Date: 22 March 2003
A disappointing and at times depressing draw, but the one point was sufficient to lift us from fourth (play-off) place to third (automatic promotion).
The two sides were fairly evenly matched in the first half. Bournemouth's best attempts were from close range, notably from Feeney and Hayter who each had one-on-one opportunities with the Torquay keeper, but the latter was good enough to save every shot. Torquay's best attempts were long range ones, on the break, but Moss coped with them admirably. 0-0 was a fair reflection of the first half.
Surprisingly in the second half Torquay came out all guns blazing, and the first thirty minutes were almost entirely played in Bournemouth's half. Inevitably a Torquay goal came eventually; and they could almost have scored another, one minute later. Bournemouth rallied somewhat towards the end, and improved when Thomas came on for Hayter (O'Connor switching to the centre). In fact it was Thomas who won us a free kick in the 93rd minute, which O'Connor took. The ball swung into a crowded penalty area and Neil Young put so much pressure on a Torquay defender that he caused him to score an own goal. It turned out to be the last kick of the match.
Torquay will have every right to feel disappointed at dropping two points so late in the game, and against the run of play.
Bournemouth are running short of central defenders. Maher, Broadhurst and Carl Fletcher were already unavailable before the game began, and Tindall got injured just before the break. Young played in an unfamiliar centre-back role alongside Buxton for much of the game, until we brought on Holmes for Purches and switched to 3-4-3, with Buxton-Young-Cummings across the back. The starting line-up had been (with my scores out of ten) :
Purches (7), Tindall (7), Buxton (7), Cummings (7);
Elliott (7), Browning (8), O'Connor (6);
S Fletcher (7), Feeney (7).