Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 2 Burnley 4

Date: 7 January 2023

Bournemouth’s poor run of results continued today, and the new owner of the club must surely be starting to despair – as we all are?

The trouble was not so much that we lost to a ‘lower league’ team at home; after all, Burnley are at the top of the Championship table and may well take our place in the Premier League next season. No; the issue was the way we lost. No-one played well. If the transfer window is still open I’d let any one of our players go. I was glad I didn’t have to pick a ‘man of the match’, because no-one really shone; I’d probably have to give it to Jaidon Anthony as the ‘least worst’ player! The biggest problem was the passing. Burnley players’ passing is so accurate and ours just isn’t. Three of Burnley’s goals were the result of us giving the ball away in midfield. After one of them, a frustrated Travers came out of his goal to remonstrate with Billing – and Kelly had to pull them apart.

What about our goals? Well, it has to be admitted that Christie’s (that drew us level on 1-1) was against the run of play. And he was simply capitalising on a Burnley error as they attempted to play from the back. But every goal counts and of course we cheered that one. Solanke’s goal just after half time was better; his first shot having been saved he followed up from close range to level the scores for a second time (2-2). We were enjoying a ‘purple patch’ at that time, but arguably our only purple patch in this match.

The reason for that was that O’Neil had made a triple substitution at half time (when we were already 1-3 down), that resulted in us switching from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 with the addition of Moore up front. And it was Moore who started the move that led to Solanke’s goal. But the worrying thing is that this also meant that three of the back four positions were changed; only Stephens remaining where he’d been before the break. Teams that do well usually keep an unchanged defence line-up from match to match, but O’Neil genuinely doesn’t seem to know who his best defenders are.

This was a dreadful day out. There was a rail strike so I had to drive down the motorway in appalling weather conditions and torrential rain. I took a detour to Bournemouth Crematorium to look at my dad’s entry in the Book of Remembrance (today being the seventh anniversary of his passing away) but it wasn’t on display; and I couldn’t stroll for long where Dad’s ashes are, as the rain was now worse than ever. For much of the match it rained too; and being in Row D I got drenched. And after seeing us lose 2-4 I had to join heavy traffic on the spur road and crawl home as the storm continued to rage.

The last straw to break the proverbial camel’s back was arriving home to find just one item of post on the doormat: a ticket for Bournemouth versus Manchester City! Eek! So I’ve got to go through it all again…

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

Smith, Stephens, Senesi, Zemura;
Cook, Rothwell;
Christie, Billing, Anthony;

By the end the line-up was:

Stacey, Stephens, Kelly, Smith;
Dembele, Cook, Billing, Anthony;
Moore, Solanke

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