Su­per sub Mur­ray is mint for Cher­ries

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By James Owens

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.”

PIC­TURES: Joe Dent

STAR MAN CONOR WASH­ING­TON

Peter­bor­ough ON CUP TRAIL: Conor Wash­ing­ton heads in Posh’s se­cond goal

STAR MAN MARK PUGH Bournemouth

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