Date: 26 December 2007
So, Bournemouth’s first home league win of the season has been closely followed by their second! But how come? Is this simply the result of Telfer’s departure? Possibly; because the rest of the team must surely have felt demotivated while their highest paid player (and captain!) was also their weakest link. Arguably even the excellent Anderton could have the same effect on the junior players around him; maybe the team performs best when everyone is close to equal in status, and is captained by the much-admired Neil Young.
So this game was a Christmas present to all the fans, which just got better and better. Just over a quarter of an hour into the game, Gradel put in a poor cross, but soon afterwards he had more than made amends - by scoring! Following a long sequence of passes - the crowd were cheering each successful one and someone claimed they counted 28! - the ball landed with Gradel, in a similar position on the right to before, but this time he put in a crafty shot from a difficult angle. 1-0. There were several more shots on goal before the first half was over, including two within a minute from Pitman, and another from Pitman in time added on. But it stayed 1-0, chiefly thanks to some excellent saves by Stewart at the other end.
Less than ten minutes into the second half the score went to 2-0 when Vokes beat two defenders and a goalie to score. The goal was really the result of poor Orient defence, but it can’t have harmed Vokes’ confidence to score at home at last. Orient got one goal back but the funniest incident we’ve witnessed at Dean Court for some time was saved to the end, and the 5,300 crowd will be recalling it for some time. Orient were awarded a corner kick. Although there was only a minute on the clock, it was more like five with added time; and this was after all ‘only’ a league game and an Orient goal at this point would ‘only’ win them one point, not three. Nonetheless goalie Nelson decided to go up for it! What the … ? And something happened that one always hopes to see happen when a goalie does that: Bournemouth got a break. Nelson had no chance of keeping up with either Henry or Kuffour, let alone both of them! They are probably our two fastest players anyway, and today they’d come off the bench so weren’t match-tired. Henry easily scored with a gentle tap into an empty goalmouth - his first touch since coming on - with Nelson still desperately chasing. A sweet 3-1. The result, a very fair reflection of the game, has also lifted us three places up the league table.
The team lined up 4-1-4-1 again, despite being at home. But it seemed to work. No-one had a bad game. Cooper looked very effective in front of the back four until he got a slight knock before half time, and was replaced in that position by Hollands (with Christophe filling in where Hollands had played).
A great day out to cherish. The only odd thing to ponder was: what on earth has gone wrong with the scoreboard? The Echo must be ashamed to sponsor it. Every goal scored, seemed to require a re-boot of the scoreboard software! Most of the time it showed some very odd Microsoft Windows frames with gobbledygook in them. At one point it even showed Barnsley as our opponents! But who cares? At least the team is functioning at last…
The starting line-up (with my scores out of ten) was :
Young (7), A Pearce (7), J Pearce (7), Cummings (7);
Gradel (9), Karacan (7), Hollands (7), Pitman (8);