Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1

Date: 20 September 2003

Despite being dominated for the first half and part of the second, Bournemouth managed to achieve a third win in eight days and move to seventh place in Division 2 - two points behind 2nd place and only four points behind 1st. What a difference a week makes.

As with the previous Saturday, this was achieved by overturning a 0-1 first half deficit in the second half. And Bournemouth's two goals were even closer together than at Blackpool - just two minutes apart.

But first, the match started disastrously. Rushden attacked from the start, got a shot in (which Moss tipped over the bar) within a minute, and from the resulting corner scored a goal off Lowe's head when Bournemouth's defenders got in each other's way. This was the cue for Rushden to behave like the 'home' team for the rest of the half, getting about six good shots on goal by half time and testing Moss to the limits. Elliott performed well in this half getting forward, and put in a superb cross on 20 minutes which Steve Fletcher (who may have been held back) failed to connect with.

The second half began like a continuation of the first. But in only five minutes, Feeney was brought on. Much earlier than usual (!), and perhaps this was because O'Connor (whom he replaced) had sustained a slight knock earlier on. Feeney immediately looked lively, but the biggest impact came when Holmes came on quarter of an hour later, and we switched to three up front, the two big men (Supa and Derek) flanking Feeney on the right and left respectively. In the end it was a Maher pass to Feeney that resulted in our first goal. The ball went in via the bar - but no-one was worried about it being messy so long as it counted! And within two minutes an Elliott corner found Browning, who passed to Feeney as he was running into the box. He connected with the ball and put a powerful shot into the net.

Rushden really wanted a point. It may have been 'only' a league game, and early in the season, but their goalie came forward for a corner kick near the end - and stayed up! Obviously the view was that 3-1 was a risk worth taking, but an equaliser would be worth a whole point. One got a glimpse of the spirit that earned Rushden their original promotion to the League and their championship of Division 3 in the closing weeks of last season.

The starting line-up was (with my scores out of ten) :

Moss (9);
Broadhurst (7), C Fletcher (8), Maher (8), Cummings (8);
Elliott (9), O'Connor (8), Browning (8), Purches (8);
Hayter (7), S Fletcher (7).

The rather different finishing line-up was :

Maher, C Fletcher, Broadhurst;
Purches, Tindall, Browning, Cummings;
Holmes, Feeney, S Fletcher.

My 'man of the match' : Moss.

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