Date: 31st August 2014 at 9:11am
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A slick, organised Bournemouth side came to Carrow Road with a game plan to not give too much away and keep possession, a plan they carried out with aplomb.

Eddie Howe needs to be given credit for what was a very professional performance by the visitors. Four wins in a row for City meant that many supporters before this game were expecting The Cherries to just roll over, but anyone who knows anything about Bournemouth could tell you that wasn’t going to be the case.

Having only just missed out on the play-offs last term, Bournemouth have a great team ethic without the presence of any big stars. Everyone works hard for each other and ball possession is king.

City manager, Neil Adams made just one change to the side that beat Ipswich last weekend, with Javier Garrido recovering from a hamstring strain to replace the injured Ryan Bennett.

After a sluggish start, City found themselves in the unusual position of being out passed at Carrow Road for the first 10 minutes or so. There weren’t any really dangerous chances created but I could see we’d be in for a game.

City opened the scoring on 14 minutes against the run of play after Nathan Redmond made a great run on the right before sending over a delicious cross that had ‘goal’ written all over it. Lewis Grabban (who else?) duly obliged and powered a header past Lee Camp in front of The Barclay.

City then found a little confidence and took control of the game for most of the rest of the half with Grabban, Lafferty and Redmond all close to doubling the lead but finding Camp in their way.

At the other end, Turner and Callum Wilson, who so nearly joined Norwich in the summer where at it, both niggling each other and exchanging pleasantries. At the end, Turmer described his first half with Wilson as ‘a bit tasty’.

After flattening the ex-Coventry man earlier, Turner received a caution when he did it again and Wilson stayed down for several minutes before eventually being able to carry on.

With half time looming and the half in stoppage time, Nathan Redmond showed his inexperience as a defender when he allowed Simon Francis to get ahead of him and fire a low cross across the City box and into the path of the anticipating Wilson, whose first time shot was smashed into the net despite Ruddy getting a hand to it.

It was a hammer blow on the stroke of half time and just what you’re not supposed to do. ‘Worst time to concede a goal’ and all that.

HT: Norwich City 1 – 1 Bournemouth

There were no changes for the start of the second half and despite Johnson testing Camp after good work by Hoolahan it was the visitors who started to control the game and dominate possession.

Lafferty had seemed a little out of sorts to me and after earning a reckless booking in the first half, Adams decided to replace him on the hour mark with Josh Murphy. Lafferty trudged off and didn’t look happy as he went to the bench and the crowd cheered the arrival of the lively Murphy.

His first contribution to the game saw him beat Francis on the left before being shoved over. The resulting free kick saw the ball go out for a goal kick despite it obviously not coming off Turner.

Further frustration came when Redmond cut inside from the right and smashed a left footed shot high over the bar. He immediately lifted his shirt and out his face into it as howls of derision came from the stands.

Redmond was replaced by Jerome on 75 minutes as Adams went for the win. Whittaker played in Grabban but his weak shot from a tight angle didn’t trouble Camp and then Murphy sent his own shot sailing wide from the flank as he cut inside ala Redmond.

Bournemouth were very tidy in possession and carried a threat on the break with O’Kane pulling all the strings. However, they were clearly looking to consolidate a point when Howe replaced Stanislas with Pugh on 68 minutes to preserve the five man midfield.

With the clock running down, Hoolahan was bundled over 25 yards from goal and the last chance saloon saw Bradley Johnson smash a shot at goal that due to it’s power, Camp did well to turn over.

And that was pretty much it as the teams played out a 1-1 draw, City’s first of the season.

At the final whistle, Turner and Wilson were friends again and shared a hug as a few muted boos rang out – I heard them from the River End but wasn’t sure where they came from.

Boos? Ridiculous. The Championship is a tough league, everyone claims to know that but when we come up against a side that are going to be in and around the top six, we start booing – whoever you are, that was poor form.

Credit must be given to Eddie Howe and his tactics. He wanted to frustrate and not give much away and he managed to covey that to his side.

On the flip side of that though, it was only one mistake that saw City denied all three points. Small margins again, but that’s football for you.

Nathan Redmond had an excellent first half, during which he provided a terrific cross for Grabban’s goal and could’ve scored from a free kick.
His pace terrifies the opposition before they are even start the game and has already led to one opposition sending off this season.

Remember Darren Huckerby? How many opposition player got themselves booked or sent off trying to contain him?

In the second half, he started to fade and that wild shot late on summed up his frustrations. He set up the goal but helped Bourenmouth to get theirs.

He needs time and support, he’s learning all the time but has the potential to be a top player and I for one would be playing him in my team.

Afterwards, Neil Adams said that ten points from five games was a good start but that he wanted more. It’s a decent start but now we need to consolidate that and push on, if we are to challenge for promotion.

Here, we played more like we did against Ipswich rather than we did against Blackburn – there’s plenty more to come from a side that were only at about 60% of their ability yesterday.

Before the game, new signings, Vadis Odjidje Ofoe and Connor McGrandles were presented to the crowd and will add to an already strong squad. Adams says he wants two more defensive players before Monday’s deadline. If that happens he will have assembled a much stronger squad than we had last year.

By the way, I know you shouldn’t put too much faith in You Tube videos but I couldn’t help check out Vadis – he looks a beast of a player!

Player Ratings;

Ruddy 6 – Didn’t have a whole load to do.
Whittaker 6 – Didn’t link up with Redmond too well.
Martin 6 – Solid enough.
Turner 7 – kept the pacy Wilson quiet for most of the game.
Garrido 6 – better going forward.
Tettey 7 – tireless work in the centre
Johnson 7 – matched Tettey for effort
Redmond 6 – peach of a cross for the goal but let Francis beat him.
Lafferty 6 – out of sorts and unable to influence the game much.
Hoolahan 6 – tried his hardest but struggled against man marking.
Grabban 6 – Scored again, it’s what he does.

Jerome 5 – looks powerful but didn’t affect the game too much.
Murphy 5 – lively and pacy but couldn’t change things.