Date: 24 February 2009
This match will only be remembered, especially by the 432 visiting supporters but also no doubt by those following the match via radio or internet, for one glorious minute that occurred around 9:45 PM. It was a minute that turned our season around; survival in the league turned from appearing unachievable to appearing very much achievable. One - admittedly youthful - fan said afterwards that it was his best minute since starting to support Bournemouth. It would be tempting to base my entire report on that one minute; but I guess I should start at the beginning.
This was my first visit to Victoria Road. Itís a dismal stadium by league standards, and you have to negotiate the car park to get to the visitorsí terrace; but itís a good stadium by non-league standards. The home attendance was poor, and the Daggers supporters didnít make much noise, but our own fans - with no roof to echo any sound they made - were even quieter. None of the usual singers, who come on the supportersí coaches, seemed to be present; and up until the last minute no-one seemed willing to respond vocally to the home fansí taunts.
More injuries and incapacities meant that the Bournemouth line-up changed yet again. With none of Guyett, Cooper or Partington available to play in central defence the opportunity fell to Garry, who didnít disappoint. With Bartley indisposed and Thomsonís loan not renewed, Molesley played in the centre - which won us the match - while Pitman took over out of position on the right wing - which meant that his skills were wasted. Pitmanís place up front was taken by Connell, who was unproductive and thus effectively rendered Fletcher unproductive too. This was thus an inauspicious match for Fletcher; but it was his 500th appearance, a fact which the friendly matchday announcer (more about him later) was prepared to highlight whilst listing the teams.
Jalal had an excellent game, making one particularly good save early in the first half and two near the start of the second - one straight catch and another shot tipped over the bar for a corner. Igoe was speedy on the wing, putting in some brilliant runs and some half-decent crosses, especially when transferred to the right wing for the second half. Molesley commanded the central midfield and most of his passes found their target. But overall Dagenham dominated the first half, and should have led by half time had their shots at goal not been so weakly taken. After the break, Pitman and Igoe swapped wings (for no obvious reason). Goulding replaced Connell man-for-man, and proved to be a great improvement, bringing the game to life almost immediately and later having at least two golden opportunities to score. Tindall replaced Garry man-for-man (playing his first league match for nearly three years), had an excellent game, put in some excellent challenges to the Dagenham attackers, and played a key role in setting up the ultimate goal.
Ten minutes or so from the end, an Igoe cross found Goulding, and his shot hit the woodwork. Five minutes later, Goulding had an even better chance to the left of goal. The Dagenham keeper (who had an awful match, was the butt of numerous taunts from the visiting fans, and couldnít seem to distribute the ball to save his life) committed an absolute howler; leaving an empty net for Goulding to shoot at. The angle was tight, so Goulding put in a half-hearted pass across goal (or was it supposed to be a shot?). Neither Fletcher nor Igoe could get forward in time to meet it, and what had looked like the best chance of the evening was wasted.
Dagenham seemed to dominate the rest of the game - until the last of the allotted three minutes of extra time. Then Tindall surged down the right wing (no idea what he was doing there, but who cares?) and passed to Molesley. Molesley was fouled, but the referee allowed the advantage as he proceeded to get around the defender and rocket the ball - despite the tight angle - into the bottom corner of the net. Cue wild celebrations amongst Bournemouthís fans. Seconds after the re-start, the referee blew the whistle for full time. That last gasp goal had gifted us two points, but that wasnít the end of the story. For our benefit, the matchday announcer informed us that Morecambe had overturned a 2-0 deficit at Grimsby to draw level. This was effectively worth another two points to us. And while we were still coming to terms with that, the announcer gave us the final score of that match: Grimsby 2 Morecambe 3. This was the icing on the cake. Effectively another point. In one minute weíd gone from seven points behind Grimsby to just two points behind them. For the first time this season, survival in League 2 seemed attainable. When Bournemouthís players realised we hadnít moved from our spots on the terraces (though the home fans had virtually all left), they came over to join us in the celebrations. Our fans then set off on their homeward journeys, singing all the way.
The team lined up as follows at the start of the game (I've given the players marks out of ten):
Robinson (6), Garry (7), Pearce (7), Cummings (7);
Pitman (6), Molesley (8), Hollands (7), Igoe (8);
Connell (6), Fletcher (6).