Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 1 Peterborough 1

Date: 8 March 2022

The previous two occasions when I’d seen Peterborough at the Vitality Stadium they’d scored two goals each time. Well, this time we held them back to just one goal, but they certainly deserved at least a point.

Compared to my last game, Stacey was in for Smith, Phillips for Mepham, Christie for Lowe, and the midfield partnership of Billing and Cantwell had swopped places. We had a great scoring chance within 90 seconds of kick-off when Dembele passed to Christie but Christie’s shot was off target. And this was to be the story of our first half: numerous shots off target (from Christie, Solanke, and Billing in particular) but only one on target. There was some fancy footwork on display from individuals (Dembele and Cantwell, in particular, were taking too many touches) but no real teamwork. Deservedly Peterborough went ahead on the half hour mark when our defence opened up to allow Marriott an easy goal. Kelly was most to blame for this and indeed he and Billing had especially poor games today.

Needleless to say, the Peterborough fans, though there weren’t too many of them (the pub in Boscombe that always advertises “Away Fans Welcome” was deserted tonight), got very excited at this. They’d been noisy from the start, booing Dembele whenever he got the ball (he’d been their joint top scorer until he left them for Bournemouth) and – later in the match – jeering when he was substituted. Meanwhile Bournemouth fans increasingly registered their disgust at their own team – and some even booed at the very end of the match – although the song that most intrigued me was about going to Wembley: are we already hoping for a playoff final?!

Our consolation goal came six and a half minutes into the second period. A Christie pass to Stacey had gone awry during one attack but less than a minute later Christie atoned for this by going on a diving run into the penalty area and driving the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Solanke played a big part in this goal without even getting a touch – acting as decoy to Peterborough defenders who anticipated a pass that never came.

As the second half wore on the crowd started singing Lowe’s name but Parker wasn’t convinced. First he brought on Anthony for Stacey, Anthony playing surprisingly well in an unfamiliar right full back position with a little guidance from Phillips (who used to play in that position himself). Anthony was asking for the ball over and over again, and instantly teamed up well with Christie on the right. Subsequently Marcondes came on for Billing (Cantwell moving to the right to accommodate him) and Lowe for Dembele on the left wing (resulting in the aforementioned jeers).

By the time four minutes’ added time was announced we still didn’t look like scoring (and we’d lost count of Peterborough corner kicks!) and our top priority now was to get the one point that would put us back into second place in the league (indeed one point from each of our games in hand would do nicely thank you!). The sponsors’ ‘man of the match’ was announced as Lewis Cook, which I wouldn’t disagree with. His passes have become a lot more telling since he dropped deeper to take up the suspended Lerma’s position. It will be interesting to see what happens when Lerma becomes available for selection again from Saturday.

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:

Stacey, Phillips, Kelly, Zemura;
Christie, Billing, Cantwell, Dembele;

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