Date: 15 September 2001
My award of 'man of the match' to Stock, who only came on for the last ten minutes, is a reflection of the general standard of play, but is also a fitting reward for a spirited display by the young player.
On the day, Tindall, Howe, Carl Fletcher, Elliott, O'Connor and Feeney were all below their usual standard. Two dreadful crosses by Elliott (returned to his familiar wing-back position but not performing half as well as in a central position two weeks earlier) and an appallingly weak shot from O'Connor, all in the first half, are just a few examples of this phenomenon. Grant screamed instructions from the sidelines but this only seemed to confuse the players and didn't help matters. O'Driscoll's half-time team talk had no observable effect and if anything the second half performance was even worse. Bury will be disappointed with the end result because the first half was evenly matched (as was the half time score) but in the second half they dominated.
Stock set the team alight when he came on and took over the position earlier vacated by O'Connor. Within seconds he won a free kick, Bury dissented, the referee added ten yards, Stock himself took the kick and (a la Beckham) curled it beautifully into the back of the net. This fired him, and he continued to win every tackle, as well as putting in one beautiful cross to Eribenne - who fluffed the shot. In fact Chukki, coming off the bench part way through the second half, wasted two golden one-on-one opportunities in the last five minutes of the match, which could have made the scoreline very different.
This match was the senior debut for loan signing Derek Holmes. He played a great game, winning all but once in the air (and that in the second half when, not being match fit, he visibly tired) and will prove a great target-man I'm sure. But someone needs to play close enough to him to receive the ball after he's won it; on the day there was too much distance between him and Feeney. (The same could also be said of our three centre-backs.)
Bury opened the scoring very early, with Bournemouth replying through a close-range shot from Hayter. (His only good move of the game, yet he won the sponsors' man-on-the-match, announced before Stock came on!) We then went 2-1 up through a Feeney penalty before Bury equalised again on the stroke of half time.
The minute's silence for the victims of terrorism in the US (surprisingly announced as "approximately three times the number here today", when it was more like seven times) was impeccably observed. Bury players all wore narrow "designer" arm bands but the Bournemouth players (except, for some reason, Elliott and Eribenne) wore traditional wide armbands.
The starting line-up, with my scores out of ten :
Maher (7), Tindall (6), Howe (6);
Elliott (6), C Fletcher (6), Purches (7);
O'Connor (6), Hayter (6);
Feeney (6), Holmes (7).