|Big responsibility to send our smaller neighbours down today. We owe them – not only did they win at SMS last September, but their manager and a goodly proportion of their fans have been decidedly “chippy” when mentioning the Saints. The potential side-benefit of their relegation could be some of their better players wishing to stay in the Prem and fancying a loan at SMS while the Cherries battle to return from the Championship.
Lawro has gone for a Bournemouth win! Assume he did this prediction before hearing that up to 5 of their better defenders (including the decent Ake) are struggling for fitness. Saints have all but Boufal and Djnepo available for some sort of involvement. Sounds like Ralph will likely opt for his “First XI” to start and plug gaps from the bench as they tire.
Coverage is on BT which we recently re-subscribed to. We used to have one of those special offer deals but now get the full HD Sports channels via Sky. I could even enjoy the coverage - so long as Hoddle isn’t one of the pundits!
Another game, another Danny Ings goal. His 21st Premier League goal of the season
IBO Reporter : Spot51
|If you weren’t already aware schools have broken up for summer, one look outside would confirm it: cold, grey, wet – a typical late July weekend in England. Should make a good surface for football but expect players to be looking for hot chocolate or soup during their quarterly “coaching” breaks.
Ralph went with his First XI - minus Bednarek who has a muscle injury. So Vestergaard kept his place alongside the returning Stephens, Wright Phillips and Bertie returned at full back with Armstrong and Long in for Smallbone and Obafemi. Bournemouth kept 9 of their team from the Etihad, bringing back Wilson and Brooks for Solanke and Gosling.
Saints were sporting their white 3rd kit for the final time. The studio pundits for BT were Savage and Hargreaves but with Darren Fletcher on the gantry was Glenn “state the bleedin’ obvious” Hoddle. Craig Pawson had the whistle and David Coote the VAR machine.
Saints kicked off and moments later Ings was winning our first corner. Billing headed out but, when the ball was played back in, several of our players appealed for a penalty. VAR did not concur – this time. AFCB’s first attack saw Billings break down the right, but it was the backtracking Ings who cleared the danger.
On 4m Lerma fouled Long on halfway but Saints just retained the ball. Then on 6m, Wilson broke into our box, but Stephens cleared for a corner. Vestergaard headed this away. The Home team were enjoying possession but displayed desperation when Rico opted for a long-range shot that rattled into the empty seating. His next involvement was down their left, delivering a very decent cross which avoided everyone – including Wilson.
Bournemouth then won a string of corners which Saints defended. The final one was met by Wilson, but his header sailed high over the bar. Saints then broke forward with JWP’s forward pass nearly putting Long in. Up the other end, Stephens tangled with King, the latter sent sprawling in the box. He claimed he was pushed but the Ref ignored it and VAR did not intervene.
On 14m Vestergaard brought down Wilson giving them a FK on their right. It was a Saints head that got to the cross first. Then another good pass by JWP found Redmond and this time Ramsdale needed to make a save from the winger. Stanislas then crossed from their left but Vestergaard again got there first, heading away.
On 22m McCarthy sent a wayward kick into touch allowing the Ref to take the drinks break. Hoddle, who has apparently watched Bournemouth a lot, seemed bemused that, rather than footballing their way up the pitch, had opted for long range hoofs upfield which was negating the value of their creative players. Good point.
Stanislas won a corner off KWP. He took it and, at the second attempt, Saints got the ball clear. As he carried the ball out, Redmond was flattened by Rico but the Ref kept his card in his pocket. On 25m, JWP made a run into the box to get on the end of Romeu’s cross. He met the ball well enough but headed it right into Ramsdale’s gloves.
Bournemouth then got down the flank with King driving a low, hard cross into the goalmouth. KWP got to it first and made a remarkable clearance from under our crossbar. Great defending! Bournemouth maintained the pressure until Wilson’s foul on Vestergaard allowed us to clear.
On 31m Cherries won 2 more corners which Rico took. The first we knocked behind but then McCarthy came and claimed the next. After Billings foul on JWP, Saints mounted an attack through Redmond. Sadly, the winger dwelt too long and was robbed by Kelly with Ings screaming for a pass.
Vestergaard saw yellow for his foul on Wilson and soon after a Kelly long throw was met, and headed over, by Cook. Given trhe effort the Home team were expending, Saints seemed to be defending quite comfortably with McCarthy happy to come collect crosses when he saw fit.
Saints then won a corner down our left. JWP’s cross met a defender’s head but the dropping ball reached Redmond on the edge of the box. His firm volley went right into the keeper’s gloves – sometimes, those are better when sliced or shanked.
If that was a warning, it went unheeded. Walker Peters broke up a Bournemouth attack and carried the ball forward. With white shirts pouring forward the ball went to Long on the right, via Armstrong in the middle, to Redmond on the left. Redmond found Danny Ings who executed his trade-mark drive to the right before hitting a sweet, curling shot beyond Ramsdale into the corner. A thing of real beauty – and Saints were winning away, yet again!
While the replays were enjoyed the commentator mentioned that Watford had just sacked Nigel Pearson. WTF???
In the 2 added minutes, Saints almost let Bournemouth back in. The ball was swung in from their right with 3 forwards converging, but Jack Stephens ensured it was his head that got to the ball first. Panic over. Half time – Saints 1-0 ahead.
