Bournemouth 1 – 2 Sunderland

05.07.2014. Hyde Park, London. The Libertines perform at BST Hyde Park.

Review by Phil Sawyer (Twitter: @sawyer_phil)

AFCB suffered a disappointing defeat to bottom club Sunderland on Saturday – a result which brought an end to Bournemouth’s recent run of home form.

The game started brightly for the hosts, who found themselves on top from the start. In line with the majority of the pre-game predictions, the Cherries’ slick, direct passing left the visitors unable to cope. The ball was zipped back and forth as the hosts launched wave after wave of attacks, and it didn’t take long for the pressure to tell. A beautifully flowing move breached the Sunderland defence on 10 minutes, when a perfectly weighted pass into Adam Smith allowed the right back to drill a cross into Dan Gosling – who couldn’t miss from point blank range. It looked at this stage like it would be a long afternoon for the travelling supporters from the North East.

Bournemouth continued to press, with the outstanding Sunderland goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, providing the only opposition – King saw a shot well saved, and the home side were unable to double their advantage. Unfortunately, pressing for the second left them open to a counter attack, and Victor Anichebe made no mistake when given a chance from a tight angle in front of the North Stand – smashing into the top corner to leave Dean Court stunned.

05.07.2014. Hyde Park, London. The Libertines perform at BST Hyde Park.

Bournemouth pressed on undeterred, but were let down by some overcomplicated play in offensive areas, with Jordan Ibe guilty of hesitating in possession on several occasions. Benick Afobe was given the chance to make an impact in the second half as Ibe was withdrawn, but the Congolese forward was unable to take his chance in the absence of Callum Wilson, and ultimately had an afternoon to forget.

As Bournemouth toiled, it looked like they would finally find a breakthrough, when Pienaar was sent off for a nasty foul with half an hour to go. Things went from bad to worse against the 10 men however, when Anichebe was clumsily fouled in the area, leaving former local hero Jermaine Defoe with the chance to put Sunderland into an unlikely lead. He duly slotted his penalty, and the Sunderland fans went wild as they sniffed the possibility of a first win of the season.

There was plenty of time for Bournemouth to get back into the game, but an uncharacteristic sense of panic crept into the side. The clinical edge went out of the window, and seemingly the entire team were guilty of basic mistakes in front of goal. The otherwise excellent Jack Wilshere went close twice, Afobe missed a sitter and when Stanlislas miscued a volley, a sinking feeling grew amongst the Dean Court faithful. Pickford had the game of his life in the Black Cat’s goal, and Bournemouth battered their opponents until the final whistle without reward.

In a game eerily similar to the frustrating home defeat against Newcastle last season, the Cherries somehow lost a game they completely dominated. On that occasion, they bounced back with a stirring performance against Everton, and Eddie Howe will know that this team – struggling for goals after a fantastic start – need a similar spark to get the season back on track.

05.07.2014. Hyde Park, London. The Libertines perform at BST Hyde Park.

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