Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 1 Stoke 0

Date: 17 April 2001

This was a tense game in which neither side wanted to lose and Stoke, in particular, seemed content with a draw. Or perhaps it was the (meticulously observed) one minute silence for Alec Stock, at the start of the game, that dampened both sides' enthusiasm in comparison with recent matches. Either way, we waited a long time for the match to warm up, and it didn't really do so until Defoe's goal five minutes before half time.

The Stoke goalie was drawn too far off his line, and Defoe side-stepped him and got behind him. It was a sharp angle, and required a left-footed shot. Few players could have scored from there, but fans who knew Defoe's abilities never doubted he would! He then had two more goal attempts before half-time, which suggested the second half might be brighter than the first.

Well it was - for a short time - but then the ever-solid Stoke side brought on another striker - and Steve Fletcher was forced into central defence to mark him, leaving Defoe up front alone. This situation couldn't last and Purches was brought on. Cherries' fans screamed for the off-form Jorgensen to come off but instead it was - as so often - Hayter who had to make way. A shame, really, because until the goal he'd appeared the most likely Bournemouth player to score.

The final whistle marked the end of a very nervy game - but one with few scoring opportunities for either side. (There was only one corner kick in the entire game, and that was for Stoke in injury time.) For once, the players showed their relief by celebrating more wildly than the fans. Three valuable, and hard earned, points.

The starting line-up, with my scores out of ten :

Stewart (7);
Broadhurst (6), Tindall (7), Howe (8);
Elliott (7), C Fletcher (7), Hughes (7), Jorgensen (5);
Hayter (8);
Defoe (8), S Fletcher (8).

My 'man of the match' : Hayter.

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