Date: 29 October 2005
A seemingly record number of exiles turned up at the Magpie & Crown before the game (despite four absconding to the Beehive) and enjoyed a Thai lunch, but none were especially optimistic about the match. The main concern was that the team would begin with a lone striker (Hayter) and play for the draw. Which was how indeed we did start the match - for the opening seconds - until a nasty tackle on Gowling appeared to damage his knee and he was stretchered off.
The good news was that Gowling later turned out to be not as badly injured as it had appeared. The even better news was that Keene came on for Gowling, with 89 minutes still to run, and suddenly Bournemouth were playing with two up front (as most fans would prefer anyway) and the chance to score some goals.
The team reorganised with three 'centre backs' none of whom are really centre backs at all! Young organised his two younger colleagues, although increasingly Cooper knows what needs to be done anyway. When Bournemouth were defending right in front of the visitors' terrace in the second half, it was impressive to see Cooper ensuring every ball was defended.
Stewart had another great game between the sticks; Browning, Stock and Surman ran the game excellently from midfield; and Keene and Hayter got into scoring positions with satisfying frequency. Keene missed a 'sitter' in the second half; O'Connor, Foley, Stock, Surman and Hayter all had shots at goal in addition to the two on target. Despite a shaky start, Bournemouth just got better and better as the game progressed and looked particularly comfortable once they'd scored their first goal.
Keene opened the scoring with a wonderful shot, immediately in front of the visiting fans, on the 26th minute. After twisiting and turning round several defenders, he slotted the ball cleanly into the net. The timing of Bournemouth's second goal - just before half time - couldn't have been better. After the Brentford goalie fumbled a long shot from Stock, Hayter took advantage and scored from close range.
The only disappointment is that Bournemouth are no higher than 11th after their second away win in a fortnight, and Brentford remain in fourth place.
After the opening seconds, the line-up (with my scores out of ten) was :
Cooper (8), Young (9), Hart (7);
O'Connor (7), Browning (8), Stock (8), Surman (8), Foley (7);
Keene (8), Hayter (8).