Bournemouth 3-2 Birmingham: Jonathan Woodgate ends Cherries rot

Bournemouth 3-2 Birmingham: Jonathan Woodgate picks up victory in his first match as interim boss as goals from Arnaut Danjuma, Jack Wilshere and Phillip Billing cancel out Scott Hogan double

  • Jonathan Woodgate won his first game as caretaker Bournemouth manager
  • The former assistant was installed as an interim after Jason Tindall’s sacking 
  • The Cherries beat Birmingham 3-2 despite Blues striker Scott Hogan’s brace
  • Bournemouth’s goals came via Arnaut Danjuma, Jack Wilshere and Phillip Billing

It was far from convincing but Jonathan Woodgate succeeded in stopping the rot. After four consecutive league defeats resulted in Jason Tindall’s sacking, Bournemouth’s caretaker boss achieved the win they desperately needed.

What a bizarre week it must have been for former England defender Woodgate. Appointed to Tindall’s coaching staff on Monday to replace the Newcastle-bound Graeme Jones, he found himself running the show by Wednesday and picked up his first win on Saturday. Craig David could write a song about it.

This win over a stubborn Birmingham City side will have been satisfying as a result but Bournemouth’s performance spoke of a side who need work if they’re to make an immediate return to the Premier League.

Interim boss Jonathan Woodgate stopped Bournemouth’s rot with a 3-2 win over Birmingham

The Cherries strengthened their sixth-placed spot, with Jack Wilshere on the scoresheet

They were very poor in the first-half and fortunate to get in at break on level terms. 

Scott Hogan’s opener for the visitors was the result of a gaffe from goalkeeper Asmir Begovic but came after sustained pressure.

But Arnaut Danjuma equalised and laid the platform for a much-improved second-half from the Cherries. They led through Jack Wilshere’s looping header but suffered the frustration of conceding another soft goal to Hogan.

At that stage, the game could easily have swung either way but Bournemouth, to their credit, found another gear. The winner arrived from a set-piece as Philip Billing stole in and the sense of relief was palpable.

Woodgate arrived as an assistant on Monday but found himself in charge for the weekend


Bournemouth (4-3-3): Begovic; Smith, Carter-Vickers, S. Cook (c), Kelly; L. Cook, Lerma, Wilshere (Billing 68); Danjuma (Rico 90), Long, Brooks (Stacey 86)

Substitutes not used: Dennis (GK); Mepham, Surridge, Stanislas, Riquelme, Pearson

Caretaker manager: Jonathan Woodgate

Scorers: Danjuma 37; Wilshere 61; Billing 77

Booked: Billing

Birmingham City (4-1-4-1): Etheridge; Colin (Valery 85), Dean (c), Friend, Pedersen; San Jose; Sanchez (Cosgrove 89), Sunjic (Harper 67), Gardner, Bela (Leko 67); Hogan (Jutkiewicz 85)

Substitutes not used: Prieto (GK); Clarke-Salter, McGree, Toral

Manager: Aitor Karanka

Scorer: Hogan 27, 68

Booked: Friend, Gardner

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)

With Woodgate’s old club Middlesbrough battered by Brentford, sixth-placed Bournemouth remain above the chasing pack. 

Play-offs remain the minimum expectation, regardless of whether Woodgate stays on in charge or a permanent replacement comes in.

The loss left Birmingham in the bottom three and could be considered harsh. They were the better of the two teams for good chunks but Aitor Karanka again rued a fragility at the back when it mattered.

For the opening half-hour it was all one-way traffic and not in the direction the table might suggest.

Bournemouth were sluggish, their attacking impetus non-existent, while Birmingham had control and carried a threat moving the ball forward.

On 18 minutes, City won a corner that Jeremie Bela swung in. It looked to be a straightforward clearance for Lewis Cook, but he got his feet into a tangle, slipped and presented the ball back to Bela whose shot was blocked by Begovic’s legs at the near post.

The ball flew out to Ivan Sanchez, who fired goalwards with a rasping shot bravely cleared off the line by the head of Bournemouth captain Steve Cook.

From Birmingham’s next attack, Begovic was required to plunge down to his right to keep out Ivan Sunjic’s sharp volley after Hogan had chested the ball down in the box.

These were worrying moments for the home side, who couldn’t seem to string anything together whenever they crossed into Birmingham’s half.

Given the flow of proceedings, it really was little surprise when Birmingham took a 27th-minute lead. Indeed, it deserved reward for grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck.

Gary Gardner took the ball on the overlap down the right and delivered a low cross that looked an easy enough collect for Begovic on the ground.

The Cherries fell behind in the first-half through Scott Hogan’s goal after Asmir Begovic’s error

Only the keeper can explain how he fumbled the ball and pushed it backwards over his body towards the line, where Hogan was left with one of the simplest tap-ins of his career.

Kristian Pedersen connected sweetly on the volley to find the net again a few moments later but it became one of the countless great strikes chalked off for offside and forgotten about.

It took Bournemouth 37 minutes to even have an attempt on goal. Fortunately for them, it produced the leveller and illustrated Birmingham’s fragility.

Wilshere had barely been involved but he was allowed to carry the ball forward and slip a through pass into Danjuma. Ignoring the overlapping run of new boy Shane Long, he cut inside onto his right foot and curled a shot beyond Neil Etheridge into the far corner.

Bournemouth levelled through Arnaut Danjuma (left) who curled in a finish before half time

They had achieved parity but Bournemouth needed to show a lot more in the second-half. 

The early signs were promising enough. Long was inches away from a debut goal when he headed wide from Danjuma’s inswinging corner.

And just after the hour, the Cherries got the goal they’d been craving. It was a well-constructed passing move that resulted in Adam Smith lofting in a cross from the right-side of the box.

For some reason, Maxime Colin and Harlee Dean left Wilshere all alone and his cushioned header seemed to loop into the net in slow motion.

New signing Wilshere (middle) headed Woodgate’s Cherries in front during the second period 

Wilshere, who returned to Bournemouth on a short-term deal last month, now has two goals for them after netting against Crawley Town in the FA Cup.

There was just enough time for Wilshere to be subbed off before Birmingham equalised just a few minutes after going behind. It was all a bit too simple.

Sanchez crossed left-footed and Hogan had managed to keep himself onside as the Bournemouth back line stepped up. 

His header was the slightest of glances but Begovic was poorly positioned and the ball was soon past him.

Hogan (right) levelled for Birmingham with a header of his own past the helpless Begovic (left)

Phillip Billing (right) scored the winning goal at the back post from a free-kick to seal the win

You felt either side could win it but it was Bournemouth who stepped up. Dean fouled Danjuma wide on the Bournemouth left and they had a free-kick in a very threatening position.

It was Danjuma who stepped up and whipped a delivery right through everyone in the box. Billing, who’d come on for Wilshere, had smartly pulled away to the back stick. 

The ball seemed to find the net off the back of his leg but nobody in red and black was too fussed about details.

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