Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 0 Blackburn 2

Date: 11 December 2021

Bournemouth’s run of winless matches (since beating Swansea 4-0 in my presence on 6 November) continued today with a defeat against Blackburn.

With the absence of Kilkenny, Lerma and Billing from the starting line-up our central midfield looked unfamiliar: Lewis Cook playing alongside Christie, with Pearson just behind them. Christie’s normal place on the right wing was taken by Jamal Lowe. The defence was unchanged except that Robbie Brady was at left back, the fourth player I’ve seen in that position this season. It was an interesting choice of game for his debut, as he’d spent a season at Burnley so the Blackburn fans booed him every time he got the ball! This didn’t seem to faze him though (I guess he’d been expecting it) and for me he was our best player – especially in the first half. He may not have formed a partnership with Anthony yet, but he still showed some good moves.

In fairness, our defence in general did well: Stacey played better than of late and Cahill earned the sponsors’ ‘man of the match’. They weren’t to be blamed for either of our goals really, as both were looped into the box from a distance. The first, 23 minutes into the first half, came in from Blackburn’s left and was a great goal (Pearson unfortunately got the last touch but I don’t think he knew much about it). And the second, in the 65th minute, came in from Blackburn’s right and was another team effort on Blackburn’s part.

We did get chances. Christie had several in the first half, the best coming from a pass from Anthony, but still he awaits his first Bournemouth goal. And Solanke – who worked very hard throughout the match but lacked the ‘finishing touch’ today – probably had our best chance of the game, right on the stroke of half time. If he’d scored, which he should have, a lot of fans would have missed it. Our best spell was the first five to ten minutes of the second half, when we besieged Blackburn’s goal – but all to no avail.

Scott Parker tried some changes as the game slipped out of our grasp. Marcondes came on for Pearson at half time – with Lewis Cook switching to a more defensive role to accommodate him. We replaced one captain (Steve Cook) with another (Kelly, returning from injury) on 65 minutes, and the ‘usual’ third substitution – Morgan Rogers for Anthony – was made near the end. But nothing worked, and even six minutes added on was insufficient for us to score a consolation goal. It was just one of those days.

The trouble now is that it’s the early season unbeaten run that’s looking like a ‘fluke’, while there’s little evidence that this poor run (now three draws and two defeats) won’t continue through the busy Christmas period when inter alia we have to meet another of the chasing pack in the Championship: QPR.

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:

Stacey, Cahill, S Cook, Brady;
Lowe, L Cook, Christie, Anthony;

By the end the line-up was:

Stacey, Cahill, Kelly, Brady;
L Cook;
Lowe, Marcondes, Christie, Rogers;

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