Date: 19 February 2000
This game began very promisingly but deteriorated so much that, probably for the first time in my life, I didn't stay for the final whistle.
Seeing that we were once again playing a 'straightforward' 4-4-2 system was encouraging, even if the use of Carl Fletcher and Warren as fullbacks was a little worrying. Also encouraging was that when O'Neill was stretchered off injured through the first half, and Jorgensen took his place, Mel didn't switch to a one-up system but instructed Jorgensen to play as a forward for the duration - which he did very well, showing a lot of pace and intelligent play, and pairing up well with Stein.
O'Shea had put us into the lead less than two and a half minutes from kick-off, when he headed in from an excellently taken corner. At first I thought he was also responsible for the goal at the other end, quarter of an hour later. When the cross came in from Millwall's right, O'Shea certainly rose with Millwall's Sadlier for the header and it looked a little like an own goal, but wasn't.
This was a game of might-have-beens. Stein's beautiful second half goal was disallowed for offside, to his - and everyone's - great surprise, and then Hayter's shot later on was only wide of the mark by a whisker. If we had been 3-1 up then, who knows how the game might have ended. But the players rapidly lost spirit. Huck came on for Carl Fletcher - and we played on with three at the back and Huck wide down the left. This resulted in Mean being somewhat redundant, so he was replaced by Tindall. Two minutes of injury time were given when we were already 2-1 down, and then a third Millwall goal went in. That was too much for me, and many other Bournemouth fans, and we left.
I've given 'man-of-the-match' to Jorgensen, who played for most of the match. There was not much difference between the players on the day, except that Carl Fletcher had an awful game. The only passes of his that were on target seemed to be the back passes, and he made too many of them.
My scores out of ten :
C Fletcher (5), O'Shea (7), Howe (8), Warren (6);
Hayter (7), Hughes (7), Robinson (7), Mean (7);
O'Neill (7), Stein (7)