Date: 7 September 2002
For the second game in a row, Sean was persuaded to play a 4-4-2 formation, and the team won. This can hardly be coincidence. It raises us to ninth place - two places below the target seventh place - and demonstrates just how tight the third division table is at this early point in the season.
Once again we conceded an early goal (seven minutes) from an Exeter free kick, and we wondered if this was to be a repeat of the Swansea game. But - although we played scrappily for the first twenty minutes or so, and for much of the second half, as did Exeter also - this time we were able to capitalise on most of the chances when they did come. Our defence was also particularly strong, all the back four having excellent games.
Late in the first half Thomas, who had been working particularly hard on the left flank and outwitting all his opponents, put in a good cross to Holmes, who unfortunately headed it the wrong way. But we regained possession of the ball, and only seconds later Holmes redeemed himself in a one-two with Connell, from which the latter powerfully scored.
The visiting supporters, crammed into totally inadequate terracing and scarcely able to see the game, were rewarded with a second goal at their end not long after. A handball was spotted in the area, the referee awarded a penalty, and Elliott put it away cleanly.
The third Bournemouth goal came in the second half after Thomas (my man of the match) had been substituted by O'Connor. A direct free kick was awarded just outside the penalty area, and we wondered who would take it in the absence of Stock (on Welsh duty). Up stepped substitute O'Connor who fired beautifully into the bottom corner of the net.
No Bournemouth player had a bad game. But as usual I'll give my scores out of ten as I list the starting line-up :
Broadhurst (8), Tindall (8), Maher (7), Purches (7);
Elliott (7), C Fletcher (6), Browning (7), Thomas (8);
Holmes (7), Connell (7).