Sport Soccer

Thursday 29 September 2016

Kevin Friend collapse overshadows Bournemouth's win over Southampton

Published 01/03/2016 | 22:11

Steve Cook, obscured, scores Bournemouth's opener
Steve Cook, obscured, scores Bournemouth's opener

Fourth official Kevin Friend was rushed to hospital after collapsing and banging his head as Bournemouth saw off Southampton 2-0 in the Premier League.

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Steve Cook and Benik Afobe struck as the Cherries claimed their first home league win over south coast rivals Saints since 1958 in a low-quality encounter.

Match official Friend passed out and received immediate treatment as a hush descended across the stadium at the tail end of the first half.

Referee Mike Dean quickly blew for half-time, before Friend was taken off for further treatment at hospital.

Non-league referee Dean Treleaven, in the ground as a spectator, was pressed into service as Friend's replacement.

On the field Bournemouth secured their first win in five matches in all competitions, Cook and Afobe both profiting from Matt Ritchie free-kicks.

Toothless Southampton had few answers as Bournemouth edged further away from the Premier League drop zone.

Saints boss Ronald Koeman had only extolled the virtues of the wing-backs formation on Monday, as a means of fielding two strikers amid cluttered Premier League midfields.

The former Holland defender was forced to abandon that ploy after little more than half an hour on Tuesday night however, reverting to a flat back four after Bournemouth took the lead.

Maya Yoshida was the unfortunate fall guy, with Koeman sending in Steven Davis to reinforce the midfield. Whatever Koeman tried however, Saints failed to fire on a frustrating night for the visitors.

Charlie Austin should have put them ahead right from the off, with a snap side-foot from James Ward-Prowse's cutback, but missed the target.

Ritchie and Josh King handed Southampton plenty of warning signs by sneaking in behind the visitors' wing-backs, but Koeman's men failed to heed the threat.

Bournemouth's territorial dominance kept Saints pinned back for the majority of the opening half-hour, with Sadio Mane hardly helping matters by conceding possession cheaply on at least four occasions.

Mane blasted over the bar on a rare Saints foray, failing to capitalise after being played through by Oriol Romeu.

Saints paid for their disorganisation when King outwitted Jose Fonte on the right flank.

Norway forward King first picked Fonte's pocket, then forced the Portugal defender into conceding a cheap free-kick for obstruction.

Ritchie duly whipped in a dangerous ball that Forster could only parry among the bodies, and Cook acrobatically hooked home to hand the hosts the lead.

Koeman's response was immediate and merciless, Yoshida sacrificed and the 3-5-2 formation along with him.

As the half petered out, fourth official Friend passed out and cut his head on the dugout, receiving immediate medical attention.

The start of the second half was delayed by five minutes, with Friend taken to hospital for further treatment and replaced by Treleaven.

Saints hitman Austin limped out of action just ahead of the hour, replaced by Graziano Pelle, and Shane Long hobbled out shortly afterwards. Long had been rated just "50-50" by Koeman in advance of this clash as he battled a hamstring problem.

Pelle briefly added bite to Saints' attack, but not nearly enough.

Bournemouth doubled their advantage from another Ritchie set-piece, this time former Wolves poacher Afobe heading home his fourth goal for the Cherries to seal a precious victory.

TWEET OF THE MATCH:

"It's a sad day when I decide to bake over watching the football but the Bournemouth game is trash" - Laura Hamill of the Offside Rule podcast is not impressed.

RATINGS:

Bournemouth:

Artur Boruc: 7

Simon Francis: 7

Steve Cook: 8

Adam Smith: 7

Charlie Daniels: 8

Andrew Surman: 7

Harry Arter: 7

Max Gradel: 7

Joshua King: 8

Benik Afobe: 8

Matt Ritchie: 9

Replacements:

Dan Gosling (for Arter, 65): 7

Lewis Grabban (for King, 69): 7

Marc Pugh (for Gradel, 84): 7

Southampton:

Fraser Forster: 6

Cedric Soares: 5

Jose Fonte: 4

Virgil Van Dijk: 5

Ryan Bertrand: 5

Maya Yoshida: 4

Oriol Romeu: 5

James Ward-Prowse: 6

Sadio Mane: 4

Charlie Austin: 5

Shane Long: 6

Replacements:

Steven Davis (for Yoshida, 34): 5

Graziano Pelle (for Austin, 59): 6

Dusan Tadic (for Long, 69): 6

STAR MAN: Matt Ritchie: Set up both goals in a tidy night's work.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH:

Steve Cook hooking in from Fraser Forster's parried save after Matt Ritchie's whipped free-kick. Bournemouth converted their first tangible opening and never looked back.

MOAN OF THE MATCH:

Referee Mike Dean was far too trigger-happy with the whistle, awarding several questionable and hugely cheap free-kicks early on.

The players quickly picked up on this and were subsequently trying it on at every turn. Slack officiating is the last thing the Premier League needs now.

VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT:

Ronald Koeman set Southampton up with a 3-5-2 formation but had to abandon that ploy after little more than half an hour.

It was something of a climbdown from the former Holland defender, forced to revert to a flat back four.

Whatever he tried however, he could not inject any urgency into his Saints side.

Instead Bournemouth took control by capitalising on the space in behind Saints' wing backs early on, and then stayed on top by dominating midfield.

WHO'S UP NEXT:

Newcastle v BOURNEMOUTH, Premier League, March 5

SOUTHAMPTON v Sunderland, Premier League, March 5

Koeman revealed afterwards that Austin faces a lengthy lay-off.

The Dutchman told BT Sport 1: "Austin will be problem, it is a hamstring injury.

"Shane Long, it was a kick on his knee, normally he will be alright for the weekend but Charlie will be out for several weeks."

Reflecting on the game as a whole, Koeman said: "Bournemouth's start was more aggressive, more focused and with more spirit than we started the game.

"They were the better team, they defended better than we did and scored the two goals from free-kicks.

"Maybe the first is not a free-kick in my opinion but they deserved the three points more than we did."

Opposite number Eddie Howe said: "We played very well first half and forced them to change their system. That showed our game plan worked and we were able to cause them problems in wide areas, credit to the players for that.

"Once they changed, it became a more even game and it was a bit of a battle from that point onwards."

Howe revealed Harry Arter was withdrawn due to "a slight Achilles problem, we hope it's not serious", and that King was suffering with a similar problem.

King also became a father overnight and said: "I've not really slept much, my missus had a 13-hour labour.

"The gaffer rang me and I did lie a bit and said I got a couple of hours in!"

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