March 29 Colchester United 0-1 AFC Bournemouth Att: 4727 (900 away fans)

Last updated : 29 March 2013 By Andy Burton

The game started lively enough for the Cherries as they went in search of a fourth straight win against a side where we've only won away at on just seven occassions in the past.

The large away following were in full voice in a chilly Essex as the Cherries went in search of an opening goal, but despite their best efforts couldn't quite find a way through, being limited to a daisy cutter of an effort which hardly tested Walker in the ColU goal.

Grabban was guilty of firing straight at the keeper when seemingly through 1-on-1 when perhaps other options were available, but the Cherris were not to be denied. A slick move saw the ball moved wide to the right where Ritchie fired in a low cross for Brett Pitman to hook the ball in to the top right hand corner of the net to send the travelling support in to raptures as a top-2 spot beckoned. All this coming in the 19th minute.

In the 28th minute, O'Kane was clattered, coming off second best, which saw the introduction of MacDonald.

Opportunities to go further ahead came and went in the final 10 minutes of the half. Firstly Pugh saw a header come back off the woodwork (35th minute) and then most annoyingly Grabban fired wide when he could, and probably should have played a square ball to an unmarked Pitman, instead he opted to shoot and fired wide with Brett looking exasperated at his lack of awareness of what was going on. Either way it was a glaring opportunity gone on the stroke of half time.

The second half saw Colchester United come out with far more purpose. The fact that they started to pin the Cherries back was one difference, also winning a few corners too. Thankfully though, they lacked any clinical cutting edge to test the Cherries back line, let alone get Allsop to do anything much more than some catching practise. There were a few scrambles at the far end of the pitch, which the Cherries defence dealt with ease.

Now I've not mentioned too much about the likes of Harry Arter so far. But I cannot escape without giving him a mention. The reason why ColU were penned back for long periods in the opening 45 minutes was simple, the Cherries midfield didn't let them come forward too often. Arter was instrumental in keeping Colchester at bay for long periods, running tirelessly throughout, spraying the ball nicely down both flanks to test the home defence.

I've also not mentioned the back 4 too often. When they were call upon, they were quite simply superb at the back, snuffing out any threat the home attack tried to pose. Not least of all, it was great to see Elphick back for the first time since his assault a few weeks ago by that hired thug Ryan Lowe. All in all we looked fair comfortable, with the exception of the occassional scramble - which was only to be expected against a side scrapping for every point to avoid the drop.

Player Summaries
Allsop: Was hardly tested.
Francis: Superb at right back, plus there's a growing partnership with Ritchie developing nicely.
Elphick & Cook: Great to see Elphick back in the starting line up for the Cherries, and the partnership between Elphick and Cook has been reunited for the time being.
Daniels: Linked up well with Pugh down the left
Ritchie: Sent in the cross for the goal, but was noticeably quieter in the second period.
O'Kane: Did well during the half hour while he was on the pitch. Hopefully the knock he sustained wasn't too serious.
Man Of The MatchArter: Simply superb, full of running from start to finish. My man of the match.
Pugh: I don't what is about Marc at the moment. The opposition have certainly sussed out that he's a danger given that there are 2-3 players on him as soon as he gets the ball. As skilled as he is, always difficult to beat that many players at once.
Grabban: Certainly not lacking confidence to have a pop at goal, even if his choice of attacking option is perhaps the wrong one.
Pitman: What hasn't been said about Brett? The finish for the goal was simply superb.
MacDonald: Did well when he came on for O'Kane. Full of running, fully played his part in the win.
Tubbs: Didn't get a sniff of goal this week
Hughes: Came on for the final few moments.

AFCB: Allsop, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, O'Kane, Pugh, Grabban, Pitman
Subs: Jalal, Seabourne, Fogden, McQuoid, MacDonald (for O'Kane, 28 mins), Tubbs (for Grabban, 87 mins), Hughes (for Pugh, 90 mins)

Andy Burton, Fratton