Super sub Murray is mint for Cherries
EDDIE HOWE was relieved to see his heavily rotated Bournemouth side progress past Birmingham, and his satisfaction was doubled as the Cherries agreed a club record £10million deal for Benik Afobe.
Howe made 11 changes to the side which drew at Leicester in the Premier League last week, but they overcame a dogged Birmingham side to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
“I think he (Afobe) will bring pace, strength, and goals hopefully. He’s a good technical player as well. I think he’s got the whole package, so we’re excited to see him in a Bournemouth shirt if the deal gets completed,” Howe said.
Birmingham dominated the early exchanges, and with just 29 Premier League starts between them this season, it was little surprise that Howe’s unfamiliar line-up started slowly. But the visitors soon began to take control, with Yann Kermorgant, Shaun MacDonald and Marc Pugh all going close.
So when Michael Morrison met David Cotterill’s free kick with an emphatic header late in the half for Blues, it came against the run of play.
But Referee Michael Jones’ pointed to the spot two minutes later when Jonathan Grounds appeared to foul Eunan O’Kane inside the box, with Lee Tomlin levelling.
If Bournemouth’s penalty looked to be a marginal call, so did the one awarded to Birmingham when O’Kane challenged Maikel Kieftenbeld just before the hour but James Vaughan blazed over.
Jacques Maghoma hit the post a quarter of an hour later and the visitors snatched the fourth-round berth five minutes from time when substitute Glenn Murray scrambled home after Adam Legzdins spilled MacDonald’s header.
“We’re very pleased to have got through. It was a tough game, and we were in no doubt that it was going to be,” Howe reflected.
“By no means did we pick a team to do anything other than to try and win, but with Tuesday in mind, we thought it was wise to make the changes that we did.”
Blues boss Gary Rowett said:“I thought we were really really good at times, and it was an enthralling cup tie in difficult conditions.
“It felt as though we had a fair few opportunities to make the game safe.”
And Rowett expressed his sympathy with boyhood Blues fan Vaughan after his missed penalty, saying:“He’s apologised to all the lads in the dressing room, but he certainly doesn’t have to do that. We’re a team, we stick together, and if he misses a penalty then we’ll all rally round him.”
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