Date: 22 September 2001
On an unseasonably warm afternoon in the sunshine, in an unusual setting (the Withdean Stadium looks nothing like a purpose-built soccer stadium) Bournemouth's hopes of spoiling Brighton's centenary party came to nothing. This was something of a pity, because the team played better (except for the first twenty minutes or so) than a week earlier when they'd won at 'home' to Bury.
It was in this opening period of Brighton domination that the home team scored an early goal. The result was that we were chasing the game from then on. The shaky start was undoubtedly in part caused by the change of system to 4-4-2, for the first time this season, with Tindall playing an unfamiliar right full back role and Hayter at left midfield. No doubt the radical change was partly brought about by the 6-0 defeat at Peterborough midweek. The same players, however, were chosen to start except that the unfit Hughes was replaced by Ford.
It was a well-taken Ford free kick that led to Howe's goal a quarter of an hour from the end. Howe in fact had an excellent game at both ends of the field and I was on the verge of awarding him nine points out of ten when a silly mix-up between him and Stewart led to a freaky own-goal. Having said that, Stewart made some wonderful saves too.
Towards the end Chukki came on for Purches and the team switched to 3-5-2 (Chukki the leftmost of the five); just before that, in a one-for-one swap, O'Connor had replaced Ford. Neither substitution made a significant difference. There were periods when we worked very hard and had numerous scoring opportunities but this wasn't to be our day and we remain, at the end of it, in the relegation zone of Division 2.
The starting line-up, with my scores out of ten :
Tindall (7), Maher (7), Howe (8), Purches (7);
Elliott (7), Ford (7), C Fletcher (7), Hayter (6);
Holmes (7), Feeney (7).