|I was SO not looking forward to this match that I had done little preparation for the report and written nothing more than the teams in my notebook. Serendipity intervened – and, by the time I saw it was 1235 - I realised I was watching a recording, not the live transmission and I’d written a page and a half…
I did want Saints to perform - and WIN. Couldn’t care less about Wembley or the Cup but I’m bloody fed-up hearing “one win from 12 matches”. I just wanted to shut the doom-mongers up.
Bournemouth also had bigger fish to fry. True, they’d never been beyond the 6th Round. This is only their 2nd appearance at this stage – they lost to the Red Mancs in 1957 last time. However, given the disparity between our top 2 leagues (£££££££££) the Cherries would much rather end this season with promotion.
They also have even more players missing than us. Injury, suspensions and being Shane Long prevented some 7 of theirs from appearing – their biggest misses being Stanislas and Lerma. They do however play Jack Wheelchair and the dangerous Danjuma with Solanke upfront.
Always liked Jonathon Woodgate as a player. Gave the best performance I’ve seen by an away player at SMS in his Newcastle days. He played for and presumably learned from some great managers. Since his promotion from Assistant Coach to top dog on his 2nd day at Bournemouth, he has leaned upon both Harry Rednapp and now Joe Jordan for help. Who can forget Joe’s season for Saints in the 80s and his legendary headbutt that felled the Hamburg goalkeeper?
Saints made 2 changes – one enforced – with Djenepo replacing cup-tied Minimino and Redmond upfront instead of Tella. BT were showing today’s game with Crouchie and Jenas in the stadium and Glenda alongside Darren Fletcher on the gantry. The latter pair were bemoaning the absence of fans for this encounter and even admitted missing those cardboard FA Cups covered in tin foil. FFS!
It was a pleasant Spring day in Dorset. Saints were in white and our ref was Martin Atkinson. For the one and only time this season, VAR was in use at a non-Premier League ground. David Coote was I/C and you just knew the bastard would be trigger happy.
Moussa Djenepo scoring the first goal, with the assist from Nathan Redmond
IBO Reporter : spot51
|Stuart Armstrong kicked off but Bournemouth launched the first attack. Rico got to the bye line but Fraser caught his cross by his front post. Then Diallo ran onto a KWP cross and his shot deflected for a corner. JWP and Redmond tried a short corner routine which probably looked great at Staplewood but, today, the ball bounced off Nathan’s shin for a goal kick. Djenepo then won the ball back, fed Diallo who had another effort blocked.
Bournemouth then won their first corner courtesy of Danjuma. I didn’t see who got on the end of it but it landed safely in the gloves of Fraser. KWP and Stu got down our right but the cross eluded Adams before Djenepo lost possession but Bournemouth ran it out for a goal kick.
On 10m Little Jan hit a lovely ball into space on the right. KWP got hold of it and drove it low and hard towards Adams who was being marked by Carter Vickers. The American got there first but only succeeded in sticking it past Begovic. 1-0 Saints? Of course, not - VAR spotted Kyle’s nasal hair in an offside position and Cherries were reprieved.
Saints continued to get forward. Rico did well to rob Armstrong and clear then Steve Cook got his head to Redmond’s cross. Armstrong then reached the bye line, found Bertie but the full back stuck his shot wide. Bournemouth were in big trouble, unable to play out through our press. Then Jack Wheelchair executed a most splendid dive which the Ref bought hook, line and sinker. They were able to hoof the ball downfield.
We were regularly breaking up Bournemouth moves and Djenepo won a corner on the left. Bertie was on duty from that side and the ball reached Armstrong who also shot wide. Then we turned the ball over allowing Danjuma to run at us. He got his shot away but Fraser saved it.
Wheelchair was kicking any of ours he could get near with never a hint of a booking. Djenepo was getting lots of free kicks but JWP didn’t have his eye in. His first found the head of Danjuma and the next landed in Begovic’s gloves. Diallo then robbed Danjuma to send Djenepo away. Guess what – another foul! Moments later Bednarek fouled one of theirs and went straight in the book. FFS!
Bournemouth put the free kick into our box but Riquelme turned it wide. On 34m the same player broke into our box, played a nice 1-2, before drawing a save from Forster. Bournemouth were enjoying their best spell. KWP downed Solanke. They were initially forced away but Solanke regained possession and sought out Riquelme. Fraser was quickly off his line to grab the ball.
On 37m, Saints broke up-field with the sort of move we were used to last Autumn. The ball reached Redmond on half-way and he turned and drove diagonally forward. Adams was breaking right and Djenepo left, but Nathan held the ball until he reached the box. Moussa drove into the area and the ball was rolled into his stride. His marker fell on his arse and the Mali international found the far corner. 1-0 Saints – take that VAR!
