Date: 22 January 2002
The omens for this match seemed good. The Cherries hadn't won since - well - last time I watched them! They'd had a good second half last Saturday. The unsettling presence of loan signee JJ Melligan - whose arrival had coincided with the downturn in form - wouldn't be a factor today because he was injured.
And - we had 777 fans backing the team. For me, it was the only London league ground I'd never been to; it was one of only two London league grounds I'd never seen Bournemouth play at. I'm sure I wasn't the only person who'd gone along to 'tick off' another ground!
We began very strongly, and dominated the first twenty minutes or so - which were almost entirely played in QPR's half. We had a tidy 4-4-2 line-up, everyone apparently clear of their role. There was some irony in the fact that having Holmes back in the side, a potential target man, we seemed to have suddenly learned to pass along the ground. Almost every Bournemouth pass found its target, which was to be a feature of the whole game.
No Bournemouth player had a bad game. Feeney had a particularly great game so it was good that he should have scored the Bournemouth goal five minutes into the second half. A cross from Hayter on the Bournemouth left found Feeney in an inside right position, and he headed home beautifully into the far corner of the net.
But just before half time, unfortunately, QPR had scored a similar goal against the run of play. Several Bournemouth players jumped for the ball, it almost looked like an own-goal (it wasn't), and QPR carried a 1-0 lead into half time.
This had been virtually QPR's only shot. Bournemouth however had a number of good scoring opportunities, particularly through Howe, Holmes and Feeney.
The game will also be remembered for one or two tragedies. Hughes was sent off - fortunately very late in the game - for a questionable second yellow card. Hayter appeared very badly injured at one point, apparently with a broken leg (it subsequently turned out not to be). Full marks to the QPR goalie for summoning the physio, and two physios for entering the pitch without permission. But no thanks to the referee who refused to stop the play - for what seemed like minutes - despite very loud protests from the away end. Elliott was brought on for Hayter but forced onto his weakest foot as he continued to play wide left where Hayter had been.
As usual I've listed the starting line-up, with my scores out of ten, but it should be noted that Stock and Carl Fletcher more or less swapped places after a while, also that Feeney moved to right midfield (opposite Hayter) later on, leaving Holmes on his own up front :
Broadhurst (6), Tindall (7), Howe (7), Purches (7);
C Fletcher (7), Hughes (8), Hayter (8);
Holmes (7), Feeney (9).