Date: 14 November 1998
It's difficult to find very much of a positive nature to say about this game. Bournemouth sat back for too much of the game, and even after a half-time lecture from Mel (we guess, because of the delay in our players emerging for the second half) matters only improved slightly.
Bournemouth played with one man only (Stein) up front and a five-man midfield. We hoped this might be a temporary measure whilst we were trying to tire the Basingstoke players, but unfortunately not! The entire ninety minutes were played in this manner. One result was that Robinson and Hughes played in almost identical positions in central midfield, resulting in Hughes in particular having an indifferent game. With no tall target man up front to feed Stein, he had great difficulty getting into the game as much as we would have liked. But he still did everything that was required of him, including scoring (again!) the last goal of the game so that he now has 14 goals this season - three more than his nearest rival in Division 2. Numerically, Vincent replaced Boli (probably a good move) and Robinson replaced O'Neill in last week's team. Berthe had a poor game (except for one good clearance when he found himself briefly in a defensive position) and was, quite rightly, replaced by O'Neill in the right-wing position after about half an hour. (No other substitutes were used.) Mel was almost immediately rewarded for this substitution when O'Neill scored Bournemouth's first goal.
The only times the team as a whole showed a little flair were at the very start of the second half, and just after the Basingstoke equaliser; although O'Neill was more consistently hard working and Howe, Cox and Stein did what was required of them.
The three-league differential between the two teams never really showed except that, unsurprisingly, the stadium was a bit basic! In the end, this left more of a lasting impression than the game, from which Bournemouth fans departed with little to lift their spirits on a cold November afternoon.
The team lined up as follows at the start of the game (my scores out of ten):
Young (6), Cox (7), Howe (8), Vincent (6);
Berthe (5), Robinson (6), Hughes (5), Warren (6);