Bournemouth gift Birmingham a festive three points

Boss Eddie Howe was understandably left rather speechless in his post-match interview as his Bournemouth side went down 2-0 at the hands of Birmingham. 24 shots to the Blues 4, but nothing to show for it in the one stat that matters. Birmingham led early after Cherries defender Steve Cook lost the ball when trying to play out of the back. A well worked move down their right side led to the Birmingham winger Andrew Shinnie slotting home past keeper Camp from the middle of the penalty area. Bournemouth rallied well before shooting themselves in the foot once more. Andrew Surman lost the ball in the middle of his own half and one slide rule pass from Jesse Lingard fed Nikola Zigic who calmly placed the ball under the on rushing Camp. This gave Birmingham something to hang on to and with keeper Darren Randolph denying a Grabben header, before the Bournemouth front man wasted a clear sight at goal just before the break. The second half continued where the first ended with Bournemouth maintaining possession without working Randolph regularly. The keeper was however called into action late on to avoid a nervy finish with a number of expert saves from Grabben, Rantie and Ritchie. A solid away win for Lee Clark’s men, but Bournemouth were very much in the Christmas spirit gifting the Blues an early two goal lead.

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Lee Camp Solid performance, some tidy saves not at fault for goals. 6.5
Simon Francis As always a solid display from the full back, some great sliding challenges to keep Shinnie at bay. 7.0
Tommy Elphick Dealt with the physical presence of Zigic and kept calm while others seemed rocked early on. 7.0
Steve Cook Gave the ball away out of position which led to first goal and never looked comfortable all game. 5.5
Charlie Daniels Noticed more for going forward, Burke caused him problems in the first half. 6.5
Matt Ritchie Creative stand out again. Frustration built towards officials and wasted opportunities from his good delivery. Booked. 7.0
Eunan O’Kane Has improved vastly in recent weeks and was the metronome at centre of the midfield. 7.5
Andrew Surman Wasteful in possession, optimised when he was robbed in his own half leading to the second goal. Subsequently withdrawn at half time. 5.5
Harry Arter Getting back to his best but found it difficult to pick the defence apart. 6.5
Marc Pugh A quite day for the skilful winger after a promising start. Linked well with Daniels. 6.5
Lewis Grabben Started well and looked like he was going to cause Birmingham all sorts of problems. Lost confidence when he missed chance late on in first half. 7.0
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Ryan Fraser Introduced for Surman at half time. Direct style and pace added different dimension but some wayward delivery. 6.5
Tokelo Rantie Replaced the tiring Pugh but failed to make an impact bar glimpses in the closing stages. 6.0
Brett Pitman  Made little or no impact coming on for Daniels. 6.0


Darren Randolph Earned his clean sheet bonus with several top saves to make the win comfortable for the Blues. 8.0
Paul Caddis Booked early on for a trip on Pugh but recovered well and head an assured performance. 6.5
Kyle Bartley A shaky display from the Swansea loanee who found Grabben’s pace difficult to deal with. Booked. 5.5
Dan Burn A man mountain at the heart of the defence. Cleared his lines well and made the right decisions under pressure. 7.0
Paul Robinson The experienced full back used every trick in the book to deal with Ritchie and Frasier and he was steady if not outstanding in his work. 6.5
Tom Adeyemi The enforcer prevented the Bournemouth midfield from dominating the play in the most part. Booked. 7.0
Oliver Lee The creative core of the team linked the play early on and reverted to a more defensive role late on to shut up shop. Booked. 7.0
Chris Burke Started the game like a live wire buzzing up and down the flank. As the game went on his ego boiled over and he was substituted before he was sent off. Booked. 6.5
Jesse Lingard A real young talent. Composed on the ball and remained calm in frnt of goal despite not getting a goal to show for it. 7.5
Andrew Shinnie An assured finish for the first goal and showed signs of promise but petered as the game went on. 7.0
Nikola Zigic For someone so big he failed to command the aerial duels against smaller opposition and a goal was not fitting of his performance. 7.0
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Aaron McLean Brought on for the angered Burke and played a defensive role as Birmingham sat back. 6.0
Callum Reilly Brought on to kill the game off for the talented Lingard. 6.0


Man of the Match

Darren Randolph Without the keeper being on form it would have been a much more difficult game for the away side. Several saves with the pick of the bunch coming late on with a double save to secure the clean sheet. 8.0



About Author

Jason is currently studying Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University and is an editor for the72. He hopes to graduate from University with an increased knowledge of journalism, eventually leading to a career in sports journalism. He is an AFC Bournemouth season ticket holder, with interest in football up and down the English leagues and abroad. Twitter @_JasonLewis