Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Wycombe 2 Cherries 0

Date: 20 December 2003

Another dire performance from the Cherries, resulting in many of our fans leaving the match (up to fifteen minutes) early; virtually no-one applauding the team at the end; a lengthy journey home; and then amazement at discovering we're still ninth in the table rather than a deserved fifteenth or lower. This match lifted Wycombe off the bottom, and may prove to be the first match in their "great escape" sequence. If so, it would be ironic; because the first match in our Great Escape was at Wycombe on New Year's Eve 1994.

Bournemouth trundled along - Steve Fletcher looking even more bumbling than ever - through the first half and seemed fortunate to be on the verge of going into the break at 0-0. When we had just been informed that only the minimum (one minute) was to be added to this half, Broadhurst unintentionally brought down a Wycombe player just outside the area. Home fans screamed for a red card and rightly only a yellow was given. Home fans booed but, from the resulting free kick, Ryan scored. The free kick from Wycombe's right appeared to have gone wide beyond the far post, but it was returned by Taylor into a crowded goalmouth from which what at first looked like an own goal was scored. The scorer turned out to be Ryan, and immediately upon the re-start the referee blew his whistle for half time.

With Bournemouth playing towards their own fans after the break, a typical Fitness First Stadium scenario was anticipated, with all our goals coming in the second half. We certainly began lively, and managed to win several corners and get not a few shots on goal. But disaster struck at the other end on the 75th minute when on-loan Aston Villa and England under-19 striker Luke Moore (whose name we're bound to hear again) headed Wycombe's second following a corner kick.

As Bournemouth fans flooded away, and with Hayter already on for an injured Feeney, Sean made a double substitution leaving only defenders Buxton and Maher on the bench. (Reserve goalie Scriven, though much in evidence in the pre-match warm-up, hadn't even made it onto the bench.) A cheer greeted Connell's arrival and he immediately started to hassle the Wycombe keeper (until warned off by the referee for doing so). But despite Connell's antics and efforts for the remaining stages of the match, and despite a crafty 3-4-3 system, nothing really changed and the inevitable defeat drew nearer.

By the end, both sides' fans were whistling for the match to end. Their reasons may have been somewhat different but - in the bitterly cold weather conditions - probably not totally so.

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

Moss (7);
Purches (8), C Fletcher (7), Broadhurst (6), Cummings (7);
Elliott (7), Stock (8), Browning (7), O'Connor (6);
Feeney (7), S Fletcher (5).

The rather different finishing line-up was :

C Fletcher, Broadhurst, Cummings;
Purches, O'Connor, Browning, Thomas;
Hayter, S Fletcher, Connell.

My 'man of the match' : Stock.

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