Having accumulated eight points from the previous possible twelve prior to this weekend, AFC Bournemouth went into Saturday’s game at the Riverside Stadium as clear favourites.
It was an unwelcome surprise to players and fans alike when Middlesborough picked up their first win in eight league games against Eddie Howe’s men.
Inside the first 15 minutes The Cherries were stringing some decent moves together, culminating in a Jack Wilshere corner that found the feet of Joshua King whose shot was headed off the line by Adam Clayton.
AFC Bournemouth continued to look more likely as Wilshere played some delightful, incisive balls over the top, again linking up with King on the 27th minute when the Norwegian’s creative volley struck the crossbar. Had the shot hit the back of the net, pundits would be waxing lyrical over the importance of Wilshere’s presence in the side.
But it was AFC Bournemouth’s old Championship rivals who broke the deadlock ten minutes later through a brilliant solo goal from Gaston Ramirez. AFC Bournemouth had failed to clear their lines after multiple chances but did win a corner having survived one wave of attack.
The corner was dealt with poorly and Middlesborough capitalised, Ramirez leading the counter attack. Middlesborough were 1-0 up on the brink of half time.
Matters were only made worse for The Cherries as – ten minutes into the se
cond half – Middlesborough worked the ball around the middle of the park neatly before Alvaro Negredo‘s nod down into the box left Stewart Downing with an open goal. He took the chance and AFC Bournemouth were left questioning the positioning of their backline; not something they h
ave had to do regularly during a season in which they have so far been defensively sound for the most part.
Andrew Surman suggested during the week that the Riverside Stadium would be
a “tough place to go“, and that’s how it turned out as no quantity of substitutions were enough to break through Middlesborough’s resolute defence, and it was the hosts who ended up walking away with a deserved three points.
In a situation that is the polar opposite of last season, AFC Bournemouth are left wondering what the causes are of their recent hiccups in away fixtures and will be looking to replicate the kind of performances – that we’ve been seeing at Vitality Stadium – on the road.
Now is a kind time to be playing Sunderland, and AFC Bournemouth welcome the struggling side from the North East next Saturday in a 3pm kick-off in which The Cherries will be looking to get back to winning ways. For a full breakdown of AFC Bournemouth 2-0 defeat at Middlesborough as well as a preview of the game against Sunderland, tune into Cherry Chat on Nerve Radio on Friday 4th November from 5pm-6pm.