Bournemouth Away Won 0 – 1
Caleta-Car for the injured Bella-Kotchap was the only starting change at Bournemouth in a game put back 23 and a half hours, thus enabling locally based visiting fans to get home by public transport after comfortably the nearest thing to the real ‘derby.’ Stuff you, Amazon. Actually Amazon would have been pleased to have missed an affair in which chances were few and far between, but the first and best fell early on to a curiously unmarked Adams who headed home Perraud’s first time cross. An ideal start for Ralph’s under-fire side, and the following day I was asked about shouts of ‘sacked in the morning.’ Well, I didn’t hear any, and why would there have been, when the priority was to get behind the team in their bid to take all three points? The Cherries have more limited resources than most in the Premier League and their attacking options are based around Solanke’s presence up front: ideal for Caleta-Car who may have struggled against a more mobile opponent but found himself well-suited for the task in hand. An even first half ended with Saints still ahead, but we’ve been in front so often without completing the job. This, though, was a real opportunity, despite no-one getting close enough to Senesi when he moved upfield for an early corner after the break. You’d have liked to have seen rather more Southampton possession, but the game plan for the second period was to hold on to what we had, as exemplified by the 64th minute introduction of Lyanco; I’m told this may have been the source of doubts about the coach, but not in my hearing. As the game wore on, the more the move seemed justified, while a round of later substitutions actually saw us seeing out most of the last few minutes on the front foot. It wasn’t quite that simple as Bazunu chose added time to make his only error of the game, but it could have been so expensive as he dropped a corner and had to be bailed out by Salisu booting the loose ball clear. So three points to take the team galloping up the table, and the 21:44 from Pokesdown ready to get some of us at least home in time to re-live the evening on MotD.
Man of the Match Candidates
3.Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Known not to be the manager’s favourite, certainly not our best player and not our best passer either. Tackling and blocking are more his forte, and he did plenty of both.
6 Duje Caleta-Car, with his experience added to a physical presence proving vital.
10. Ché Adams. We score so infrequently that a goal is always likely to get a player on the Man of the Match shortlist, but Ché also did a lot of selfless chasing.