Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Wycombe 1 Cherries 1

Date: 29 November 1997

As I sat in a traffic jam on the M40 for half an hour I wondered if I'd get to this match at all. But, thanks to the contingency I always allow, I actually got to Adams Park at 2.50.

Failing to spot anyone I knew (where were the FFOTMers?) I settled down to be serenaded by Cherries' fans singing "5,4 to the Basingstoke 5,4 ..." and "Be on the telly, We're gonna be on the telly ..."

(For the second half they also sang "Jingle bells ... Oh what fun it is to see Bournemouth win away." Irrelevant, as it turned out, but at least in season - because Advent officially began at sunset today.)

The team lined up as follows (my scores in brackets):

Young (7), Cox (5), Howe (7), Vincent (7);
O'Neill (6), Beardsmore (8), Robinson (6), Harrington (8);
Fletcher (7), Warren (7).

Some of our players appeared very edgy at first. Howe was unusually nervy, but grew in confidence as the game progressed. (I think I heard the announcer say today was Howe's 20th birthday. But then, this was the same announcer who gave out the score "Chesterfield 1, Southampton 0" at half time!)

The first half saw Boscombe with most of the possession, but it was a scrappy game with rather too many long balls. The two best opportunities fell for Wycombe: Stallard narrowly missed an open goal on 15 minutes. Kavanagh beat all our back four but then had his soft shot saved by Glass on 42.

Warren had a couple of fast breaks with the ball but couldn't quite get into a scoring position and seemed to lack support.

The second half began with Wycombe sprightly; they'd obviously been assured by John Gregory at half time that this match was winnable. They went ahead through Mark Stallard, returning after a four match break, after about 5 minutes.

After Beardsmore won the "race" with Young to break their respective ducks a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Young attempted a couple of long shots on goal in the second half today. One day, one of these will come off.

Boscombe got more and more desperate and in the 70th minute Town was substituted for Harrington. Not that the latter was playing badly, but to get a third man up front we had to sacrifice the luxury of the extra width in midfield. This immediately paid off, and the Cherries poured forwards in the final ten minutes as we played a 4-3-3 formation (what Mike would call a 3-3-4-1!).

Our two corner kicks in this period were taken by Vincent - but were not of the quality of Harrington's in the earlier period. Nonetheless, the first one resulted in the infringement by Cornforth which saw Wycombe doubly penalised - Cornforth sent off, and Robinson scoring from the penalty spot as coolly and calmly as ever.

We piled on the pressure in the nail-biting final ten minutes, which made the heavy rain - now sweeping into the away supporters' stand - almost bearable. But to no avail. Final score: 1-1.

Attendance: 4340.

This game leaves us in 8th position, 2 points below the play-offs and 10 above relegation. My 'man of the match' : difficult choice, but I'll give it to Beardsmore for a few particularly fine passes.

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