Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Brighton 3 Cherries 0

Date: 21 February 2004

I've never been so tempted to write "None" against the 'man of the match.' There's a cliche about taking positives out of every game, but in this case it's hard to think of any. We paid 21 to sit in the freezing cold, in an excuse for a stadium that isn't really intended for football (not that that's Brighton club's fault), and see our team let in 3 goals in the first 21 minutes! Brighton then shut up shop and we improved but not enough, and everyone had to freeze for another 70 minutes. On days like this it's the 'day out' (SouthWest Trains behaving for once), the pleasant pints in the pub, the friendly banter, that make the day worthwhile - but the less said about the football the better!

The trouble is, the aforementioned stadium renders it hard to put a finger on what went wrong. Sitting as we were almost at pitch level it was hard to see much. The the goals were all at the far end, as was new loan signing Gareth Williams for the part of the game he played, so one can't say much about the tactics, the goals or the new player!

The simple facts are: Hart did a brilliant solo run to get himself a goal on just seven minutes. Benjamin capitalised on a bad Buxton back-pass six minutes later. And it was also Buxton who was to blame for Brighton's third - bringing down Jones in the penalty area so Knight could score from the 'spot.'

I guess Moss is a candidate for 'man of the match' because he actually made a few good saves - especially from Knight - to prevent us going even further behind. Carl Fletcher's a possibility too, for a few good touches, but I'm reluctant to give it to a defender after this result. Purches gets the accolade because he played well in midfield, and adjusted well to full back nearer the end, a position he must surely claim from the start of the next match.

We have a few excuses I guess - a high wind, Steve Fletcher playing despite an injury, Hayter unavailable because his girl friend was having a baby - but, whatever, this match is best put behind us as quickly as possible!

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

Moss (6);
Buxton (4), C Fletcher (6), Maher (6), Cummings (6);
Elliott (5), Browning (5), Purches (7), Jorgensen (5);
S Fletcher (6), Feeney (6).

The finishing line-up was :

Purches, C Fletcher, Maher, Cummings;
Elliott, Browning, Jorgensen;
Holmes, Feeney, Williams.

My 'man of the match' : Purches.

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