Another big occasion in Cherries history with Lee Bradbury and Steve Fletcher’s first home game after being made permanent manager and assistant last Friday. But how would the shenanigans of Marvin Bartley affect the team? The ghost of Eddie Howe and Burnley cast over both sides. For Swindon, Charlie Austin put in a written transfer request, for the Cherries, Marvin Bartley with less than six hours to go is claimed to have said he no longer wants to play for them. Both are reunited with Eddie Howe at Burnley. Danny Wilson has had time to bring in a replacement, Lee Bradbury – none.
Danny Hollands comes in to replace Marvin, and Warren Cummings continues at left back for the injured Rhos Wiggins. Within a couple of minutes from the start, Shaun Cooper fails to control a pass back letting Dossevi bear down on the goal with only Jayal to beat, but he saved it with his feet! Sigh, relief, concern – is this a single player apparition or have the events over the last 24 hours got to the team as a whole?
Fortunately not. The Cherries were back in their fluent mode. The ball being sprayed across the pitch, through the defence, taking on defenders – yes it was looking promising. On 8 minutes Feeney got the ball, ran at the defence and shoots from 25 yards out, the ball catches a defender as he comes to challenge and the ball looped into the goal. This should calm the nerves and it did. The Cherries were pushing hard when on 21 minutes Caddis for Swindon seemed to be given a lot of space to come at the defence. A combination of failing to pressure him and some nifty swerves allowed him a free sight of goal for the equaliser. The Cherries continued to push forward but Swindon were clearly up for it as the game went from end to end.
A clever through pass saw Marc Pugh centre for Feeney to smash the ball towards goal, but for the goalkeeper Smith to put it wide of the post. From the resulting corner, Symes’s header was parried away by Smith but for Danny Ings to score from close range for his first league goal.
He followed this up by hitting the post with one effort and narrowly over the cross bar with another.
Half time came 2 – 1 up and I’m feeling quite confident. After all we are attacking the Steve Fletcher stand in the second half.
Swindon, invigorated by their half time talk encamped themselves in the Cherries half. Every time Bournemouth cleared the ball, back it came. On 58 minutes the ball went out to the Cherries left, but instead of clearing, they tried to play it out of defence, lost it, it was sent back across goal, Jayal couldn’t hold it and Matt Richie struck into the net from close range.
Swindon had the ball in the net again, but the referee saw an infringement and the goal was disallowed. Wow, what a let off! It was now end to end stuff, Swindon were more fluid in their attacks but for the Cherries it was either down the flanks or chasing long balls. However on 73 minutes the lead was restored. Pugh crossed into a crowded area with the ball going out to the right. Feeney put it back into the area where the ball was pinballing to and away from the goal, but with Smith trying to punch clear, there was Danny Hollands to send it into the top of the net. That never say die spirit is still very much alive and well.
The last 15 minutes was end to end stuff. The Cherries scored but was disallowed, the defence had two major scares as certain goals from close in seemed certain but the ball went over the bar. Bodies being thrown in by either side.
But the final whistle went to the home fans and the team’s relief.
It was certainly excellent entertainment for the neutral and a great advert for League One football.
Bournemouth were not firing on all cylinders. When defending, and especially when under continual pressure, it‘s making the correct instant choice of when to clear and when to play out of trouble. When attacking, not to lose the ball so easily which can leave the defence wrong footed or out of position. Frustrating at times, yes, but it does make interesting watching.
A word for the referee, Iain Williamson. I thought he and his officials had a good game. He allowed the game to flow which made for great entertainment. The consequence of this is that some things are not picked up by the referee which upset Danny Wilson. For us though, a game to remember.
Man of the Match
This has to be Danny Ings. Always closing down defenders, chasing long balls, helping in defence, probing in attack and taking chances on goal when they came. His first league goal was a just reward, not spectacular but opportunist, and they win matches.
Thanks Joe Roach, yet another striker off the production line!
So we left the ground, happy and relieved at another three points. Another fixture that evening also interested me:- Doncaster 1 Burnley 0. For me a double celebration! Sean O’Driscoll has always played fair with this club. James Hayter, his only signing from this club, joined him in the close season. The circumstances of Marvin Bartley’s move to Burnley leave a sour taste in the mouth. He will be missed because Marvin gives options in midfield. His speed in getting to break down attacks or to join the attack up field is so effective.
For me though sadly, the iconic figure of Eddie Howe, Cherries friend, fan, life supporter and saviour is now tarnished. Marvin may have wanted to leave, but EH made that possible.
Having said that, we move on and on tonight’s showing, the spirit and enthusiasm are shining bright as ever. Up the CHERRIES!!!
AFCB: Jalal, Smith, Cooper, Pearce, Cummings, Feeney, Hollands, Robinson, Pugh, Symes, Ings
Subs: Stewart, Purches, Nelson, Partington, Fletcher (for Symes, 84 mins), Arter (for Ings, 93 mins)
John Harbron, Newtown, Powys