Date: 30 August 2004
The Cherries kicked off in a 5-3-2 formation; the ageing Young being risked in a right wing-back position, O'Connor replacing the injured Browning in midfield and Connell replacing the injured Holmes up front. This was always going to be a tricky game facing the unbeaten league leaders on their soil, and unsurprisingly Luton dominated the first half. A busy Neil Moss kept us in the game again and again, whilst all the time Connell was being marked out of the game at the other end. Connell never really got into this game, sadly, and tired towards the end, whereas the other player making his first start of the season - O'Connor - looked very lively. Young, returning from a one match rest, rose to the challenge of having to run the right wing alone, and even got into a scoring position once in this half.
The second half wasn't very different in terms of dominance, but it did see one or two opportunities for the Cherries that might have been exploited on another day. The best was unquestionably a miscued Luton goal kick twelve minutes into the half that gifted Connell the ball in an unmarked position. Although one on one with the Luton keeper, he saw two defenders closing on him so he shot early - and wide to his left. The next best chance for the Cherries came a little later from a great Cummings break; he managed to guide the ball virtually the whole length of the pitch before excellent Luton defending forced him to run it out of play.
The goal that settled the match was a 25 yarder that looked feasible for Moss to save, but for the only time in the game he dived late. We could only presume he'd been unsighted by his own defenders.
There was little scope to change the team listed below, or the system, during the course of this match because the Bournemouth bench consisted of Stewart (keeper), Holmes (unfit) and three seventeen year olds! Nonetheless youth centre forward Ryan Moss replaced Connell for his first team debut well into injury time, and Holmes had been risked in place of Young (O'Connor moving to right wing back position) five minutes earlier.
The line-up (with my scores out of ten) was :
N Moss (9);
Young (8), Maher (6), Howe (8), Broadhurst (7), Cummings (8);
Stock (6), C Fletcher (7), O'Connor (8);
Hayter (7), Connell (6).