Aug 25 AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Swindon Town Att: 6606

Last updated : 27 August 2003 By Ellis Griffin
Most of the home fans were delighted to see Warren Feeney starting a match instead of coming on for a few minutes at the end. However, the defence looked a bit makeshift with Cummings and Tindall both out injured and Maher having to return before being match-fit. This meant Hayter having to double up as left wing-back – not his best position.

Feeney was involved from the off and immediately set up Browning for a snap shot that forced Griemink into action. However, the visitors weathered the early storm and began to look the more composed side. And they took the lead after 17 minutes following a somewhat fortuitous deflection for a corner. The initial ball into the box was headed clear but came straight back to Mooney who stooped to head past Moss who appeared to fumble the ball. Anyway, it rolled agonisingly slowly over the line. A soft goal to give away.

However, the Cherries rallied and were level just 3 minutes later. O'Connor swung in a right-footed free kick from the left and Maher popped up at the far post to nod home. Not bad for his first game back!

The game then entered an open phase with chances at both ends. Generally, though, Swindon were looking the better side with Mooney and Parkin posing a threat to our rather fragile defence. Igoe, on the other hand, was being well policed by Purches. However, it wasn't any great surprise when the visitors regained the lead after 34 minutes when Parkin played Mooney in on the left. The ex-Birmingham City player's cross was blocked by Broadhurst but the ball eventually came to Robinson who scored easily.

Our biggest disappointment of the half was when the attention-seeking Mr Styles awarded us a free kick which he then theatrically moved forward 10 yards for dissent, right to the edge of the Swindon box. Garreth O'Connor wound himself up for the shot but then held his head in his hands when the ball ended up high in the North Stand.

HT 1-2

The feeling at half-time was that we could go even further behind, given our defensive shortcomings so evident during the first period. However, a combination of Swindon deciding to hold on to what they'd got and us getting our act together gave the home fans a bit more to cheer about in the second half.

And it was that man Feeney who was instrumental. First his persistence brought the crowd to their feet when he dispossessed a defender on the right-touch line, sprinted for goal and set up O'Connor near the penalty spot. However, the Irishman took one touch too many and the chance went begging. Feeney then went close himself with a lovely piece of skill. In one movement he turned his marker on the edge of the box and shot right-footed against the near post.

The deserved equaliser finally came on the hour mark when O'Connor's cross from the right went all the way across to Feeney on the bye-line. The fans' favourite crossed right-footed and Hayter rose to plant a firm header just inside the far post.

With Swindon holding on now, we came close to getting the winner when Browning's shot was somehow deflected over. Connell replaced Feeney on 76 minutes, but the Robins stood firm and prevented us from launching an onslaught in the last five minutes.

All in all, a draw was a fair result, as Swindon look like one of the better sides in the division. Our paper-thin squad certainly need strengthening, particularly at the back, so let's hope we can get someone decent in on loan. We looked at bit tentative at times today and didn't tackle hard enough. Confidence is probably a bit low after our disappointing start to the season. However, it was good to see Feeney back and Connell waiting in the wings. Broadhurst also had an excellent second half and Carl Fletcher continues to impress. Supafletch was unfortunately ineffective against a good central defender.

No-one really stood out, but Hayter deserves it for his "utility" role and scoring the equaliser.

AFCB: Moss, Broadhurst, C.Fletcher, Maher, Purches, Browning, O’Connor, Elliott, Hayter, S.Fletcher, Feeney (Connell 76)
Subs not used: Stewart, Thomas, Stock, Holmes
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey