Sept 21 Middlesbrough 3-3 AFC Bournemouth Att: 13617

Last updated : 22 September 2013 By Andy Burton

Who would have dared predict that AFC Bournemouth would go to a place like Middlesbrough, with their pedigree and recent history, and come away with point, let alone bag three goals?

To say that the Cherries camp out of the traps flying is an understatement as the unfashionable visitors simply flew at their more illustrious hosts, with reward coming as early as the 4th minute when Rantie was fed through only to be upended just inside the penalty area. His lightening pace was too much for Boro to handle. Up stepped Brett Pitman to convert the resulting penalty with some venom straight down the middle.

Middlesbrough tried to respond but their wasteful passing was easily dealt with by the Cherries.

The Cherries patient build up play was further rewarded in the 12th minute following a move down the Cherries right when Francis floated in a cross to the far post only for Frazer Richardson to handle! Up stepped Brett Pitman again to double the Cherries advantage. We were in dream land surely .....? I doubt that Middlesbrough has even been called dream land ......... but a 2-goal lead away from home for US?? WOW!!

At this stage Middlesbrough were all over the place as the Cherries threatened to run riot, underlined when Cook had a rasping shot from a corner routine, which just went over the cross bar. Now if that had gone in ......

To their credit Middlesbrough came forward to reduce the deficit when a game of ping-pong inside the penalty area allowed Kamara to reduce the arrears from close range in the 20th minute.

Parity was restored just after the half hour after a period of Boro pressure when Carayol levelled the scores even though the shot took a wicked deflection off Steve Cook's boot, which flew over Allsops head giving him not chance of a save.

Despite conceeding, the Cherries stuck to their passing game, going back to basics to which served them well.

Further reward for the Cherries almost came when a Rantie shot had Boro scrambling, the ball went wide for a corner. I doubt the effort wasn't too far away from being on target.

Tony Mobray must have fired a rocket at his players during the break as the home side came out in far more determined fashion, certainly putting more pressure on the Cherries than they'd managed during the opening stages of the first half, with the Cherries more on the back foot. Thankfully wasteful Middlesbrough possession came to nothing.

Tokelo Rantie was replaced by Wes Thomas on the hour mark, had a fine first start for the Cherries.

With neither side making a great deal of headway in the second period, the deadlock was broken in the 75th minute when Pitman was caught in possession in the centre circle, which allowed the home side to break. Kamara fed the ball through to Leadbitter who managed to beat Allsop at his near post - a cardinal goal keeping sin had just been commited! Just as I was fearing the worst, the Cherries hit back through some excellent play from Elliott Ward who someone managed to work his way to the by-line, was allowed to cut in, but when trying to pull the ball back for a Cherries player saw his endeavours deflected past the Middlesbrough keeper by Jonathon Woodgate who must have instinctively stuck out a boot to bring scores level again in the 83rd minute.

Two minutes later a scoring opoportunity for Wes Thomas was denied when he was upended by Rhys Williams, who saw red for his efforts in the 86th minute.

Was there going to be a winner in the time remaining, plus the 5 minutes that were indicated? In the end no, but there were opportunities at both ends in the 5 additional minutes before it then got all a bit silly as Steve Cook got tangled with Kei Kamara, which saw both enter the ref's note book for squaring up to each other. Also in time added Allsop got himself book AGAIN for time wasting for the THIRD time this season.

In the end there were over 9 minutes of time added played at The Riverside!!

The match ended with the remarkable stat in so much as the Cherries had bagged 3 goals, but had no shots on target!! Not often you that statistic trotted out.

Man Of The MatchMy man of the match on a remarkable afternoon in the north east is Elliott Ward who has made himself at home in the Cherries rear guard.

To the Cherries player who sent the text on Friday evening ......... YES the trip had been worth while.

AFCB: Allsop, Francis, Elphick, Ward, Cook, O'Kane, Hughes, Pugh, Pitman, Grabban, Rantie
Subs: Flahavan, Harte, Addison, McQuoid, McDermott, Thomas (for Rantie, 60 mins), MacDonald (for Hughes, 76 mins)

Andy Burton, Portsmouth