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POWELL: WE STAYED IN THE GAME

14 February 2015

Chris reviews the 1-1 draw at AFC Bournemouth

Chris Powell was proud of his players after they fought back to record a 1-1 draw at high-flying AFC Bournemouth today.

After Tuesday night’s disappointing home reversal at the hands of Wolves, he was delighted with the response from his side – as he explained to htafc.com after the final whistle.

“I don’t generally get too low – I can handle the disappointments in football – but I was pretty low after Tuesday night; it wasn’t a great night for us as we got punished by a good team. 

“We knew our next game – today – would be quite a tall order, but we planned and prepared. 

“Ahead of the game we told the players that we needed discipline and concentration, because we’d have spells without the ball. When that happened we needed to keep our shape and keep narrow; let them play on outside as much as we can, as Ritchie and Pugh like to come inside. 

“I thought the players stayed in the game; they were very resolute from minute one. We showed some really good defensive qualities and I told them at half-time that although we were 1-0 down to a well-worked set play, we were still in the game. 

“We needed a bit more belief in the final third, which I thought we had in the second period. We had to keep the work rate up and a lot of players were hanging in there after the travelling we had to get here. 

“To come away with a point in a game where I’m sure everyone had written us off is really pleasing. This feels like the game at Wolves earlier this season, even though we haven’t won the game. I believe there were a lot of travel problems, but I’m sure the fans are very pleased and proud of their team today.”

Powell opted to shore up his midfield for the game, reintroducing David Edgar to the side at the expense of Ishmael Miller.

Chris explained: “We had to give up a striker and although I don’t like doing it, it does work for us – especially away from home. Kermorgant drops deep, which is why David Edgar came in for some extra protection. I thought about playing Jonathan Hogg today, but he’s only had a couple of training sessions. It’s good that he’s back though.”

Town’s back five – goalkeeper included – coped well with the threat of the Cherries throughout the game and drew praise from Powell:

“Callum Wilson is very quick, but I thought Murray Wallace and Mark Hudson played him well. They dovetailed by covering one another, as we didn’t want them getting isolated too much in one-on-ones. It worked well.

“Of course you will still need to call on your goalkeeper and I thought Alex Smithies was very positive with coming for crosses and punches on top of three or four very good saves. You have to ride your luck.”

Despite that, Yann Kermorgant – a striker Chris Powell signed at Charlton – did give the hosts a first-half lead from a corner routine:

“We spoke about set plays, because Bournemouth’s team is clever. We looked at loads of routines and short corners that they like to do, but today they did one that ended up with Yann. I know that he doesn’t miss the target when he gets in those positions and he didn’t miss today.

“It was disappointing, because if you take that away they only had one or two situations. Apart from that, we handled it pretty well.”

It was James Vaughan who levelled for the Terriers in the second-half with his third goal in as many games and Powell was full of praise for the in-form forward:

“I thought we could have been a bit bolder going forward, but I suppose when you come somewhere like this we had to keep ourselves in the game and it’s hard to build momentum – although I thought we did in the end.

“I’m pleased for Vaughany. We all know about his injury problems, but we’re doing our best to put them behind him and he’s showing everyone – myself included – what a good goal-scorer he is at Championship level. That’s added to another in Nahki Wells.

“I think everyone could see from Ishmael Miller’s cameo today that he has Championship know-how, a bit of pace and physical strength. His addition gives me three different types and I’m very pleased with that.”

Town now have a week to prepare for back-to-back Championship home games.

“We’re getting there. I’m really pleased with the effort from the players – and not just today. They’re doing the job at the minute.

“Now we’ve got to recover, do the right things and prepare for Cardiff and Reading; two big home games for us. We’ve enjoyed it away more than home recently, which is strange given what a problem it was for us previously, but you take the points wherever they come.

“After the last two home games against Leeds and Wolves, it would be nice to get back to winning at the John Smith’s because our fans want to see us win. We’ll certainly be positive in the next two games.”

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