Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Orient 1 Cherries 3

Date: 24 August 2004

On paper I guess this victory for the Cherries may have been regarded as a foregone conclusion, because of our higher status in the league, but in practice those who attended the match will have realised it was no such thing. Firstly we had Derek Holmes up front - on his own for the first 45 minutes - which must be considered a liability. Then we had Howe unavailable lest he become cup-tied, and replaced by Maher who - it must be said - posed no threat to Howe's immediate return into next Saturday's line-up. And as if all that wasn't enough, we faced a very confident Orient team who totally dominated the first half hour of play with many more scoring chances than the single one that was converted.

Orient's early goal on 12 minutes seemed to confirm our worst fears. But this was a game we had to win - for financial reasons as well as reasons of morale - and everything changed on the 34 minute mark when a wonderful charge up the left wing by Cummings resulted in a great cross and a beautiful, powerful shot by Browning into the top left corner of the net. Thereafter it was a very different story.

The second half was always destined to be Bournemouth's best, because the team would be playing towards their own 300-odd supporters. And sure enough, apart from brief periods, we dominated this half. Man-of-the-match Cummings got his own name on the scoresheet when, following a move he'd started, a defensive error by an Orient defender enabled Cummings to get the ball back, to round the keeper and to walk the ball into the net. But - and this was encouraging - Bournemouth kept on attacking and never 'sat' on their lead. So, late in the game, a Bournemouth corner-kick was graciously offered to Stock by Hayter, who positioned himself on the back post. When Stock's ball came to a defender on the near post, he only succeeded in clearing it as far as an unmarked Hayter on the right, who gently and nonchalantly tapped it across the goal mouth into the left-hand corner - surprising the keeper and earning himself the status, for the time being, of League One's highest goal scorer in all competitions (five goals in five matches).

Connell and O'Connor made brief cameo substitute appearances towards the end (in lieu of Holmes and Stock respectively) but I'm not sure whether Connell got a single touch.

This was the first competitive game I'd watched this season. Although in all 360 minutes of pre-season friendlies I'd watched, we'd stuck rigidly to a flat 4-4-2 system, this match began 4-5-1 (or 4-3-2-1 depending how you describe Elliott and Hayter's wing-forward roles) and ended 3-5-2.

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

Moss (8);
Young (8), Broadhurst (7), Maher (6), Cummings (9);
Elliott(9), C Fletcher (7), Browning (7), Stock (8), Hayter (9);
Holmes (5).

The second half team line-up was :

Young, Broadhurst, Maher;
Elliott, C Fletcher, Browning, Stock, Cummings;
Hayter, Holmes.

My 'man of the match' : Cummings.

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