Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 1 Reading 1

Date: 15 March 2022

One point against a team that has everything to play for, is nothing to be scoffed at, so why did this feel – at the end – like a defeat?

Reading had Nyland in goal – less than two months after he’d left us. But our starting line-up was unchanged from the team that had been played on Tuesday following Davis’ injury – in other words Zemura for Davis. Zemura and Anthony once again worked together well on the left flank, except that now they had Cantwell to complete the ‘triangle’ – and the passing between these three players was excellent. As a result, most Bournemouth advances were on this wing. It was just unfortunate that Cantwell really had to be replaced at half time (he was on a yellow card) and his replacement in that position – Christie – never became part of any ‘triangle’. It was also unfortunate that nothing similar was on show on the right flank; indeed we’ve learned since the game that Stacey achieved a 0% pass success rate tonight!

The tradition of clapping for David Brooks on the seventh minute is still going, but tonight some great interplay between Lerma and Solanke led to a goal from the latter during this very minute. The crowd continued to clap rhythmically and to sing Brooks’ name – effectively dedicating this early goal to him.

Unfortunately, though, it was all downhill from that time on. The team looked tired – perhaps resulting from the number of matches we’ve had to play recently. It seemed only a matter of time before Reading would score, and when they did it was on the back of two corner kicks in close succession. The ball seemed to be flying away from our goalmouth but Ince Junior was on hand to send back a thunderbolt that easily defeated Travers. We replaced Christie with Lowe on the right wing at half time, and Anthony with Dembele after Reading’s goal. Pearson also took over from Cook in the holding position, but we couldn’t avoid a 1-1 draw. Indeed, by the end of the match both teams seemed happy to settle for a point.

The mood of the Reading fans was hard to judge. There was gallows humour: “It’s only one-nil, how sh*t must you be…” And there was a lot of anger directed at Ince Senior, especially over one of the substitutions. But actually to an ‘outsider’ it seemed that the Reading team are putting up a good fight and their supporters should be grateful.

Five points out of nine in our three games this week is not really a bad tally, until you remember that all three games have been at home against ‘struggling’ teams.

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

Stacey, Phillips, Kelly, Zemura;
Christie, Lerma, Cantwell, Anthony;

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