Dec 28 AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Huddersfield Town Att 8448

Last updated : 29 December 2004 By Stuart Mitchell
In fact it was the Terriers who started brightly and it was pleasing to see a team come to Dean Court and attempt to play football rather than nick a goal and defend for 90 mins like many teams do. The first clear cut chance, however, fell to the southerners when Garreth O’Connor fired a tremendous shot from fully 35 yards after good work from the industrious Spicer. It looked like it might go in but just flashed inches wide of Rachubka’s goal.

Big Fletch was restored to the starting eleven after missing the Swindon win through family reasons, and he was proving his selection fully justified by winning everything in the air and holding the ball up well, whilst strike partner Connell ran after everything and looked sharp. But this was not all one way traffic and O’Connor had to be alert to Abbott’s presence on the edge of the 6 yard box, as the Town top scorer looked to add to his 16 goals for the season.

Warren Cummings was having a great afternoon down the left hand side and he tried his luck from 25 yards only to shoot straight at the goalkeeper. Bournemouth were becoming more and more threatening and on another great run from Cummings he passed two defenders on his way towards goal and seemed to be fouled by Sodje as he attempted to round the keeper but the ball eventually found Spicer just inside the area who calmly fired the ball into the net. 1-0 after 17 minutes.

Huddersfield immediately looked to reply with defender Holdsworth firing a low shot into the side netting, whilst Brandon tried his luck from distance and Moss gathered a dangerously bobbling ball. It was a very end to end match with entertaining football and Huddersfield certainly looking like one of the better sides we’ve seen this year.

Connell meanwhile flicked the ball over the last man only for the goalkeeper to gather, and at the other end Karl Broadhurst made a fantastic last ditch tackle to deny Worthington a clear shot on goal. Town were pressing and from a corner the ball was cleared to Stock and Connell who, 2 on 2, could not take advantage.

The match then took a lively turn when after Broadhurst had kicked the ball out for Stock to receive treatment, Town midfielder Chris Brandon did not return the ball to the home side. The home support were not impressed and neither was Big Fletch who retaliated from the following throw in, clattering Brandon and some handbags followed.

Town had us a bit on the back foot and after Connell had cheekily gone close to lobbing Rachubka a wide ball in from the right saw McAliskey neatly control the ball on his chest and stride forward to easily fire past Moss with no chance for the Cherries' keeper. 1-1 after 38 minutes.

Connell and Clarke were then both booked for a clash, and Neil Young also found himself yellow carded for too much verbal! As half time approached Huddersfield could have taken the lead when Carss shot was pushed around the post by Moss and McAliskey shot over when well placed.

HT 1-1

The first half had seen periods of good attacking play from both sides and the second half was no different. Fletch headed over from 3 yards but to be fair the goalkeeper should have taken it and probably put the big man off. Bournemouth had retaken hold of the game and forced a number of corners, Sodje consistently defending well against Fletcher’s heading and Connell’s running. From one the following corners, Stock rolled the ball to Spicer who had run in from the edge of the box and his first time shot was miss-hit, but the ball stayed loose and he volleyed it from an angle past an unsighted Rachubka to the delight of the North Stand. 2-1 after 51 minutes.

Bournemouth continued to press for the goal that could put this game to bed. Cummings and Spicer linked well on the left and kept up the continual pressure. The midfield guys were working hard but unfortunately Huddersfield had done their homework and restricted Wade to only one or two crosses. Their homework would have received an A+ from their manager Peter Jackson, when they worked out our weakness at defending set pieces. An inswinging corner was met with a firm head by David Mirfin 6 yards out and despite O’Connor’s best efforts at the far post, both referee and linesman agreed the ball had crossed the line. 2-2 after 60 minutes.

The next ten minutes was end to end action. Connell was crudely challenged from behind and Stock’s resultant free kick bobbled in front of Rachubka but Connell couldn’t quite reach it. Fletch then flicked on and again Connell was just an inch away from putting us in front again. Cummings made yet another surging run towards the box and this time was brought down by Brandon who was promptly booked. Connell again went close to scoring from the free kick when he turned to shoot, but the ever present Sodje was on hand to block the shot.

Frustration started to set in as the referee seemed to become more inconsistent, firstly getting in the way of a Bournemouth attack to set up a Huddersfield one, and then continually penalising cherries players for next to nothing. For example, Fletch jumped for a header but failed to reach it due to Sodje pulling him back with his arm around Supa’s neck, result = Huddersfield free kick.

As the crowd urged Cherries forward, O’Driscoll made, in my opinion, the wrong choice in substituting Connell for Rodrigues on 72 minutes. AC had looked lively and had chased everything, winning us numerous corners. I felt Huddersfield controlled the game from here on in. Abbott was denied by Young when in a great position, after Moss had parried a shot and Huddersfield went for the points.

Browning replaced O’Connor in midfield, and Young almost went clear on goal when put through by Spicer but was tackled well by Sodje despite calls for a penalty. Schofield was booked for time wasting late on and when Stock burst through he seemed to want to beat 3 players when a simple pass to a team mate would have sufficed. There was still one bit of drama to come though and Neil Moss almost grabbed my MOM award when in stoppage time Brandon was put though by Abbott one on one, and Moss saved superbly from what was almost a certain winner. Unfortunately Purches had to replace Cummings in stoppage time with what looked like a nasty injury.

So just 1 point today that could have been 3 if we had killed the game off when we had the chance, but it could also easily have been no points as Huddersfield had a couple of great chances to win it late on, so a fair result in the end and great performances from Moss, Cummings and Spicer.

Many would have had this down as a home win, but Huddersfield fully deserved their point and could have had all 3, but for Neil Moss.

John Spicer

: Moss; Broadhurst, Maher, Young, Cummings (Purches 90), Spicer, O’Connor (Browning 84), Stock, Elliott, Fletcher, Connell (Rodrigues 72).
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Holmes.

Stuart Mitchell, West Moors, Dorset