Apr 12 AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Southend United Att: 6767

Last updated : 13 April 2003 By Andy Burton
With Southend trying to upset our apple cart, Bournemouth were forced to play towards the North Stand during the first half, instead of the second (as seems the custom these days). But their spoiling tactics were spoilt when a superb move was started by Marcus Browning.

A beautiful cross field ball fell nicely at the feet of Danny Thomas, who crossed to find the head of Stephen Purches a couple of yards in side the Southend box to head home from 16-yards. As the goal arrived on 9 minutes, we thought that a decent score line was to be the end result.

To be honest, it should have been, but it didn't end up that way. Excellent headers from Steve Fletcher failed to find the target, let alone force the keeper in to a save. The killer touch was not present to rattle up a cricket score, and close the 'GD' gap on Wrexham.

During the second half Bournemouth looked decidedly lost. Passes went astry, players were getting in each others way. As Southend tried to assert themselves on the second period, they found it difficult to get passed the midfield duo of Browning and Purches, who won most of the centre field challenges. if they did find their way to the Bournemouth area, they too had left their shooting boots way back in Essex. I wonder if exile-Roy Garner (in Billericay) nobbled the Southend team coach?? The odd shot Neil Moss had to deal with was dealt with the the acrobatics we've seen during recent away matches.

Nice to see Scott McDonald and Philip Gulliver claim their home debut's, albeit from the subs bench. Both look like very useful additions in their respective positions.

All in all we were probably fortunate that Southend couldn't find their way to goal as they might have easily taken a point (they did get close on a couple of occassions). As it is a single goal victory was enough to secure three vital points, especially with Wrexham picking another last minute winner .... AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Marcus Browning
- a superb individual performance over the entire game.
A special mention in despatches, Lewis Buxton was superb in defence - not much got passed him all afternoon. Such a shame his loan period has ended, and he's now relegated to Portsmouth reserves.

AFCB: Moss, Young, C Fletcher, Buxton, Cummings, Elliott, Browning, Purches, Thomas, S Fletcher, Hayter
Subs: Stewart, Stock (for Thomas, 88 mins), Holmes, McDonald (for Hayter, 73), Gulliver (for Elliott, 85)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth