Aug 16 AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Barnsley Att: 5960

Last updated : 24 August 2003 By Andy Burton
We should have, but so easily lost it too against Barnsley, as it was both sides had to settle for a point at Dean Court.

From the start Barnsley had the better of play and should have taken the lead during the opening period of the first half. With Betsy down the right and Gorre down the right, and three big lads up front, it looked as if we were going to be in for one of those physical matches. Thankfully one of those comedy moments we see in football saw a dismal failure. Somehow, the three lads up front for the Tykes were all clear and bearing down on Moss's goal. How one of them fell over the ball will never be known, leaving Broadhurst with the easiest of clearances he'll ever have to make.

While the visitors were giving us a laugh, the officials were having a laugh. It would appear that a new UEFA directive has been introduced regarding the off-side rule. As we all know, a player is deemed off side if, when the ball is played, a member of the opposition is behind the last defender. This part of the rule appears to be very much intact, but with one proviso. You can be off side even if you're 2-yards in front of the last defender!! Such was the position Steve Fletcher found himself in during the first half!!

It was a relief when Bournemouth netted first. An excellent cross from the left from Jamie Hayter found Steve Fletcher on the far post to loop a header over Sasa Ilic in the Barnsley goal on 27 minutes. Then moment later, Garreth O'Connor could have netted a second as he saw go just over the cross bar.

Not to denied, Barnsley came back with avengence and deserved their equaliser on 38 minutes when Ireland blasted the ball home from 10 yards. With hardly a moment to settle Bournemouth re took the lead a minute later, when a mix up in the Bansley defence left Steve Fletcher the easiest of tap ins he's going to get for a long time. A third goal was not far away as Hayter's shot thumped the post and back to the safe hands of Ilic.

HT: 2-1

The second half saw Barnsley bounce back with a second equaliser 12 minutes after the restart. The pacey Gorre beat all challengers as he danced down the Barnsley left to neatly place the ball past Moss.

Bournemouth, once again bounced back without the end product to show for it. Steve Fletcher could have netted his hattrick on 73 minutes when a rasping shot was somehow clawed away by the acrobatic Ilic. O'Connor was also denied by some excellent goal keeping, but when Feeney's goal bound shot was cleared off the line by Ireland we somehow knew it was not going to be our day!!
Just when we thought it was all over Barnsley popped up with a penalty appeal, which was thankfully waved away.

Apart from Steve Fletcher missing out on a hattrick, we also missed out on a streaker. One member of the Exiles Club, has threatened to streak if ever Steve scores a hattrick. Thankfully (or otherwise) that was not to be - the streak that is!!

Steve Fletcher for the 2 goals

AFCB: Moss, Cummings, Broadhurst, C Fletcher, Purches, Thomas, O'Connor, Browning, Elliott, S Fletcher, Hayter
Subs: Stewart, Feeney (for Thomas, 59), Tindall (for Cummings, 79), Holmes, Connell
Andy Burton, Portsmouth