Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 0 Manchester City 0

Date: 13 February 1999

After the pre-match hype, and with a capacity crowd, this was never going to be a match like the previous week's. The team began somewhat nervously and took a while to get into their stride. In contrast, Manchester City started - and continued - somewhat aggressively; and although their fans believed they were penalised rather too often by the referee, their seven or eight bookings compared with none for the Cherries still demonstrates the teams' different playing styles.

Late in the game Manchester City had one player sent off (for a second yellow card) but they - and probably Bournemouth too - seemed willing by then to settle for a goalless draw. In injury time a second Manchester City player was sent off for dissent. Two minutes into injury time, Cox went off injured - hopefully not seriously - and was replaced by Town, but he never even got a touch of the ball before the final whistle.

Manchester City dominated much of the first half, although Bournemouth's best scoring opportunity came in this half when Fletcher turned on the ball and shot just wide. Bournemouth had brief bursts of dominance in the second half, but no more really good scoring opportunities.

In Stein's continued absence, Hayter played alongside Fletcher for the entire game, showing a lot of pace and a desire to succeed, but this was not to be his week. The strong side-wind seemed to affect Ovendale's goal kicks, but he still managed some confident catches. Neil Young had a poor first half, perhaps partly caused by the wind, in which nothing seemed to go right for him. Official Sponsors' Man-of-the-Match was Ian Cox, but I thought his play was fairly average, and my nominee would have been John O'Neill who had some excellent touches in the first half. On the hour, Machin replaced him with Warren, but I guess for no other reason that that he still doesn't know which he prefers. This certainly wasn't a tactical change: both played wide on the left.

We learned after the game that Walsall had won again, so we were now seven points behind them, not five. And more disappointingly Gillingham had won. But at least Millwall and (of course) Manchester City had slipped up! So we're now 5th.

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game (my scores out of ten):

Ovendale (7);
Young (6), Cox (7), Howe (8), Vincent (7);
Hughes (7);
Bailey (7), Robinson (7), O'Neill (8);
Fletcher (7), Hayter (8)

My 'man of the match' : O'Neill.

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