It took a while for Bournemouth to get going again but on 43m Solanke looked to drive into our box. I’m getting used to seeing Diallo do what he did next: runs with the player, gets in front and then turns and carries the ball away. It looks so effortless.
The board went up for 1 added minute as Saints took a throw on the left. Armstrong chested it into the path of Redmond who ran away from his marker. Cook came over to close him down but Redders continued on his diagonal path. He continued into the box, past the far post before executing the most sublime cross shot, beating the arm of Begovic into the opposite top corner. 2-0 – enjoy your half-time oranges Bournemouth!
The second half was underway when I returned from the kitchen (cheese with onion chutney in my sarni) and not much happened until Jack W got forward for them but hit the side netting with his shot. Saints had certainly taken their foot off the gas and were looking to pick Bournemouth off as they got forward.
On 52m KWP was obliged to head behind. Danjuma took the corner and hit it beyond everyone. Saints then sent a long-ball up-field where Adams rose to head on. Armstrong returned the ball and Scotland’s latest recruit hit it from distance, Begovic was beaten all ends up. 3-0? Not a chance – VAR interfered again and TBF Armstrong did actually look offside this time.
This stung JW into action and he immediately replaced Pearson and Riquleme with Surridge and Anthony. They knocked the ball about for a while but, with the hour mark approaching, Saints scored again. Stacey played a cross field ball which was pounced on by JWP. He found Redmond who sent it on to Armstrong. With JWP and Redmond bursting into the box, the Scot took aim and struck a fierce low shot which came back off the post. There were plenty of players in the box but the ball rolled nicely for Redmond to strike cleanly and unerringly inside that same post. Nice work Saints – Wembley awaits!
Saints were enjoying themselves now. Armstrong shot wide on 60m then Djenepo won a corner but the Cherries were able to clear Bertie’s cross. Play was halted when Jack W and Moussa clashed heads. Bother were down but were allowed to continue after examination by the medics. JW replaced Rico with Mepham on 67m but it was all Saints now. Steve Cook often looked the only one still trying to defend – fair play to him.
Armstrong nearly joined the list of scorers on 73m. He hit a beauty from distance which Begovic was at full stretch to turn round the post. A minute later Vestergaard was robbed and immediately brought his man down. Yellow card – both Jans in the book now!
Armstrong then carried the ball from his own half before rolling the ball to Redmond. He must have been thinking of taking home the match ball until his shot flew millimetres wide of the back post. Ralph took off both centre-backs on 77m bringing on Stephens and Salisu to finish the job. Kilkenny came on for Billing at the same time.
Danjuma then got through for Bournemouth – probably their best chance of the match. Fraser made a good save enabling Armstrong to make another lung-bursting run with defenders flailing in his wake. Unsurprisingly it was the reliable Cook who got his body in the way – corner Saints.
JWP’s corner was headed away towards Diallo who shot wide. On 84m Jack finally received his well-earned yellow card for a trip on Diallo. Djenepo was then replaced by Tella. The youngster got his first touch on 86m. He was immediately fouled. Glenda gave Mom to Redmond and then Adams tied to find Tella’s run into the box – unsuccessfully. Bournemouth then mounted an attack which saw Surridge’s header saved by Fraser.
Salisu was looking secure – again. On 89m Ralph brought off KWP and Adams to give Ramsay and Big Dan a run out. 3 added minutes were signalled as Redmond played in Tella. Mepham successfully took the ball away. With time running out, Salisu brought down a long ball in the left back position. As he shaped to clear he was body-checked by Surridge, without doubt the worst foul of the match. There was no intent to play the ball, just a second rate, second tier footballer wanting to take out his spite on a member of the winning side. The referee let himself down badly by not showing him Red.
Anyhow, that was that. Saints were through to face Leicester at Wembley. Bournemouth can concentrate on failing to get promoted – the Premier League can do without that sort of thuggery, thank you.
The international break allows Ralph some time to work with whoever remains at home and, more importantly, allows time for Messrs Walcott and Ings to complete their recoveries. Our semi-final date means we only have 2 league games in April. Burnley have found their mojo and will be no pushover. If we play like we have in the Cup we can beat them. Our other game is at Fat Sam’s West Brom. They have found something but look unlikely to save themselves. I hope they haven’t reached the “we’re down so the pressure is off” stage when we go there as that might also be difficult.
Man of the Match
I was disappointed to see Redmond picked ahead of Tella. WTF do I know? Redmond started slowly but, as the game progressed, he – and Stuart Armstrong – began to show an eagerness to carry the ball forward and get us up the field. An under-strength Bournemouth were unable to live with them and Redmond in particular turned the game. We scored 5 goals – 3 of which were allowed by VAR – and Nathan Redmond got 2 of them and an assist for Djenepo’s. I’m not often wrong but am delighted I was today.