Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 1 Bristol City 3

Date: 23 March 2002

The Cherries for once began the game in a sprightly manner, dominating the first quarter of an hour. But when we failed to get an early goal it looked as though it might be another one of those games where luck wasn't on our side.

A number of Bournemouth players had shots on goal in this match - including Elliott, Tindall, Cooke, Hayter and Feeney - but only one found the target: McAnespie on the ninetieth minute scored his first goal for the club. By then, we were 2-0 down and home supporters were leaving in droves.

Bristol City opened the scoring in the first half when one of their players was brought down by Tindall in the penalty area. We briefly wondered if Steve Robinson, now playing for Bristol City, would take it; but the task fell to Micky Bell. Despite this being at the North End, and therefore a full stand behind the goal trying desperately to put him off, Bell struck home cleanly enough.

Robinson himself had a shot shortly afterwards. Although the ball was blocked it wasn't made safe, and Lee Peacock grabbed the opportunity to put City 2-0 ahead before half time.

Any expectation that Bournemouth would step up a gear after the break was unfounded. Quite the opposite; the Cherries had a dire second half. We should have got a penalty: Hayter was fouled in the area, but the officials decided it was just outside. From our position in the East Stand it was obvious the officials were wrong, so we were cheated. One fan ran onto the pitch to remonstrate. Although he ran off again voluntarily, he was still escorted out of the ground by a large contingent of police, trying to justify their presence for the only time in the entire match. (Chants of "what a waste of money" as cops followed the man off, and again as they returned!)

During the second half, Tindall dropped into a centre back position; Purches and McAnespie became wing-backs; and Stock came on for Thomas. This looked better, but was somewhat a case of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. Very late on, Kandol came on as a third forward, taking the place of Purches, and Elliott switched to right wing-back. But the game was lost by then.

Following McAnespie's goal came the most bizarre moment in the match: On the restart, City substitute Tony Thorpe ran to the other end of the pitch unchallenged, (the Cherries players still seemed to be celebrating the goal,) and slotted away the easiest goal he'll ever score. Bournemouth players subsequently claimed they had been trying to play the offside trap.

As usual I'll list the starting line-up with my scores out of ten :

Stewart (5);
Purches (6), Maher (6), Howe (6), McAnespie (7);
Tindall (7);
Elliott (8), Cooke (7), Thomas (8);
Hayter (7), Feeney (7).

My 'man of the match' : Elliott.

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