Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 1 Oldham 0

Date: 28 February 2004

How do you follow a match like the previous Tuesday; not only a 6-0 win but a world record-breaking hat-trick? How in particular would Hayter follow it? Sometimes such a match can be a disastrous anticlimax. Well this one certainly wasn't that; it was a hard-fought 1-0 win that elevated us to eight place in the table. And the man of the hour, Hayter? Well he scored the goal of course. Despite playing right-back at the time! The joke going round was that if you played Hayter in goal (and he's played in virtually every other position for the club now) he'd still contrive to score! For the record, this was Hayter's tenth of the season, bringing him on a par with Feeney.

It was Elliott who made way for Hayter, this the only change from the starting line-up of the previous two matches. (Elliott finally came on late in the second half, taking over the right wing-back position so that Hayter could partner Big Fletch up front.) The system was the same as at Swindon - with intentionally no width in the midfield, just a tight central diamond. Apparently this was done because of some research carried out into Oldham's likely tactics (presumably revealing that they were likely to use Route One, so we needed to block it) but it wasn't very successful and Oldham didn't employ those tactics anyway. The lack of width meant that our four midfielders got into each other's way, whilst our two full backs - especially Buxton - were frustrated by having no-one to pass the ball forward to.

From the start of the second half Sean changed things round totally. He moved to a 3-5-2 system which wing-backs Hayter and man-of-the-match Cummings particularly capitalised on. Feeney and Steve Fletch benefited; and even Jorgensen and Maher's play improved accordingly. Oldham were forced to defend deeper. The goal came predictably from a Cummings run and cross, which was nodded into the net by Hayter's head.

Other players with shots on goal were Jorgensen, Purches and Feeney; and two shots (a flicked header and a long-range volley) from Steve Fletcher. Meanwhile at the other end Moss once again made some excellent saves. He did totally miss one shot in the second half, but got away with it because the Oldham sub missed it too!

The referee had a good game and allowed the play to flow; the first yellow card of the game didn't come until well into the second half. It was Carl Fletcher who got booked for tackling an opponent and, although it's traditional to complain about such decisions when they go against our own players, this time I can confidently say he went for the ball and was unfairly carded - because the incident occurred right in front of the Exiles' seats!

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

Moss (8);
Buxton (7), C Fletcher (7), Maher (6), Cummings (9);
Purches (7), Browning (7), Jorgensen (6);
Hayter (8);
Feeney (7), S Fletcher (8).

The second half line-up was :

Maher, C Fletcher, Buxton;
Hayter, Purches, Browning, Cummings;
S Fletcher, Feeney.

My 'man of the match' : Cummings.

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