Date: 20 January 2007
This was a dull match, for which neither team raised their game. But Huddersfield were the ‘least worst’ side and so deserved the victory - especially given the excellent vocal support from their travelling fans. If wasn’t a ‘hoofing’ game, the ball was kept on the floor most of the time by both teams, but still it wasn’t pretty. There was little evidence of any kind of training, or a pre-planned approach for going forward, from either side. A neutral supporter would have found very little to get excited about, apart from the first goal from each team.
Only about ten minutes of the game had passed when Bournemouth won a succession of corners. Each time we kept three players back, until for one corner Young advised Bertrand to go forward and join the attack. As he started to do so, the corner was taken and the ball reached Worthington who broke suddenly and started to race up the pitch. He met Bertrand coming the other way. Bertrand was too shocked to stop the advancing player, and our remaining two defenders tried to get back and cover, but were no match for him either. Nonetheless it still took skill on Worthington’s part to find the perfect spot to land the ball in the net between our defenders and Moss. It is unlikely, if the roles had been reversed, that any of our strikers could have been quite so magnificent on the break - except maybe Hayter in his heyday. 0-1, and only eleven minutes on the clock.
The other highlight was just before half-time when Purches, who’d already managed one decent shot not long before, powered the ball into the corner of the net past several defenders. 1-1. And very late in the game, a Huddersfield player connected with a Moss goal kick, and passed to substitute Schofield, who beat our retreating defenders to score a goal that - although not a solo effort like Huddersfield’s first - was nonetheless similar to it in the finishing. 1-2.
Bournemouth’s team line-up was, as for most games this season, quite different from the previous match. Howe was apparently unavailable, so Gowling was back. Broadhurst and Maher are also out, so the only defensive cover on the bench was the unfit Hart. Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand was back for his second loan period, which means he’s in Bournemouth ready for the England U19 match next month if selected! But he never really connected with Wilson, another loan player, on the left wing. In any case, Wilson was unaccountably replaced by another loan signing, Lawson, on the hour.
Bournemouth were much stronger on the right wing, where Purches and Anderton demonstrated some excellent overlapping play, and helped to get the ball forward again and again - especially in the second half. Surprisingly for his age, Anderton played in a wide position for most of the match. In fact he was sorely missed once substituted, because his replacement Hollands moved into the centre of the park and Hayter took over on the right wing, where he had an even worse game than he’d already been having in the centre, and didn’t harmonise with Purches at all. Up front we began with our two young strikers Pitman and Vokes, but neither seemed to be fully on his game. Vokes, who had signed professional forms just before today’s match, needed several minutes of treatment on the pitch in the second half, before hobbling off clutching his shin. He was replaced by Fletcher who on the day looked (relatively) sharp, almost scoring shortly after coming on, and having another shot off a Lawson cross deep into the four minutes of added time.
The starting line-up (with my scores out of ten) was :
Purches (8), Young (8), Gowling (7), Bertrand (7);
Anderton (8), Browning (6), Hayter (6), Wilson (7);
Pitman (7), Vokes (7).