Date: 18 October 2003
No-one expected this kind of game, nor this result. After a miserable performance midweek, Bournemouth rallied to totally dominate table-topping Brighton for the entire ninety minutes of this match. The disappointment at lost opportunities to score more, shouldn't detract from the fact that we ran Brighton off the park, beat them hands down on possession stats, and rose to fifth place in the table as a result (even though we've only scored half as many goals as Plymouth in second place).
Our wide players - Young & Elliott, Purches & O'Connor, performed brilliantly, putting in some wonderful crosses. Young was so fast for someone - dare we say it - his age. And O'Connor and Elliott both had a part in the only goal on 15 minutes. O'Connor raced down the left flank, in a perfect pass found Elliott on the right flank, he crossed to Hayter who fluffed the shot, but it rolled on for Feeney who scored easily.
It was worrying when, quarter of an hour later, Feeney was injured with a smack in the face from the ball. Assembled stretcher men and the club doctor spent so long attending to him, and carried him off so cautiously, that it looked worse than it was. It took over five minutes, and contributed to the seven minute extension to the first half - the longest I ever remember, but unquestionably accurate.
Connell, the fans' favourite who replaced Feeney with over 60 minutes playing time remaining, might have been expected to put everything into this match to prove he was in form. Far from it; he seemed more concerned to avoid injury and for long periods of time didn't get involved at all. Sean's decision to make so little use of him this season to date, proved justified.
Connell and Purches both attempted long shots at goal that weren't accurate enough - but probably worth the effort. More worryingly, Connell, Steve Fletcher, Hayter and Browning all missed short range 'sitters' at one point or other in the match. All these should have been goals, and the team needs to practise heading from close range.
The match was entertaining and invigorating. But in the event of any anyone getting bored by the game, we always had the singing of the crowds to amuse us. Inevitable chants of "seaweed" of course. But, my favourite, was the time when Brighton fans sang, "Shall we sing a song for you?" the North Stand responded - to a man - with "Shall we build a ground for you?"
The starting line-up was (with my scores out of ten) :
Young (8), C Fletcher (8), Broadhurst (7), Purches (8);
Elliott (8), Browning (8), Hayter (6), O'Connor (9);
S Fletcher (7), Feeney (8).