Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Swindon 2 Cherries 1

Date: 3 January 2004

A threadbare Bournemouth squad went to Swindon with no fewer than three youths - who have never played in a first team game - on the bench: 15 James Coutts, 20 Fawzi Saadi and 21 Kevin Scriven. This meant there were only two realistic substitutions available: wide midfield players Elliott and Thomas graced the bench while Sean employed a tight central midfield 'diamond' with Hayter to the right, O'Connor to the left, Browning deep and Connell in the 'hole'. Connell's first start of the season was greeted with such a big cheer by the away supporters that the PA announcer paused in his reading of the line-up and muttered "He's popular..."

The system worked to a certain extent, but Purches and Cummings were frustrated by the fact that there was no wide midfielder in front of them to pass to. Purches in particular put in one or two awful crosses because he was forced to cross early.

Connell had a pretty good game - though he's not fit enough for 90 minutes yet. Through some excellent work he won us a corner in the first half, which we completely messed up. Hayter played short to O'Connor; O'Connor quickly returned the ball to Hayter, who was clearly not expecting it and allowed the ball to go straight into touch for a goal kick. What a waste!

Hayter scored our first goal in nearly two months, at just seven minutes past three. It was a good goal, from an inside right position, the 'assist' coming from Browning. But it was too early. I'd been listening to two commentaries in the car going to Swindon in which the 'underdogs' had scored the first goal but failed to win the game; and that was beginning to look like an omen. I had predicted 2-1 to Swindon the previous night, and after Hayter's goal it seemed even more likely, but I derive no satisfaction from being right! I suppose I can say with everyone else, "At least we scored..." Hayter got one more shot into the side netting in the first half; and O'Connor had two long shots that were well worth the try; but we weren't to score again.

We dominated the first half but Swindon dominated the second and deserved to win in the end. Swindon's brace of goals were both scored by the in-form and hugely popular Thomas Mooney, who now plays in a forward position. The second was unfortunate because Moss saved the shot but Mooney scored off the rebound.

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

Moss (7);
Purches (6), Maher (7), Buxton (7), Cummings (7);
Hayter (7), Browning (8), O'Connor (7);
Connell (7);
Feeney (6), S Fletcher (6).

The rather different finishing line-up was :

Maher, Buxton, Cummings;
Elliott, O'Connor, Browning, Thomas;
Feeney, S Fletcher.

My 'man of the match' : Browning.

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