Date: 28 October 2023
At last: a home league win.
The omens were good today: no rail strike, overtime ban, planned engineering, police incidents, faults on trains, signal nor points failures… Just trains in both directions arriving at their destination on time. I even got to travel home in the company of other Bournemouth fans and discuss the game, as opposed to sitting on my own in my car in a motorway traffic jam talking to myself.
And further nostalgia: a league victory. The first I’d seen in more than six months, home or away. OK it was against another relegation threatened side (no disrespect to Burnley), and we had home advantage, and we won by the slenderest of margins. But it was enough to lift us (temporarily) out of the relegation zone.
We lined up 4-1-4-1. Rothwell and Kerkez had been demoted to the bench (though both played a part as subs later in the second half). Alex Scott, though only recently back from injury, played the full 90 minutes. Everyone had a good game, even Mepham and Kelly who’ve been criticised a lot by fans lately; there was genuinely no ‘weakest link’ today. But Burnley scored the first goal. So often this season we’ve scored first but gone on to draw or even lose, so no-one knew what would happen after Taylor shot through a crowd of players (Radu was unsighted) and put Burnley ahead on 11 minutes.
Well, what happened was that we scored either side of half time. Tavernier had missed a sitter when Semenyo crossed to him, but subsequently it was Semenyo again who won a tackle, charged past several players, declined to pass to a colleague, and scored a brilliant one-man goal. Semenyo’s subsequent attempt to make a ‘selfish’ shot, still in the first half, was probably misguided – but we’ll forgive him that, following his excellent goal earlier.
Our second goal was an amazing shot from Philip from just ten yards inside Burnley’s half when he spotted Burnley’s keeper off his line. And then drama at 90 minutes when Burnley appeared to score an equaliser. The away fans were cheering but the linesman’s flag was up and the referee agreed with the linesman. But then it went to VAR, that took a staggering five and a half minutes to reach a conclusion! The North Stand started singing “This is embarrassing” and all fans – home and away – joined in, all singing from the same hymn sheet for once. The goal was eventually ruled offside, but this left us with scarcely sufficient time to catch our train. We made it, though – and with a spring in our step!
The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:
Aarons, Mepham, Zabarnyi, Kelly;
Semenyo, Christie, Philip, Tavernier;
Smith, Mepham, Zabarnyi, Kelly;
Ouattara, Christie, Scott, Kerkez;