Date: 18 October 2014
Charlton fans will have been disappointed to see their unbeaten run come to an end this afternoon, but will no doubt have been even more distressed by the manner in which it occurred. Not only did their team manage very few shots, but they had scarcely any possession in a match the Cherries dominated.
1,388 Charlton fans turned up for this match, alongside fewer than 9,000 Cherries’ fans. Well might their fans mock when the attendance figure was announced, given that their own home gate averaged 17,000 last season, but they didn’t have much else to laugh about from the third minute on. Because that was when, following an early Cherries’ corner in front of the South Stand, Surman found Pugh who found Wilson who scored from close range! Following the inevitable jubilation, many wondered if we’d be still be holding on to this slender lead 85 minutes later, and of course we were! But in a more assured manner than of late.
The speculation pre-match had centred on whether – in the absence of Kermorgant, and with Rantie not currently match fit – Pitman would be given the chance to start. (We knew neither Gosling nor Rantie would, because Eddie had trumpeted them both in press releases this week, and that’s always a sure sign that a player’s being dropped!) We all hoped Pitman would start, but feared he wouldn’t. So we were delighted to see him begin alongside Wilson, with the rest of the team unchanged since before the international break. And Brett did not disappoint, as he pretty well did everything but score. In the first half Ritchie, Arter and Surman all attempted to add to Wilson's early goal, from range; and Wilson himself got into good positions again and again though being unable to capitalise upon them. We had countless corners, though one criticism would have to be that we took most of them short. Arguably our best scoring chance of the half other than the goal was the one time Ritchie took a corner kick and sent the ball over towards a crowded goalmouth; Cook’s resultant header was only fractionally wide of the goal. But the best thing of all was that we dominated the half throughout, scarcely giving Charlton a look in. The single exception, when Daniels mistimed a tackle on the edge of the box in front of the North Stand, led to a well-taken Charlton free kick – but Boruc expertly palmed this over the bar to safety. HT: 1-0.
Charlton’s manager’s frustration at this state of affairs could be seen throughout the game as he angrily paced around the technical area. And it was further demonstrated when he made no fewer than two substitutions at half time. (Later in the match he’d make a third one, while the Cherries – today – didn’t make any at all.) The main talking point of the second period, which Bournemouth continued to dominate, came in the fifty-fourth minute when Charlton’s Solly fouled Wilson, who’d broken free and was on a solo run, but only received a yellow card for this, not a red.
Curiously, as in the first half, arguably our best scoring chance came off a Cook header. This one, as he met the end of a Ritchie cross, was nodded just over the roof of the net.
As we moved into the final quarter hour, we stopped chasing a second goal and tried to shut the game down, to the frustration of some fans. This could have been dangerous, especially when we kept players back during corners; and on one occasion a slip by Daniels did indeed enable a Charlton sub (also called Wilson) to shoot at goal. But Boruc’s legs fortuitously kept the shot out, so we got away with it. When the fourth official put up the board for added time we were all relieved to see that it was only two minutes – because the half had included only one substitution and no goals. So we held on, to destroy Charlton’s unbeaten record and to climb six places up the Championship league table ourselves. All in all, a job well done. FT: 1-0.
The team lined up as follows at the start of the game (I've given the players marks out of ten):
Francis (7), Elphick (8), Cook (8), Daniels (6);
Ritchie (7), Arter (7), Surman (7), Pugh (7);
Wilson (7), Pitman (8)