AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Portsmouth F.C, Tuesday 6 August
Report by James Lewer
In the aftermath of AFC Bournemouth’s successful season opener against Charlton, victory against the Addicks gave them plenty of confidence as the Cherries switched attentions to a cup campaign. The draw had produced a mouthwatering tie against southcoast rivals Portsmouth, which attracted plentiful numbers to the Goldsands Stadium.
The two-goal hero against Charlton didn’t play any part in the match. Eddie Howe presumably resting Lewis Grabban ahead of an away clash against Watford on the weekend. Instead the Cherries manager opted for a five man midfield, which was spearheaded by the somewhat isolated lone striker Wes Thomas.
The majority of the first period saw the Cherries dominate posession but create very few goalscoring opportunities. Pushing the ball out into wider areas gave Bournemouth more joy, where young Ryan Fraser was able to showcase his burgeoning talent. The 19-year-old winger was a tricky customer throughout the 90 minutes, as he used his lightning pace to pin the Portsmouth backline.
Another standout peformer was the goalscorer Eunan O’Kane, at times the 23-year-old had a sprinkle, if I dare say, of Paul Scholes about his game. The youngster was composed, and used his tremendous vision to spray passes left, right and centre.
It was around 10 minutes into the second half when the Cherries finally broke the deadlock, the stubborn Portsmouth resistance finally broken. Ryan Fraser began one of his weaving runs down the right flank, his first time shot was parried by the Portsmouth goalkeeper (who was a spitting image of Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan), O’Kane was unmarked inside the box to smash home.
One goal was enough for Bournemouth in the end, Portsmouth failed to offer much in the final third and the Cherries managed to hang on. Under the bright floodlights, the travelling Portsmouth fans remained boisterous until the final whistle. In truth, they were a credit to a club which has been through the doldrums in recent seasons. However, it is a sign of the changing fortunes along the south coast, with AFC Bournemouth enjoying the fruits of success after troublesome times in years gone by.