Date: 25 March 2003
Bournemouth played better than they had on Saturday, and got more possession, but in the end didn't even manage a point at the Abbey Stadium. Remarkably, however, once again other results went our way and we hung onto the third automatic promotion place, but now forced to look over our shoulders at Oxford and - notably - Wrexham who have games in hand.
A strong Cambridge start to the game was rewarded within about ten minutes when Kitson sliced in a shot from an acute angle, from the Cambridge left flank, right in front of the visiting supporters. Moss appeared to stand still, expecting a pass not a shot. But it was early days, and as Bournemouth's game improved there was reason to hope that our players could turn things round.
Cummings had a strong game on the Bournemouth left, getting forward a lot and putting in excellent crosses - too many of which were wasted. But just before half-time our fortunes turned. Another great Cummings cross was rewarded when Steve Fletcher rose and scored from close range. Half time: 1-1.
Towards the end of the second half Cambridge tragically scored a second goal. A cross from Gutteridge was blocked but not cleared. After a scramble the same man came forward to shoot past Purches on the goal line.
We continued to push forward to the end, switching to 3-4-3 when Holmes came on for Purches, but a second Bournemouth goal (and much-needed point) was not forthcoming and the referee appeared to whistle for time two minutes early.
O'Connor had a lively game; Hayter tested the Cambridge defence well, Moss made a number of great saves including one at the death. Stock, however, even before his injury mid-second half, had a quiet game; although his corner kicks were more accurate than most. And Purches - right wing back at the start but asked to perform a more central role after Elliott had come on for Stock - was not at his best either. The starting line-up had been (with my scores out of ten) :
Young (7), C Fletcher (7), Buxton (7);
Purches (6), Stock (6), O'Connor (7), Cummings (8);
Hayter (7), S Fletcher (7).