Norwich missteps vs. Bournemouth make for painful trip to the south coast
Norwich City's spell over Eddie Howe's Bournemouth was broken in unceremonious fashion with a 3-0 Premier League defeat that moved the Cherries one point above Alex Neil's side. City were behind after five minutes, when the unmarked Dan Gosling headed home from close range, and that set the tone for a depressing trip to the south coast.
Declan Rudd escaped a red card for a wild challenge on Benik Afobe prior to the interval and Charlie Daniels had strong penalty appeals turned down after tumbling under Russell Martin's attentions. Daniels, however, did add a second from the penalty spot early in the second half and Afobe opened his account for his new club with a fine volleyed finish.
Neil conceded afterward that his side were second best. After plotting two previous career wins over Howe, this was major step backward in Norwich's own survival quest.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Declan Rudd, 6 -- Can consider himself fortunate not to have earned a red card for a reckless knee-high challenge on Afobe in a desperate attempt to clear the ball. Excellent stop to deny Marc Pugh shortly after half-time. No chance with the three goals.
DF Russell Martin, 4 -- Simply unable to halt the combined threat of Daniels and Pugh. Risked conceding a first-half penalty when he grappled Daniels in his own box after failing to cut out Pugh's cross for the first goal. Beaten too easily by Daniels to provide the assist for Afobe's goal.
DF Ryan Bennett, 5 -- Lost possession with damaging consequences for Bournemouth's third. Struggled with the pace of Afobe.
DF Sebastien Bassong, 5 -- Meaty aerial tussles with Afobe, but caught ball-watching on Bournemouth's third goal to allow the striker a close-range finish.
DF Robbie Brady, 5 -- Questions again regarding Brady's failure to sense danger for the second consecutive Premier League away game. Let Gosling roam free not once but twice to crash home an unmarked header for the opening goal.
MF Vadis Odjidja, 5 -- Struggled to offer Martin any protection down the right. Sloppy in possession, peripheral influence.
MF Jonny Howson, 6 -- Restored to his best position in central midfield. Unable to stem the flow in the first 30 minutes but central to Norwich's best attacking moments.
MF Alex Tettey, 6 -- Took exception to a naughty challenge from Harry Arter, but given he is one booking away from a two-game suspension himself, that may have curbed his own naturally aggressive instincts.
MF Matt Jarvis, 5 -- First start since overcoming a long-term knee injury and it showed. Forced into reverse too often with Bournemouth probing down both flanks. One angled shot at Artur Boruc in the first half.
MF Wes Hoolahan, 5 -- More than a match for Bournemouth's slick midfielders at his best but unable to work his magic with Norwich largely on the back foot. One or two heavy passes squandered moves of promise.
FW Dieumerci Mbokani, 5 -- Spurned Norwich's two best second-half chances within the space of a minute. Escaped from the Cherries' backline but lifted a wayward lob wide of Boruc's left-hand post and then smashed a shot from an acute angle against the Polish keeper's legs.
FW Cameron Jerome, 5 -- Crowded out by Steve Cook inside the Bournemouth penalty area shortly after his arrival. A later shot on the turn clipped Daniels and dropped wide.
MF Nathan Redmond, 5 -- Another ineffectual cameo. Picked up the ball in good positions on a couple of occasions to spark Norwich counters but lost possession cheaply.
MF Graham Dorrans, 5 -- Brought on for a late rally but within 10 minutes Bournemouth had effectively sealed the win with a third goal.
Paddy is the chief Norwich City correspondent for media group Archant. He has covered the Canaries for more than 10 years. Twitter: @paddyjdavitt.