Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 0 Hull 4

Date: 19 March 2005

Sean O'Driscoll started making his excuses for this match before we'd even kicked off: saying that Hull were a great side, Peter Taylor could take them all the way to the Premiership, etc., etc. Then as the match began, we discovered that tactically Sean had lined up the team defensively and we were apparently playing for one point only. The only change of personnel from the previous match was that Young (not fully fit but managing 90 minutes) had replaced James O'Connor who had 'flu. But Steve Fletcher was placed at the arrowhead of a 4-2-3-1 system. Fletch had a poor game anyway - and certainly showed no leadership skills to justify the captaincy - but it was asking too much of him that he play up front on his own with two or three Hull defenders onto him most of the time, including their huge centre backs. We didn't use two strikers until very late in the match when Rodrigues and Connell came on as substitutes. Meanwhile, Hayter lined up between Elliott and Garreth O'Connor, with just too much ground to try and make up whenever the ball went into the area.

So our best home crowd of the season (8895) saw our team, apart from the first twenty minutes or so, totally run off the pitch and dominated by the opposition. The four Hull goals resulted in increasing demoralisation for the Cherries players, who had no idea how to respond within the system chosen for them. It's unlikely that the large number of scouts present, including Peter Grant from West Ham, would have seen a single Bournemouth player worth bidding for today.

There were moments of inspiration: a few well-placed passes by Maher; and some excellent-looking crosses into the box from Elliott and Garreth O'Connor but with never a Bournemouth player in the right place to meet them.

I won't detail Hull's two first half and two second half goals. The lasting talking points will be the incident in front of the North stand when one or more objects were, quite unjustifiably, thrown at the Hull goalie, who did not deserve to be targeted simply for celebrating his own team's goals; and the sending-off of Maher (early in the second half whilst we were 0-2 down) for kicking out at Hull's Craig Fagan. Only the linesman saw it, but both Maher and O'Driscoll admitted afterwards that the sending-off was fair, so for three matches in a row towards the end of the season we could have no fully fit defenders apart from loanees on our books, which doesn't bode well for our play-off aspirations with Hartlepool winning today and Brentford only one place behind us.

The starting line-up (with my scores out of ten) was (4-2-3-1) :

N Moss (6);
Young (6), Mills (7), Maher (6), Green (5);
Spicer (6), Browning (7);
Elliott (6), Hayter (6), G O'Connor (7);
Fletcher (5).

After the sending off we switched to (4-4-1) :

N Moss;
Young, Browning, Mills, Green;
Elliott, Spicer, G O'Connor, Hayter;

And in the closing minutes of the game after a triple substitution it became (3-4-2) :

N Moss;
Mills, Browning, Young;
Elliott, Stock, G O'Connor, Hayter;
Rodrigues, Connell.

My 'man of the match' : G O'Connor.

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