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Match Report: AFC Bournemouth 2-0 Wycombe (Bournemouth Fan's Perspective)

Monday 2nd January 2012
On the back of an impressive away win against local rivals Yeovil, Bournemouth welcomed another team threatened with relegation in Wycombe Wanderers. The Cherries had already won at Adams Park this season by a Marc Pugh goal to nil. On that day, Bournemouth outplayed their League One counterparts and would expect to be winning today.

Bournemouth welcomed back Wes Thomas who has signed on a permanent contract after impressing during his loan spell. Captain Adam Barrett was out with a hamstring injury as was Shaun MacDonald, along with the longer term casualties: Malone, Molesley, Cooper, Byrne and Sheringham. Steve Cook had been recalled by Brighton, leaving Bournemouth without either first-choice centre-back. This meant a re-shuffle at the back as Simon Francis moved over from right-back to centre-back and Stephen Purches took Francis' place. This meant only Steven Gregory and Harry Arter could play central midfield, leaving Lee Bradbury forced into playing 4-4-2.

The game started well for the home side, with a handful of corners and good attacking play to settle down any nerves as the visitors sat back to try and frustrate the Cherries. After 9 minutes came Bournemouth's first real effort when Michael Symes lashed over after a Pugh corner wasn't cleared. Minutes later and more good play by the Cherries. Pugh beat his man, not for the first time in the opening minutes, and Wes Thomas' header was tipped over by a relieved Nikki Bull.

After 27 further minutes of consistent pressure, without threatening too much, Wycombe succumbed to the home side's dominance; another corner wasn't cleared by the Wycombe defence and after the ball fell to Thomas 8 yards out, he made no mistake on his return to the club. It was no more than Bournemouth, or Wycombe deserved.

Wycombe began moving forward, but never looked like getting an effort on goal and the home side continued to impress. Endless crosses came in from Pugh and Daniels, who were linking up time and again leaving the Wycombe right-back Marvin McCoy without an answer to Pugh's twists and turns.

After half time Wycombe reverted back to a cautious approach, doubling and trebling up on Pugh who seemed to have regained his confidence that was possibly missing during other home games. However, this resilience didn't last long and Wycombe's shaky defence only held out for 5 minutes when they failed to deal with yet another Pugh corner. Two Wycombe players left the ball to each other and the ball was flicked into Symes who deflected it in. Another scrappy goal but nice to see Bournemouth were more than willing to take advantage of opposition mistakes, something they were on the receiving end of last season.

It could have got worse for Wycombe when Bull made another top-drawer save to keep out Harry Arter before Fogden bent an effort over the crossbar and Bull thwarted Symes at the near post as the Cherries looked to put the game to bed. The keeper continued to impress and thwarted Pugh as he closed in on goal.

Wycombe's only attempt came when Matt Bloomfield's shot deflected narrowly wide, but keeper Darryl Flahavan had it covered. The home side were able to nullify any Wycombe threats and always looked the more likely to score.

Overall, a good win and a pleasing performance. Disappointing that our only two goals came from defensive mistakes against a side that are almost guaranteed for relegation but nonetheless, a rare home win and a clean sheet with a makeshift defence and no more injuries.

Bournemouth Ratings

Darryl Flahavan - 7. Un-tested. Lots of kicking and passing, played sweeper well.

Stephen Purches - 7. Defended well, supported well although most play was on left.

Simon Francis - 7. Didn't look out of place at CB, nullified the dangerous Trotta.

Stephane Zubar -7. Looked surprisingly solid, and error free. Touch wood...

Charlie Daniels - 8. Same as before, together with Pugh supplied cross after cross.

Wes Fogden - 9. Ran around as always, with added quality + composure on the ball.

Harry Arter - 7. Pinged ball around well, gives the ball away in risky situations though.

Steven Gregory - 8. Supplied insurance for full-backs to bomb on. Looked sure on ball.

Marc Pugh - 9. Back to his old self. Beat his man at every attempt. Would be 10 if he scored.

Michael Symes -7. Held up ball better than usual. Should push on now he has a goal.

Wes Thomas - 9. Hassled defenders all afternoon. Electric pace caused problems.

Subs: Warren Cummings, Lyle Taylor, Alex Parsons. All came on when game was dying, failed to make an impact.

Lee Bradbury - 7. Definitely right to play 4-4-2 against a team lacking in quality and confidence, although he didn't have much choice due to injuries. Shuffled the pack and came out with the correct line-up, with Francis proving a competent centre half, and the Thomas-Symes partnership getting two goals between them. Hopefully, he will keep the same formation in future home games, and the returns of Malone, MacDonald, Barrett and possibly Cook will make a side who should pick up many home wins in the second half of the season.

Jim Stevens

Total articles: 12

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