Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Luton 1 Cherries 2

Date: 31 January 1998

After my groaning match report last week it's good to be able to report that this match was a cracker.

From the opening minute when a cross from the right found Warren in a potential scoring position, to the last ten minutes when Robinson continued to badger the Luton defence and try to exploit every weakness, the players showed great character and gave an inspired performance.

The team lined up as follows (my scores out of ten):

Young (7), Cox (7), Howe (8), Vincent (6);
Bailey (6), O'Neill (7), Robinson (8), Warren(7);
Fletcher (8), Brissett(9).

The Cherries fans booed the name of Warren when announced, and then gave a huge cheer when Hayter was named as being on the bench, suggesting they would have made one change to Machin's starting line-up. In the event, though, this proved unjustified. Warren had a good game wide on the left and got into a more central position whenever Bournemouth advanced on the right, twice (in the first and twenty-fifth minutes) getting himself into a good position to meet crosses from Brissett or Fletcher.

Glass's couple of poor clearances, and ventures too far out of the goal area, can be readily forgiven because of some outstanding saves that he made. In any case, it was one of his better clearances, seventeen minutes into the second half, that led to Steve Fletcher tapping our second goal into an empty net following a one-to-one with the Luton keeper. This Fletch acknowledged in the modest and reserved manner that has become his hallmark.

The first Bournemouth goal came from Brissett in the eleventh minute of the first half, too far away from the Bournemouth fans' end for me to supply any details except that the goalmouth looked rather crowded.

Luton's soft goal, on the 71st minute, led to a short period in which we gave them too much space and nearly let in a second. But apart from that time Luton, struggling at the bottom of the Division, with three changes from the starting line-up in the programme and using all their substitution options within the first hour of play, never controlled the game. In the last ten minutes or so (including an extended injury time) Luton had so many heart-stopping corners that it was reminiscent of Brentford in the GE season. But we survived, bringing on Teather for Brissett in the closing stages to give ourselves a necessary breather, and to enable the crowd to acknowledge Jason as - surely unquestionable - man of the match.

Everything went better than last week, including the decision to only take one player to the corner flag for some of our corner kicks. No Boscombe player had a bad game, although perhaps it should be said that Bailey isn't back up to speed yet.

Final score: 2-1 to us.

This game lifts us to 9th position, 4 points below the play-offs and 10 above relegation.

Attendance: 5466

Man of the match: Jason Brissett.

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