The Cherries could hardly have made a better start at Dean Court against Shrewsbury Town as the visitors from Shropshire were blitzed!
The opening goal came as early as the 3rd minute when a handball was given on the edge of the area with McQuoid in close attendance. From the resulting free kick the Shrews wall jumped, Daniels kept it low, with the ball avoiding the keeper to nestle in the back of the net.
The crowd had hardly settled back in their seats when the Cherries sprung again. This time a fast, flowing move (we never said that while Groves was about) saw Pugh and Daniels linked well down the left hand side. A clever ball in found Barnard who tried (cheekily) to slide the ball home with the outside of his right boot from a tight angle, only to see the effort come off the left hand upright. Barnard retrieved the ball laid it off to Daniels, then Pugh, whose trickery resulted in a cross which allowed McQuoid to arrow an unopposed header in to the bottom corner! We'd barely played just over 5 minutes ...... was a cricket score on the cards?
We had to wait all of a whole TEN minutes for the next goal as Shrewsbury were given a needless life line back in to the game as Miles Addison stupidly shoved Morgan in the penalty area with the attacker moving away from goal. Why? Only one person knows the answer to that one. The ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, which was converted by Richards in the 14th minute. Then for some equally stupid reason Arter decided to mouth off the match official who drew a yellow card in response! When will he learn to keep his mouth shut?
Shrewsbury may have been given the boost of the goal, but they didn't take advantage in pressing for an equaliser. Even when they had have and effort on target (or close to it), the ball was easy for David James to deal with. That said, the Cherries were not quite so inventive as they were on Saturday. It was very noticeable that after the goal scoring the midfields and defences dominated, and the passing ability of both squads dwindled with most of the remaining chances coming before half time.
The second period saw fewer clear cut chances. Those that were created, mainly by the Cherries, were relatively straight forward for the Shrews keeper to deal with, even if Arter did have him at full stretch to tip one over the cross bar as the Cherries tried (in vain) to put the result beyond doubt.
Shrewsbury tried pushing forward, but lacked any cutting edge in the final third of the pitch to cause too many problems, but did have a free kick deep in stoppage time which had many wondering whether a sucker punch was going to spoil the evening. Thankfully the free kick was easily dealt with.
As for Elvis? That came about when BBC Radio Solents Kris Temple claimed that Elvis has more chance of getting the managers job at Dean Court than Eddie. His pennance was to commentate on the match in an Elvis suit. No suit big enough for Willo .........
James - had hardly anything to do
Francis - lively down the right flank
Elphick - is growing in to his central defence role at Dean Court
Addison - I am not convinced that Miles needs to be on the pitch. We saw a better central defensive combination when Cook was on the pitch
Daniels - linked well with Pugh down the left and certainly put in a shift
Grabban - not the polished article for League One, but is showing more of what he can do at this level under EH/JT
Arter - needs to keep his mouth shut when an incident doesn't concern him. Certainly ran his socks off throughout the match.
MacDonald - needs to show greater consistency in my humble opinion
Pugh - sign him on a new contract as soon as possible. If honours are going to be achieved then he will be the key
Barnard - showed promise, but I am not convinced that he's value for money
McQuoid - is improving since EH/JT returned to Dean Court - three goals in the last 3 days - long may that continue
Fogden - I love watching Foggy on the pitch. He gives it his all at all times.
Tubbs - I firmly believe we need to be playing to his strengths and play him from the start. Did well when he came on, but not quite the service when he did
AFCB: James, Francis, Elphick, Addison, Daniels, Grabban, Arter, MacDonald, Pugh, Barnard, McQuoid
Subs: Jalal, Cook, McDermott, O'Kane, Fletcher, Fogden (for Barnard, 65 mins), Tubbs (for McQuoid, 86 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth