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AFC Bournemouth 1 Watford 0 (27/02/2021) 28/02/2021

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

1- The thing about the last twelve months is that there’s nobody to blame.

There have been idiots, sure.  All manner of idiots, all manner of selfishness. But even there…  you’ve got to allow for circumstances.  What’s going on at home?  What’s she having to cope with?  Maybe he’s just lost his job?  Perhaps they’ve lost someone.  And even the true, dyed-in-the-wool idiots…  you know, them…  it’s not their fault is it?  Everything? Even if they’re handling it badly.

They’re just convenient targets as we’ve raged in our impotence.  Part of the frustration is having nowhere to point.  Even the government, to whatever degree you believe them to have messed things up or not are, at worst, making things worse rather than being the source of the situation.  What we could all do with is an incontrovertible bad guy.  A common enemy to unite against.  Someone to vent our collective spleens at in catharsis without reservation or qualification.

Hello, Bournemouth.

2- We started boldly.  We started like the side consciously in better form and intent on imposing ourselves on our nervous hosts.  Three minutes in and Sarr released Kiko down the right, his cross found its way to Masina who’s header dropped the wrong side of the post.  Even as the hosts steadied themselves and the game settled into a sparring match, the Hornets were the most likely.  The side asking the questions;  Bournemouth provided answers, but often as time was running out.  It wasn’t going to take much.

Kiko overlapped again, João Pedro headed wide at the near post.  The Brazilian linked up with Cleverley to send Chalobah through only for Pearson to snuff the danger.  João Pedro turned Pearson and smacked a shot against Cameron Carter-Vickers.  The centre-back was facing the Hornets for the third time in six months with a third different club; he would later manage to foul both João Pedro and Cleverley in the same move, quite creatively, but for all that this was requiring some last ditch stuff, the last ditch stuff kept coming and clear cut chances were thin on the ground.

There was no avoiding that, by the break, the home side were punching their weight.  On the half hour horrible echoes were offered by the sight of Kiko struggling at the far post to an Adam Smith cross.  Kelly thumped a shot that Bachmann pushed over. The half ended with Sarr shooting over after a snappy passing move, but with the game still very much all square.

3- The frustration of course, not for the first time, is that we didn’t rise above it.  Worse, there was evidence of us trying to beat them at their own game…  provocative holding onto the ball to slow the game down, little niggles to try to upset the hosts.  We were never going to out-Bournemouth Bournemouth, and should have stuck to the stuff we’ve been good at.

Because there’s still no out-Bournemouthing Bournemouth.  You did wonder if the antipathy would fade now that Tindall has followed Howe out of the door, but it seems that if that’s a significant change of tone it’ll take a while to coach the new tune.  Lewis Cook started the second half by reacting to a harsh foul call by kicking the ball in frustration at the linesman.  A generous yellow.  Then, as the Hornets broke, the vagaries of microphones in an empty stadium picked up a shout of “foul! foul! foul!” from the Bournemouth bench. And, yes, perhaps such things are commonplace if only we could hear them in the normal way but… so on brand.

The Chalobah and Lerma thing had been bubbling up throughout, and boiled over just before the hour.  The Colombian climbed on Chalobah, Chalobah grappled, Lerma grappled, as they came down Chalobah flicked a hand at Lerma’s face;  he collapsed as if he’d been shot.

We can’t control what Bournemouth do.  We can control how we react to it, and it’s not like we’ve not been warned.  After all, Tindall shrieking at Marc Pugh to go down in the box here was seven years ago.  Chalobah’s gesture wasn’t a forearm smash, but it opened the possibility for Lerma to do what he did.  Stupid.

4- Arnaut Danjuma had had a quiet first half, but was the game’s most potent threat in the second.  Shortly before the Lerma incident he’d sliced in from the left and put the ball past Bachmann only for Sierralta to intervene.  As Lerma returned to his feet and brushed himself down our concentration had gone, Danjuma was beyond the defence and that was all it took.

We threatened, and could still have nicked a point.  Sarr flew past James for the first time but shot wide at the near post.  An extraordinary leap from Sema saw the ball knocked down, Begovic prevailed against Sarr who only needed a touch.   Sarr sizzled a cross in from the right, sub Perica was smothered at the near post.   Narrow margins.

But the closing fifteen minutes or so were a sort of Bournemouth greatest hits tour.  All the classics came out…  Lerma rolling around again, trying to draw another card from a now flustered referee.  Significant that Dan Gosling, his teammate a month ago, was at the front of the protagonists expressing their disgust.  Jack Wilshere came off the bench for an extraordinary cameo that saw him booked for timewasting and finally dismissed for his part in the final melee having escaped censure for a brutally cynical off the ball hack on João Pedro, for bellowing at the referee to “f*** off” and for applauding his first booking.  Whether Wilshere is merely an idiot, or whether there’s some in-joke going on at Dean Court, a bet based on dodging cards following Kelly and Billing’s efforts at Vicarage Road, we can only speculate.

Meanwhile João Pedro looks ever more convincing leading the line, but manages to get into a barney on a twice-weekly basis and in games much less combustible than this one. He will have a target on his back, and needs to calm the hell down and not reward, much less react to the provocation because it’s going to keep happening. His dismissal means that we still haven’t lost at Bournemouth with eleven men since 1976… his second booking was avoidable, presuming that the referee saw the flick of the boot at Lerma and didn’t penalise the strong but fair challenge that immediately preceded it.

5- As it all kicked off in the dying minutes, a rolling brawl that ebbed and flowed and faded and reignited even in the tunnel on the way out  Philip Zinckernagel, who hadn’t on the pitch to calm João Pedro down this time, was at least able to protect Sarr from more than a yellow as it all kicked off.  Little chance of the Dane making it onto the pitch for this one, he’d have been blown away like a crisp packet in a gale.

As for Bournemouth, I spent my stompy failing-to-calm-down walk this afternoon pondering whether I’d rather punch Adam Smith in the face or knee Jefferson Lerma in the balls given the choice, finally deciding that the right thing to do would be to chuck whoever was imposing such a restriction down a deep hole and do both.  Perhaps not entirely a bad thing from my point of view that fans weren’t allowed on this occasion.  I suspect I wasn’t the only one who found it hard to calm down.

Fortunately, a reminder that there’s a long way to go and that points will be dropped along the way came before the end of the afternoon as Swansea contrived to lose at home to Nigel Pearson’s Bristol City.  Losing away at Bournemouth, the first home win in these fixtures since the two sides were promoted in 2015, is a pain in the arse but doesn’t need to be terminal.

We’re a better side than Bournemouth, we have a better coach than Bournemouth, and we were a lapse of concentration away from a decent away point.  “Stay on target”.


Bachmann 4, Femenía 3, Cathcart 3, *Sierralta 4, Masina 3, Hughes 3, Cleverley 3, Chalobah 3, Sarr 3, João Pedro 3, Sema 3
Subs:  Gosling (for Chalobah, 76) NA, Lazaar (for Masina, 76) NA, Perica (for Sema, 84) NA, Ngakia, Gray, Cathcart, Troost-Ekong, Zinckernagel, Elliot


1. Kevin B - 28/02/2021

1978? We won 2-1 down there. I ineptly got thrown out by a particularly nasty plod that night as seemingly everyone else managed to invade the pitch at the end. Not that I’m still bitter or anything.

Matt Rowson - 28/02/2021

No, got that Kev. Not fussed at all.

Matt Rowson - 28/02/2021

…and thx, got my years wrong. Will correct

John - 28/02/2021

In fact Tony Geidmintis was sent off in the 1977 defeat, so it must be 1976 when we last lost there with 11. In the 1976 defeat I think we only missed a penalty.

Matt Rowson - 28/02/2021

Dammit. That means that Dave (who passed on the stat) was right… thx John, will amend (again)

2. paullbaxter - 28/02/2021

I got particularly incensed that the referee forgot that he had awarded the free kick to us and apparently so did all of our team as no one reminded him. I was pedantic enough to rewind and check that it was out free kick originally. Irritating to that we lost but the performance was still much better than we were delivering pre Bristol City.

