Date: 28 December 1998
Cherries' sixth win in a row (all in December) takes them to fifth place in the table and almost guarantees Mel Machin the Division 2 "Manager of the Month" award.
After two good away wins, the fear was that the home game in front of a bumper Christmas crowd might be an anticlimax. Certainly there were times in the first half when the team seemed tired from the Millwall game 48 hours previously, while Luton were benefiting from a rest on Saturday. The wet pitch didn't help either.
But the second half was much better and Bournemouth showed a lot of flair at times. Even then, there was a fear that Luton could grab a late equaliser, on the break, against the run of play; and there were some heart-stopping moments late on. Stein, Robinson, Fletcher, Bailey, Hughes all saw scoring chances squandered, and in the end it was just Cox's goal in the 52nd minute that separated the sides - a goal scored off a rebound.
The team reverted to its familiar 4-4-2 formation with the return of Hughes for Boli. This enabled some wider play in the midfield, and saw Sponsors' man-of-the-match Neil Young linking well with hardworking midfielder John Bailey on the right, Young at times getting well forward when Bailey had possession. No Bournemouth player had a poor game, although some like Ovendale, Vincent and Warren had a quiet one. The team lined up as follows at the start of the game (my scores out of ten):
Young (8), Cox (7), Howe (7), Vincent (6);
Bailey (8), Robinson (7), Warren (6);
Fletcher (7), Stein (7)