Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 2 Shrewsbury 1

Date: 21 April 2003

A crowd of 7,102 watched Bournemouth achieve the best result we could hope for - three points - but saw worrying signs including an injury to Steve Fletcher; while, unfortunately, Wrexham got three points too.

When Shrewsbury scored after five minutes, it looked as though this game could go horribly wrong. A poor back pass from Young was collected by a Shrewsbury player who broke free from his marker (Carl Fletcher) and scored. This was simply one in a run of poor and often unnecessary back passes from all the Bournemouth back four, who had a below par first half but improved later on.

McDonald had his first start for Bournemouth, and played very well, always getting into the right positions although often (sometimes disputably) being caught off side. He scored Bournemouth's first goal midway through the first half when he got a toe to the ball and powered it home. Later in the match, though, he visibly tired and needed to be substituted by Hayter.

Towards the end of the first half a Young cross came to the Shrewsbury keeper but somehow Elliott capitalised on an error and managed to walk the ball into the net.

Late in the second half Steve Fletcher looked to have dislocated his shoulder and be in great pain. Moss, who was near him and saw it, immediately fired the ball into touch so he could receive treatment, but subsequently the Shrewsbury players refused to return it as they were pressing hard for an equalising goal. (This game left them in bottom place in the league.)

Holmes came on for Steve Fletcher, who couldn't play on. The third substitution in this game was Stock for O'Connor - Stock playing in the middle of the park while Purches took over O'Connor's place on the left. The starting line-up had been (with my scores out of ten) :

Moss (8);
Young (7), C Fletcher (6), Gulliver (7), Cummings (7);
Elliott (8), Browning (6), Purches (7), O'Connor (6);
McDonald (9), S Fletcher (7).

My 'man of the match' : McDonald.

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