Matt Rowson - 28/02/2021

I hadn’t noticed that. Cheers Paul, just when I was calming down a bit…. 😉

3. Harefield Hornet - 28/02/2021

The most frustrating thing yesterday was that they had been on an indifferent run of form, in danger of slipping out of the promotion frame, and we failed to take advantage. I suppose there poor recent home form made it easy to forget they still
have a few effective players following their stint in the Premier League, and to a certain extent they nullified us yesterday. Hughes probably had his least effective game he’s had for a few matches yesterday, given the amazingly high standards he has set recently. We didn’t get any breaks up front either, or create that many chances but I’m sure if we had scored first it would have been a different outcome. As for all the other nonsense, let’s hope a few have learnt valuable lessons yesterday. Watford and the referee were somewhat naive yesterday in how they reacted to the provocation and odious individuals like Lerma. Like you I think it’s a good job our fans were absent yesterday or things could have got really nasty. How we follow this up against Wycombe this week could define the run-in.

Matt Rowson - 28/02/2021

Wycombe – yes, absolutely

4. JohnF - 28/02/2021

I noticed that Woodgate has happily embraced the obnoxiousness by complaining that Chalobah wasn’t sent ff for the first Lerma incident, which he also said he didn’t see….prat! Even Sky’s Bournemouth cheerleaders were appalled by Lerma. A bit disappointing that we didn’t create more clear cut chances early on but I guess the plus is that we were going to lose Chalobah for two games soon and at least these are two home games and a week off for Joao Pedro might be the rest that he needs. Onwards and upwards and at least we aren’t facing such cynical opponents for the next two games.

Matt Rowson - 28/02/2021

I thought the first incident – presuming that’s the one with Pearson and Lerma in the corner flag – didn’t look deliberate at all. He clearly went into the back of Pearson provoking the collision, but I thought it was a case of all of them chasing the ball, Pearson slowed down so as not to collide with Lerma and Chalobah didn’t react quickly enough. There was no shove.

Harefield Hornet - 28/02/2021

Wycombe will be honest direct and hardworking. They face Norwich today so if they get anything at all out of that we’ll need to be even more on our brief. Gray to start instead of Pedro I suppose ?

5. Ben - 28/02/2021

Spot on with the report Matt. Reading your reports after a loss always provides a helpful sense of perspective and allows us all to move on to the next one. I needed this one and you delivered again. Thanks.

Matt Rowson - 28/02/2021

Cheers Ben

6. NickB - 28/02/2021

Re point 5), how no-one has done precisely that to the stupendously odious Smith long before now is one of life’s enduring mysteries.

7. Derek - 28/02/2021

Among the odious antics that I’ve not seen mentioned were the loud anguished screams everytime one of their players wanted a foul. I thought it was really funny, when in the second half after yet another of these incidents, Will Hughes stood in the centre circle, flapped his arms up and down a few times like a large bird, making the squawking scream noise that they had perfected. Does the “A” in AFC Bournemouth stand for “Aaaaarrrggggnhhh”?

RS - 01/03/2021

Yes, and Tom Cleverley joined the chorus for that particular rendition; funny yes but unfortunately it was an indication that the obnoxious behaviour(s) had got under their skins and therefore become a distraction.

Automatic promotion please boys; we don’t want to be facing this bollocks again!

8. Wimborne Hornet - 01/03/2021

Being a ST holder living just outside Bournemouth I find them the most odious, cheating, diving bunch we face. I remember Agella being sent off in the 4th minute after a B’mouth dive with it later rescinded. The trouble is, most of the fans (and I know quite a few) are thoroughly decent individuals, who just don’t see the problem! But it’s been going on for years and we should know better; as your report so rightly points out. Clearly Xisco won’t know what’s going to happen, but if we all do then someone should have briefed him! Still fuming! Hate them!

Harefield Hornet - 02/03/2021

They always immediately point to the stats which after some encounters have shown we have committed more fouls than they have during games so are therefore the perpetrators! Of course they think it’s all a great laugh because they keep profiting from our stupidity at times !!

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