Yes, it still chucked it down with rain and it was bitterly cold!! When they say it's grim up north - they're not wrong! It was sunny when I left Fratton on the 0628 this morning and yet here we were frozen to the seats, under cover, watching the rain come down sideways! Lovely!! Could this match warm us up? Not blooming likely!
Relegation threatened Barnsley started the brighter, but all of their efforts were lacklustre, when they were on target and woeful for those which were off target - missing an unguarded net atleast once!! THAT'S WHY YOU'RE GOING DOWN!! I think Barnsley could have played all afternoon and well in to the evening and would have struggled to hit a barn door marked "This is a barn door" in big 10-foot lettering!!
After this early chance for the home side, the Cherries tried getting in to their stride, creating a couple of chances themselves, the first of which saw Ryan Fraser, set up by Matt Ritchie, forcing a save from Steele in the home goal. Ritchie also set up Kermorgant minutes later, sadly Yann couldn't get his header on target. Ritchie managed to rifle a shot on target in the 18th minute, only for Steele to somehow divert the ball wide of the target.
Thoughts whether it was going to one of those days surfaced just before the half hour when a delightful ball through from Kermorgant found Surman in acres of space. Sadly when 1-on-1 with the keeper, he somehow managed to miss the right hand upright. Again wouldn't it have been easier to hit the target?
The rest of the half, and much of the rest of the game are largely best forgotten given the complete lack of quality being exhibited by both sides with some extremely poor passing. On the rare occassion Barnsley did try and pose a threat the defensive duo of Cook and Elphick kept Tykes front line quiet.
The Cherries were getting closer as the second period wore on, highlighted by Ritchie, who produced a delightful chip, which came back off the cross bar, falling to safety. But it was a warning that we were capable to posing a threat.
As the game entered the final few minutes, the Cherries won a succession of corners. From the fourth of those corners Harte crossed the ball for Kermorgant to head the ball down, Steele flapped in the Tykes goal, allowing Cook to bundle the ball home in the 94th minute!! Just to show how late this winner was, 15 seconds later the ref blew up to end the match.
It was nice to do Barnsley as Charlton Athletic had done to us last Tuesday, but it was painful getting there!!
My man of the match is Steve Cook, and not just because of the goal, but for a resolute defensive display.
AFCB: Camp, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Harte, Ritchie, O'Kane, Surman, Fraser, Grabban, Kermorgant
Subs: Allsop, Pugh, Arter, Pitman, Smith, Ward, Rantie (none used)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth