. Arter & Surman either both played too deep or the wrong way round with Arter staying back. Then a good midfield triangle allowed Arter to blaze over. Cook & Boruc had a mix-up, but Cook cleared inside the 6-yard box. Then a good move and a corner. This saw a 6-yard box scramble, with Cook nudging the ball over the line. 1-2, 39. Even so, Boscombe seemed to be wading through treacle in gumboots. Then the move of the match: Arter forward to Kermorgant who turned & sent an angled ball into the box, inside-left. Wilson ran diagonally between the defender & keeper, took it on a yard & tapped it in. 2-2, 45+2! Get-Out-Of-Jail! HT: 1-0

Soon after the restart, Wilson was sent up the right; we presumed offside but the lino was right there & kept his flag down. Into the box at inside-right, defender comes across, Wilson goes down, Kermorgant dispatches the penalty. 3-2, 48; relief! Seemed harsh but the lino gave it. So now Boscombe had returned to the top of the league! Arter drove at the keeper; the no.9 was just wide. With a view to game management, Surman replaced Fraser on 56 and went right with Ritchie going left. The next home corner saw Elphick head onto the top of the bar. Now Boscombe came out quicker, more confident, silkier – but the no.11 hit a free over so really another home goal was necessary. Ritchie crossed to Kermorgant in space; his flick went over but possibly he might’ve had time to take it down & bury it.

Francis was yellowed for a foul in his defensive section, possibly dropped in it by Surman who, having seemed a bit flat earlier, was otherwise back to his controlling best. Ritchie was fouled in his corner; Elphick headed the free wide. Then Daniels crossed over to Surman who had 2 shots blocked; it came to Daniels centrally who tried a big one; it went into the ground and bounced over the keeper into the latter’s top left corner. 4-2, 74!! That had to be it.

Wilson was sent through at inside-left; just outside the area he was felled but was soon up and attempting to collect the ball when the ref. blew and showed the red to Paul Robinson. The Brummagem captain is a doughty competitor, old-school, one you’d want in the trenches with you. But his pace is reducing hence the mistimed tackle. Nevertheless, given Wilson was able to go on, perhaps the red was harsh. Anyway, Kermorgant hit the free over the far angle. Boscombe now played keep-ball, although Wilson made space to shoot at the goalie.

Sponsors Man-of-the-Match: Wilson (see below). Pitman replaced Kermorgant, and – to have his own ovation – Wilson came off in favour of Kenwyne Jones on 88, both players generating roars of approval from the home fans. Jones tapped back to Arter who left-footed a pile-driver onto the far post; it bounced out almost to the “D”. Surman seemed to receive a yellow for a retrieving tackle on a Brummagem break-out, but the records show Wilson instead had a yellow earlier in the game. Then Daniels crossed to Jones, right in front of the keeper. The header hit an arm and went over. So – could’ve been 6 or 7 – or 8… FT: 4-2

Well, Eddie did promise a roller-coaster, & when is Eddie ever wrong? The first 35 minutes were appallingly sloppy, with little communication, misplaced passes, hesitant, nervy. Winning when playing badly is a good habit, but the side can’t expect to play that poorly & win every time. 12-2 may be some sort of aggregate record across the 2 games. After his superb cameo at Portman Road, there was a good case for Jones to start – but equally good man-management reasons for the converse. Still, thoughtful of him to choose a squad no. matching the no. of years this reporter has followed the Cherries. The next signing should reflect the Buchans & Griffins of this world – well over 50…

All 4 top teams have, on paper, easy run-ins, except for Norwich-Boro which will take either or possibly both down a peg or 2. The high GD may be crucial.

A special big-up for Andy B who has spent many happy hours queuing ridiculously early to obtain away tickets. Such commitment must be honoured.

BTW – Josh Gowling of distant memory scored this day on his Grimsby debut.

Man Of The MatchWilson terrorised his oppos all game, scoring what should be his trade-mark goal, winning a penalty and later resulting in an opponent being red-carded. Given most others had patchy games, he deserves the accolade.

Boscombe (initial 4-4-2): Boruc; Smith, Elphick, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Fraser (Smith, 56); Wilson (Jones, 88), Kermorgant (Pitman, 87)
Subs (not used): Camp, Gosling, Stanislas, Ward

Peter Wicks, Bulford