BOURNEMOUTH (H) – THE REVIEW

19/01/20

We done a win. A bloody win. Nick Hayhoe tells you all about it, fresh from a few hours sorting the flags at the Carra. Absolute hero.

Biggest Positive

Just as all is lost. Just as we’re done. Just as they throw us out, we come crawling back in. Like the dehydrated and thirsty Charlton Heston collapsing in Ben-Hur being given water by Jesus, these three points are beautifully quenching. Ahhhh….

It was far from pretty. Too often this season, when getting into a proper scrap, we have crumpled and collapsed. After Godfrey’s sending off, you could feel the whole stadium thinking that the momentum was with Bournemouth… and we all started to worry and panic. Yet we killed it. For the first time in bloody ages. We killed it and held on. The fact we managed to do that might actually instill some belief into players, fans and staff (that really bloody needed it) more than grabbing a second or third goal – even when we really should have done.

Weekend Whinge

VAR. Yawn. Oh hooray the referee has consulted the pitchside monitor. Whoopty doo. Quite why anyone thinks referees doing that will completely solve all of VAR’s problems, I am not sure. Indeed the pitchside monitor check, while getting what has generally been universally considered the correct decision, perfectly demonstrated why the Premier League have avoided doing it until now – the players and the benches started kicking off with the ref’s back turned and also tried to sway the ref’s decision by swarming around him.

But, as us here at ACN have been saying until blue in the face, this is digression and distraction from the actual reasons why VAR is shit. Being treated to 3 minutes of nothing happening in each half? Standing in complete confusion? That’s exactly what we pay our money for right? Additionally, I genuinely didn’t want to celebrate the goal properly until Bournemouth kick off. I kept thinking there was going to some sort of check for someone being 1mm encroaching or some sort of other nonsense. What a pile of wank.

Moment of the match

Steve Cook. Chairs buh. 

About time we had a moment of stupidity from an opposition player and about time we started putting penalties away properly. While he won’t get any credit, because, let’s face it, we all expect penalties to be scored, Pukki was absolutely ice cold in taking it; which is good going with the penalty curse still yet to be completely extinguished.


Random Star Performer


Not particularly random, but wow Duda slotted in nicely. Not often Farke plays a new signing straight away, so it caused a few raised eyebrows to see him in the starting XI. He linked up with Emi for some brilliantly cutting passing moves and was a solid outlet for when the defence played out, which has also been lacking somewhat this season.


Atmosphere

As you can probably tell,  I am not quite firing on all synonymic cylinders here, I am flat out exhausted writing this, having spent the best part of three and a half hours before the game sorting out the surfer in the South Stand and, of course, the flags in the Barclay. We were a touch nervous about the surfer, but it went off without a hitch and, woah, there’s some cracking photos about of the flags, the surfer and the cards in the sunshine. Well done everyone.

During the game I think we were a bit flat in the first half (nerves? disillusionment?), but did help them over the line at the end quite a bit and didn’t get on their backs too much when things didn’t go quite right. So a solid 6/10 I guess. Great fuck VAR chant before the pen, mind you, even though the decision went our way. Hopefully will be on all the highlights because they obviously can’t avoid showing the build up to the penalty. 

While I’m thinking about it, can I also suggest chanting “Fuck VAR”, and generally whistling and jeering, during the “Premier League Theme” that’s played when the players shake hands at the start of the match, ala Man City and the Champions League Anthem? Would make a good form of protest…


Farke Watch

I had a whole bit planned about Farke for this report if we had lost the game, so with that out of the window I have had to screw it up and throw it in the bin. Hopefully they’ll be no other time to bring it out again.

This was a rare example this season of him getting most things spot on. As I’ve said, I was super impressed by the way we killed the game off in the last ten minutes (as nerve shredding as it was) with some lesser spotted shithousery, the starting XI was bang on, and the subs came at the right moments. Then a wave at the end. No complaints here – for this game at least.

Summary

After a very bad start to a Green Bay Packers season a few years back (winning four games and losing six), quarterback Aaron Rodgers stated that to be part of the playoffs for that year they needed to “run the table” – an expression originally from snooker and pool where you pot every ball without missing. So in Green Bay’s case it meant they needed to win every game as they came; because there was no other option. Winning every remaining game was their only goal and focus. They knew if they lost, that was it. They were finished.

I like this expression, because it perfectly defines what Norwich need to do. While Liverpool is a bit of a free pass, generally, there can be no fuck ups, missed opportunities or Along Come Norwiches from now, until the end, if we are going to have any sort of chance. Today was step one of seven, but it cannot be dwelled upon. All they can focus on now is the next six steps. This is the only goal they can now have. Six. Wins. 

Oh and Green Bay? After Rodgers said this, they won all six of their remaining games and made the play offs.

Remember. You must never mind the danger…

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If City are to climb Everest and mount an exciting escape from the drop (lot of metaphors there), they probably need to beat fellow strugglers Bournemouth. Andrew Lawn chats to Bournemouth fan and New Milton Town ladies coach Kellie Flexman to set the scene.

Same again then. We play well. Really well in parts. Yet we go home empty-handed and wondering "what if?" Matthew McGregor on the words