Aug 30 Luton Town 1-0 AFC Bournemouth Att: 7404

Last updated : 02 September 2004 By Ellis Griffin

Injuries to Elliott (out for a month with a broken toe), Browning and Holmes meant that Gareth O’Connor and Alan Connell got their first starts of the season, with Neil Young returning at right back.

Bare bones or not, we gave a good account of ourselves in the first half, with O’Connor in particular catching the eye in midfield. However, Luton had the edge and our back three of Broadhurst, Howe and Maher had to defend a steady stream of dangerous crosses. Former Cherries regular Steve Robinson was instrumental in most of the Hatters’ moves, and it was from a corner taken by him that the home side nearly took the lead around the half-hour mark. Coyne connected well with a close-range header, but Neil Moss made an excellent reflex save to tip the ball over the bar. Earlier Moss had done well to save a low 25-yarder from Nicholls and was by far the busier of the two keepers.

At the other end we managed a few attacks of our own, mainly involving Cummings down the left flank, but without creating a clear-cut chance. O’Connor intercepted a loose pass and shot narrowly wide, and near the end of the half Connell went close with a header. However, we were battling well, particularly in midfield, and the players left the pitch at half time to well-deserved applause.

HT: 0-0

After the break, it was again the home side who were looking the more dangerous, but the best chance of the game fell to Alan Connell in the 57th minute when Beresford miscued a goal kick straight to him. The Cherries striker found himself one-on-one the Hatters' keeper, but stabbed his shot a yard wide. Not a good day for the lad, as he was getting roughed up by the home defence and was laid out on one occasion following an off-the-ball incident. All good learning experience, no doubt…

At the other end Moss was playing a blinder and looked unbeatable, tipping a Howard drive round the post and saving with his legs from Vine who found himself clean through after a rare mistake by Howe.

Our attempts to hit our opponents on the break were becoming more and more sporadic and we were now giving the ball away too cheaply once in possession. Fatigue may have been a factor, but the manager (perhaps understandably) was loath to bring on fresh legs. Nevertheless, it was beginning to look as if we might frustrate the home side and hold on for a point.

But it was not to be. With just 9 minutes remaining, Nicholls tried his luck from a good 25 yards and his shot curled sweetly into the net with Mossie nowhere near it. There was no coming back. Deadly was risked for the last minutes, and Ryan Moss (no relation?) was introduced to the bafflement of the Cherries’ fans, many of whom had never heard of him.

So a disappointing result, but hardly surprising in the circumstances. Luton were well organised, physically stronger than us and deserved to win, but if that’s the standard needed for success in this league, we aren’t far off. However, the manager’s options are limited and with no money to add to the squad, injuries are bound to take their toll this season. It's worrying that we didn't manage a single shot on target. On the positive side, we battled right to the end and nearly got an unlikely point.

Neil Moss who kept us in the game

AFCB: N Moss, Broadhurst, Howe, Moss, Maher, Young, Cummings, C Fletcher, O'Connor, Stock, Hayter, Connell
Subs: Stewart, R Moss (on for Connell, 90), Holmes (for Young, 85), Coutts, Rowe

Ellis Griffin, Chertsey