Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 0 Manchester United 1

Date: 20 May 2023

Premier League survival is definitely something worth celebrating, but it was a disappointing end to the season for me: three defeats in a row, all at home.

The team lined up with several changes: I was getting to watch Zabarnyi for the first time; Cook and Anthony were both starting (Anthony enthusiastically waving every time he wanted the ball, as always); and – most notably – David Brooks was being given his first start since his cancer. (This even got a cheer from the Manchester United supporters – who also, sportingly, cheered our women’s team when they paraded their recently won Hampshire Cup during the half time break.) Brooks’ start could of course be seen as more of a gimmick than anything else – a gimmick we could afford as there was nothing really riding on this game for us. The only other change was that Neto was forced to wear grey because the United team were sporting an all yellow kit!

There wasn’t as much difference in quality between the two teams as you might expect, given their respective placings in the league table. And in the end only one goal separated them: a brilliant overhead kick from Casemiro, with his back to the goal, early in the first half. Solanke had a couple of decent chances later in this half: one that was saved and another hitting the roof of the net. Half time: 0-1.

We pressed for an equaliser throughout the second half. Brooks, who’d had a couple of shots in the game, was substituted quite early on, with Christie taking over his position on the right wing. Moore, replacing Christie up front, had a couple of scoring chances too – one blocked by the United keeper.

Near the end Anthony had a corner kick which was very poorly executed; but Senesi had a brilliant shot from distance that only just went over the roof of the net – and was virtually the last kick of the game.

Some promising signs for next season, though no doubt come August we’ll be named as favourites for relegation again!

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

Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly;
Brooks, Cook, Lerma, Anthony;
Solanke, Christie

By the end the line-up was:

Vina, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly;
Ouattara, Cook, Lerma, Anthony;
Moore, Solanke

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