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Early Ikpeazu defeats much-changed Cherries

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Geoff Eltringham

AFC Bournemouth rang the changes at Adams Park and fell to a 1-0 loss after conceding an early goal that they were never able to redress.

Inside four minutes the home side had the advantage when Uche Ikpeazu scored with a well-taken strike from range, the Cherries growing into the contest but behind by a single goal at the break.

David Brooks's shot deflected via a brilliant defensive intervention off the underside of the cross bar in the second half, the visitors struggling to break back.

Late on substitute Shane Long headed down but close enough to the 'keeper as the away side were ultimately unable to find a leveller. 

Their play-off place confirmed, the Cherries made six changes to their side at Adams Park. Rodrigo Riquelme, Brooks, Sam Surridge, Jack Stacey, Chris Mepham and Ben Pearson were all in from the off, with Long fit enough to return to the bench.

Steve Cook missed out on the matchday squad due to a bad back, Asmir Begovic therefore taking the captain's armband at Adams Park.

A chill in the air on May Day, the pre-match showers were at an end and the sun was shining as the Cherries, wearing the white and oil blue third strip, kicked the game off in Buckinghamshire.

Riquelme, playing in the number ten role behind Surridge, looked to play a ball through for Stanislas, though still in the early stages the Chairboys took the lead.

Ikpeazu shrugged off a defender and turned to fire home a brilliant curling effort from 24 yards with his left foot to open the scoring.

Looking to hit back quickly, there were shouts for a Bournemouth penalty when Brooks was sent tumbling as he looked to connect with a Surridge centre, calls that were ignored by referee Geoff Eltringham.

Begovic got down to his left to parry away Gareth McLeary's low shot from the edge of the box, the Cherries on the back foot as they tried to cope with the physical Wanderers approach in the opening 15 minutes.

Brooks swerved a free-kick from wide right off target before some penalty box pinball saw first Brooks and then Surridge unable to get shots on target, Wycombe desperately clearing before the ball could be turned home.

Ikpeazu went close again, his header needing to be tipped over by Begovic, Anthony Stewart then threatening further from the set piece, Surridge alert to clear off the line.

A good attacking move saw Diego Rico cross. The ball falling to Riquleme, a shot across goal came in that Surridge stretched for but couldn't reach to turn home at the back post.

Finding space, Brooks had a shot from 23 yards blocked by Stewart as his influence in the contest began to grow, though on the counter Jason McCarthy half-volleyed into the side netting for the home side.

Stacey's forward burst won a corner, Brook's delivery headed wide by Mepham - the defender free to get his effort away after breaking clear of his marker.

Into six minutes of added time at the end of the half, Stanislas poked in an angled effort that was held by Wanderers 'keeper David Stockdale, the Cherries' last chance for parity in the opening period before they walked back to the dressing rooms a goal behind.

There were no changes for the away side to restart proceedings, Mepham with another good chance to score from Stanislas' wide free-kick though he couldn't get the bouncing ball on target with his header.

Cameron Carter-Vickers required a minute of treatment after being hit in the face by a speedy shot from Joe Jacobson.

Deep inside the Wycombe area the ball lopped high into the air, Stanislas most desperate to attack it as it fell back towards earth but heading over when an effort on target would likely have equalised.

Brooks went even closer when he latched onto a Riquelme ball, rounded the 'keeper and seemed certain to score, Stewart's stunning intervention diverting the Welshman's shot onto the underside of the crossbar, the ball somehow staying out of the net.

Jaidon Anthony and Long came on to replace Stanislas and Brooks midway through the half, Surridge coming close to getting his head to a Stacey cross but instead colliding the back of the defender.

An Anthony charge concluded with a defensive header away, the Cherries upping the pressure as the match moved into the closing stages but struggling to force their way through a solid home rearguard.

As in the first half, six minutes of added time were signalled, Long soon getting in a header which lacked the pace to trouble Stockdale.

The full-time whistle sounded and Wycombe still had a chance of a remarkable relegation escape after claim the points.

MK Dons Vitality Stadium

English League Cup

31st July 2021 3:00 PM

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