Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Southend 5 Cherries 3

Date: 21 March 1998

What on earth is happening to the team? At a time when we've few injury worries, we have let in eight goals in four days. Mel got so angry when we went 4-1 down that he substituted three of our back four simultaneously.

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

Glass (4);
Young (5), Cox (4), Rolling (5), Vincent (5);
Beardsmore (5);
Bailey (5), Robinson (5), Howe (5);
Stein (5), Fletcher (5)

We must assume Jimmy doesn't want to play for us any more. A pedestrian performance. He (with the back four) must take the blame for the prolific scoring by a Southend team who - in a drab first half anyway - weren't even particularly good.

After the multiple substitution the back four was Young - Howe - Rawlinson - Beardsmore. O'Neill played just in front of them and Brissett wide on the left. This width started to look threatening (Bailey had seemed unwilling to play wide) and Brissett produced some of the best Bournemouth play on the day. Unfortunately, however, he seems unwilling to come into the centre to receive the cross when the ball is being passed down the right flank, something (the injured) Warren is very good at.

Mark Stein seemed to be having his third poor game in a row, and was subjected to many crowd taunts about his earnings, prior to slotting in an admittedly rather good first goal. Although not a particularly difficult shot, it went in cleanly and was a joy to watch. But unfortunately Southend won a penalty within a minute of this, and from then on it was all downhill.

Final score: 5-3 to them.

A tally of only one league point in five league games drops us to 12th position, 10 points below the play-offs but only 9 above relegation.

Man of the match (a protest vote): Rawlinson.

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