Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cambridge 2 Cherries 2

Date: 1 September 2001

By the end of the evening, when we'd watched - in a crowded West End pub with a large contingent of AFCB and other supporters -England thrash Germany 5-1, this afternoon game was a fading memory. And that's probably as well, because it was another one of those games in which we dominated, against absolutely dreadful opposition, but lacked the finish to come away with three points.

Our strike-force of Chukki supported by Hayter on his left and O'Connor on his right, had numerous scoring opportunities and several shots - one in the first few minutes - but didn't manage to put any of them away. In the end we relied on two goals from central midfielder Elliott (currently standing in for Hughes), both equalisers and one off each foot, to rescue the game for us.

Chukki appeared 'laid back' to me from the moment he emerged from the tunnel, and although he livened up a few times he never showed good finishing power, he couldn't turn on the ball to save his life, and by early in the second half he looked tired out. More worryingly, the other players (particularly his two supporting partners) seemed to lose confidence in him and stopped passing the ball to him eventually. In the end he was substituted, even though there were no forwards on the bench. The Bournemouth fans got behind Chukki enough for a lot of the match, but inevitably started to change their tune as time wore on. It's increasingly looking as though he won't make the grade.

One of the other players whose contract ends this season - Huck - only came on for a short time, off the bench. Unlike the preseason friendlies I'd seen, he was played on his preferred left side, but he didn't look promising either. Twice he won the ball some distance out and went for 'glory' - a power shot directed at the goal - but, unsurprisingly, it didn't come off.

Towards the end, the team was changed round dramatically, with Tindall and Hayter as strike partners, Stock just behind them, Ford partnering Carl Fletcher in central midfield, Howe in the centre of the back three, and Elliott and Broadhurst back in their more familiar positions from last season. This looked stronger, but that could be because by now the players were desperate for the third goal, and our first win of the season; anyway, it wasn't to be.

It was a little worrying to see a misunderstanding between Howe and Stewart at one point, but maybe it was just one of those days.

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

Stewart (7);
Maher (6), Tindall (7), Howe (7);
Broadhurst (7), C Fletcher (7), Elliott (9), Purches (6);
O'Connor (6), Eribenne (5), Hayter (8).

My 'man of the match' : Elliott.

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