Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 3 Stoke 1

Date: 2 February 2002

The Cherries' previous home win was their opener in the Fitness First Stadium the previous November, in my presence. As this was my second visit to the stadium, I expected nothing less than more of the same - and that's what I got.

Stoke's promotion-chasing team didn't look at all good against the Cherries. In fact, they looked like a team of dwarfs as we systematically took them apart.

Man-of-the-match Feeney (whom I chose for the second match in a row) had a part in all three goals. But the best was the one he scored himself, at our end in the second half. Streaking ahead of the pack, and ignoring any suggestions he pass the ball, Feeney beat two defenders before shooting past the keeper into the corner of the net.

The first goal was one in which Feeney found himself too far to the right of the goal to shoot, so crossed to his flatmate Holmes in a more central position. Holmes' shot was blocked, but not saved, by the Stoke keeper. Purches picked up the rebound and scored from an inside-left position, his first ever goal in a senior match.

Hughes scored the second, but again it was from a Feeney pass.

We had other chances too, both Hughes and Tindall seeing free kicks go into the wrong side of the netting.

When a Stoke forward later in the second half was caught between Howe and a diving Stewart in the penalty area, Stoke were awarded a penalty from which they got one back. This triggered a period of intense pressure from Stoke who had recovered their self-belief. Many of the Stoke fans missed this - and indeed their penalty - because they'd walked out to their coaches at 3-0, to the strains of "Can we play you every week?" from Bournemouth fans! But the Cherries held on, and by wasting a little time on three substitutions managed to ride the storm until the final whistle.

As usual I've listed the starting line-up, with my scores out of ten :

Stewart (8);
Tindall (7), Howe (7), Maher (8);
C Fletcher (7);
O'Connor (8), Hughes (8), Hayter (8), Purches (8);
Holmes (8), Feeney (9).

My 'man of the match' : Feeney.

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