Date: 12 April 2004
How many more times will I find myself writing that we only showed real determination to win towards the end when we were chasing the game? It's hard to know whom to blame - the fans perhaps? Though over 7000 we were outsung by the motley crew from Chesterfield most of the time. Either way, we played with no obvious enthusiasm for most of the first half - with the possible exception of Cummings, who astounded us with a marvellous break just after the first Chesterfield goal, ran the length of the pitch, and put in a perfect cross to Jorgensen who shot just wide. Pity, really, because Jorgensen has had so many goal efforts since coming back but has yet to score.
The first Chesterfield goal resulted from a poor Bournemouth clearance that enabled Niven to drive the ball goalwards from midfield. The second came from a free kick awarded against Buxton. So Chesterfield went into the break deservedly 2-0 up. But, as always, both goals had been scored in front of the North Stand (Fleet Stand?) so we knew we needn't give up yet!
In what has become almost standard practice, O'Driscoll changed the team around in the second half, in fact more times than usual. The first change - Tindall for Steve Fletcher - resulted from injury, but more changes were to follow. Purches dropped from midfield to full back, then was taken off completely. Elliott came on to give us width - and speed - on the right flank. O'Connor replaced Buxton. We were now playing with a back three - Broadhurst, Tindall, Maher - almost identical to the back three of three years ago - Broadhurst, Tindall, Howe. Now, as in 2001, Tindall organised the defence excellently. It was the first time in this game that the defence had been organised at all! It looked as though we might at last have a secure back line from which to build. But then disaster struck: Maher had to limp off injured after all three Bournemouth substitutions had been used up. At first a back two of Broadhurst and Tindall struggled, then Cummings dropped back to help out. Amazingly though, this proved to be the turning point in the game in an unexpected way. Every Boscombe player started to give 150%. Hayter scored with a header. Holmes shot from the back post into an empty net. Even after drawing level at 2-2, Bournemouth kept pushing for the winner and Hayter, Jorgensen, Cummings, Browning all had close efforts. Having said that, so did Chesterfield - who hit the bar in the final minute!
Sadly, one of the less pleasant factors for which this game will be remembered was the disgraceful time-wasting tactics of Chesterfield when ahead. They dallied over every throw-in. They faked injuries - apparently requiring on-pitch treatment - every single time Bournemouth looked on top. On each occasion, having received treatment, the player in question would limp to the edge of the pitch with the trainer, make an immediate recovery, and ask to come straight back into play. Goalscorer Derek Niven was the worst offender - employing the same ruse twice!
It's impossible to list every system used, but the first half line-up was something like this (with my scores out of ten) :
Buxton (6), Broadhurst (6), Maher (6), Cummings (8);
Hayter (7), Browning (7), Purches (6), Jorgensen (7);
Holmes (6), S Fletcher (7).