Aug 16 Aldershot Town 1-1 AFC Bournemouth Att: 4564

Last updated : 17 August 2008 By Pete Wicks
So from that point of view I was delighted to return to the Rec. for the 1st time in 24 years (the 4-1 League Cup away defeat). Weather dry, alternately sunny and cloudy; we found ourselves standing (yay!) near the north-east corner flag. The main road (south) end is empty. Cherries had 2 changes from the Gills game - Cummings for Garry; Ward for Pearce. Our away strip - the inverse of the home one: mainly black with red areas.

Shots kicked-off to that empty end, and inevitably had more of the early play, but lacked top-third quality. Then Kuffour worked hard for space and put over a decent cross. Pitman had a free header; somehow the keeper put a hand to it, tipping it over off the ground. Guyett found himself in the 'D'; his effort looped up for the goalie. Bartley, working the right wing, was strong, and was fouled near our flag. Perhaps advantage should've been given, but there was no target in the middle. The free found Pitman at the near post; his shot went for the corner. Ward's header was tipped away.

Weak positioning allowed Shots a corner. Cummings was having partially-successful battles with his winger. Pitman and Bradbury had communication problems. Shots went through, but the lob cleared the bar. Thinking back to non-league teams we've played in recent years, Shots looked little better than Forest Green Rovers, Barrow or Tamworth, and less good than Stanley. Cooper hit high from 20 yards, over the north stand. His forays meant Anderton sitting. Pitman chipped through to Bartley but it hit his back. Cooper and Cummings hit crosses to the keeper. Kuffour was held 22 yards out; Anderton's effort was headed away from the 'D'. So Cherries were showing more up front, but frankly there was little quality, decision-making or co-ordination. Then a Shots shot was deflected onto a post, with Jalal catching well. From a good right-wing cross, Pitman's header was tipped over. Shots were blocking well. Guyett's effort was wide - then we had another corner. However, honours even (and few deserved) at half-time: 0-0.

Just after the start, Ward cleared off the line and Jalal fell on the ball. Shots then chipped from the right; the back-header was wide. Kuffour and Bartley won another corner, but Shots had a free on our right, which Jalal tipped wide. Kuffour won another corner, which was cleared easily. Shots had another cross from the right; the shot went wide. Then on a break-out, the away defence was exposed horribly. The no.7 (Soares, brother of the Palace player) took it on and slotted easily. 1-0, 63. The delayed response was to see Sappleton replace Igoe (perhaps our poorest contributor) on 67; Pitman moved wide left. Sappleton won a corner with his first touch. Shots had a tap-in for no.2 - but fortuitously it was ruled off-side. Their effort and organisation deserved that second. Cooper's shot was saved - thin pickings for Cherries. Pitman won the ball and slung it over to Bartley - but too far, so a throw-in; very poor. Kuffour shot wide - overall, just a sheer absence of quality. Bartley put in Kuffour; the goalie collected both ball and Kuffour, who, in evidently trying to not take the keeper, escaped a yellow. Then some pinball in the Shots area ended with Sappleton crashing it in from the edge of the area. 1-1, 81.

Sappleton put in Bartley at inside-left, resulting in 2 corners. Shots broke on the right; Ward slipped but recovered to concede a corner. Pettefer replaced Anderton in injury-time, going wide-right, so had little opportunity to show his abilities. Much relief in the away section at full-time: 1-1.

Overall - pretty poor stuff. 7 of the starting 11 were regulars late last season, but didn't look like the near-escapees. The newcomers showed mixed abilities. Bond's hands are tied financially for the foreseeable future; the mark of a good manager/coach is how well he makes do with what he has available. So far - not much. Hollands can't return quick enough, but the team needs a lot more than that if we're to catch teams such as Chester and stay ahead of Luton.

Jalal - more than competent, but his kicking is suspect and sometimes his catching or dealing with crosses makes some nervous.
Bradbury - largely competent, but we need someone better in that position even more than in most others.
Guyett - strong, but another yard of pace would be useful.
Ward - steady.
Cummings - not always in the right position; not the player he was.
Bartley - battled, but not a winger. Needs to be running from central midfield at the defence.
Cooper - everywhere. Perhaps needs to have a more defined role covering behind Anderton; in that position he might've helped prevent the goal.
Anderton - showed most of any quality in the game, but no longer has the legs to go with his brain. Needs better players around him to be more effective.
Igoe - contributed little apart from a few pretty triangles in the third quarter. Very disappointing for someone with his experience.
Pitman - had several efforts and should've buried at least 2. Curiously looked better when deeper after the first substitution.
Kuffour - kept looking for, and trying to create, openings. Should deliver more end product, but then would need better service.
Sappleton - big and bad; took his goal well, showing self-confidence in the strike.
Pettefer - tidy and probing in his ultra-brief cameo.

Man Of The Match
MOTM: Kuffour.

AFCB: Jalal, Bradbury, Guyett, Ward, Cummings; Bartley, Cooper, Anderton, Igoe; Pitman, Kuffour
Subs: Pryce, Partington, Pearce, Sappleton (for Igoe, 67 mins), Pettefer (for Anderton, 92 mins)
Peter Wicks, Bulford