David Brooks is a decent footballer but had spent the first half watching his defenders hoof the ball high above his head. He was probably quite relieved to be replaced by Harry Wilson for the 2nd half. Saints were unaltered and Billings was soon in the book for a foul on Romeu. The Ref let another foul go so Saints could play on and Ings almost got a second.
Saints looked a yard faster now, confidence surging through the side as passes found their targets. Armstrong was next to have a shot which deflected for a corner. JWP sent the ball towards Vestergaard and everyone but the Ref saw the ball rebound off Lerma and over. Goal kick??
Suddenly Wilson was sent haring into our box, but McCarthy was quickly out to turn the ball away. Like all strikers, Wilson went over and claimed a penalty, but Pawson & Co were having none of it. Bournemouth then had 2 free kicks both taken by Rico. The first, from the right, soared over the box to Stanislas on the left. Long fouled him giving the Spaniard another go from a more dangerous spot. Right on cue, McCarthy strode out and grabbed this cross above the heads of the attackers.
Redmond made an impressive run, setting up a shooting chance for JWP which the keeper tipped round the post. The corner curled towards Romeu. Harry Lewis jumped with him and Romeu’s header struck his raised arms. Penalty? It took a little while before VAR confirmed it was.
JWP had presumably been told Ings was on penalties (see “Golden Boot”) as he wondered off. Hindsight suggests it was a mistake as Danny took a crap penalty which Ramsdale saved with ease. Bugger!
It was getting to the period when numerous subs were seen warming up on the far side. King cut into our box but Stephens closed in, sending the ball out for another corner. The ball dropped to King inside our box but, thankfully, there was Kyle nicking the ball and getting it away.
On 65m Ralph withdrew Long and sent on Che Adams. Straight away, Harry Lewis got a shot off. McCarthy saved this and, from the resulting corner, rose highest to punch the ball away. Howe then pulled Stanislas and King, sending on Solanke and Lewis Cook – yeah, 2 Cooks AND 2 Wilsons now FFS!
On 68m – the final drinks break. Saints continued to look decent in possession and Redmond helped set up Armstrong who fired a curled shot just beyond the far post. Bournemouth kept at it but rarely did their final ball put our defence under serious pressure. On 73m another free kick was grabbed by the leaping McCarthy.
Cook and Stacey won another corner off Romeu. This one wasn’t cleared, the ball reaching Solanke. His shot cannoned off McCarthy and the reliable KWP hacked it clear. On 77m, Hojbjerg came on for Romeu. Soon after Lewis Cook was booked for a foul on Adams.
Solanke broke forward forcing KWP to concede yet another corner. Lerma reached this one but sent his header well wide. Then Bertie and Redmond found Adams who won a corner off Billings. Bournemouth cleared this, Billings driving forward before finding Wilson who put his header into the side netting.
With time running out, Bournemouth sent on young striker Surridge for Lerma. Saints were still chasing a second, and Ings put in Redmond forcing another save from Ramsdale. Armstrong then won Saints a corner but Ramsdale came to collect JWP’s corner.
On 85m Armstrong found Adams but he shot right at the keeper. Right down the other end, Solanke got through but was thwarted by Vestergaard’s timely block. Cook got on the end of this corner, but McCarthy saved his header. Next PEH had a shot blocked before Bournemouth replaced Billing with Gosling on 87m.
Bertie showed good sense when surrounded by red & black shirts, playing the ball off one of theirs to win a throw in. Harry Wilson tried a long-range pop but missed the target. His next effort, on 89m, needed pushing away for a corner by McCarthy. As 5m added time was signalled, Bertie was down, hurt and the medics came on.
As we waited for the restart, Hoddle named Ramsdale his MoM. When the opposition keeper gets noticed, you must be doing something good. The corner was well-defended by Saints who eventually got the ball away. On 93m Ward Prowse collected a booking for his foul on Surridge.
Saints withdrew Ings, sending on Obafemi for the final minutes. Bournemouth won a throw and another long-one was hurled into our box. This fell to Surridge and the youngster slotted it past McCarthy: 1-1 – or was it? Replays showed Wilson was beyond the final defender and reaching for the ball as it went in. VAR confirmed he was offside – Saints still ahead! Another long through ball descended on our goal but this time pressure was relieved when Cook fouled PEH.
The game entered the 98th minute. How much longer FFS? Obafemi, fresh as a daisy, carried the ball upfield and won a throw near the corner flag. “Keep it there” we all shouted at our TVs. Bertie ignored us all. He found Obafemi who turned inside to roll the ball to Ché Adams. Making space for himself, he drifted right and smashed the ball past the Man of the Match. 0-2. Soon after, the final whistle sounded. Lovely stuff!
Man of the Match
Saints have a long history of great left backs including (TBF) the current incumbent. Right back has been less well served and we rarely field players better than “average”. I want this to change. Kyle Walker Peters (My MoM) has transformed our season with a string of wonderful performances. Against Bournemouth he was excellent again.
Mourinho is a funny bugger who sometimes takes against particular young players – he put Luke Shaw’s career on hold till he was sacked by United. For some reason he wants rid of KWP, but for us this young man has been excellent. Saints need to get this guy on the bus ASAP.