Date: 5 March 2005
I watched this match with a 'fan' who hadn't attended any match since May 1987 when we were promoted to the 'old' Division 2. She'd watched every home match in what must have been the Cherries' most successful season ever, and hadn't watched a Bournemouth match since. This was clearly a good omen; hardly had we become aware that the match had kicked off, and Bournemouth were 1-0 up. Hayter had fed Elliot, who changed directions several times and beat a defender before putting in what looked like a cross, but went into the net. A brilliant start. Although Swindon could have equalised within a minute, when one of their players headed the ball over the bar when he should have simply kicked it into the net, from then on the home side appeared completely deflated. Whatever their game plan had been, it was already ruined!
Before the match even began there had been indications that Cherries were going for the full three points in this 'six-pointer' with the team one place below us in the table. O'Driscoll had brought back Hayter for Browning and resorted to a more aggressive 4-4-2. But even O'Driscoll couldn't have anticipated that Swindon would play such a low-key game, conceding two more goals.
The second Bournemouth goal was scored by a Hayter lob, after Stock exploited a huge gap in Swindon's defence. The third came from a Mills header, after G O'Connor played a 'short' corner kick to Stock. This scoreline, 0-3 with fifteen minutes to run, resulted in a mass exodus of Swindon fans.
But even such a great result for Bournemouth was marred by one incident that occurred between the second and third goals. A brilliant run by Cummings down the left wing was intercepted by Steve Jenkins, Swindon's number 6. His tackle was, I think, a lot harsher than he intended, but Cummings had to be stretchered off and we later learned that his leg was broken in not one but two places - including a break to the tibia - which will sideline him for the rest of the season. Jenkins was booed for the rest of the match, somewhat unfairly, but this is certainly frustrating when defenders Young, Broadhurst, Howe, Purches and Tindall are already injured. For the rest of this game we made do with three defenders, turning Elliott and G O'Connor into wing backs, sitting Stock in front of the back three and bringing on Browning to play alongside Spicer in central midfield. This worked very well, enabled us to score a third goal, and will almost certainly be our starting line-up at home to Blackpool on Tuesday. Very late in the game, Connell and Rodrigues were brought on for Hayter and Fletcher, but they hardly got a touch.
The starting line-up (with my scores out of ten) was :
N Moss (7);
J O'Connor (7), Mills (8), Maher (7), Cummings (8);
Elliott (8), Stock (8), Spicer (8), G O'Connor (8);
Hayter (7), Fletcher (7).