Dec 28 AFC Bournemouth 3-3 Rochdale Att: 6240

Last updated : 29 December 2002 By Andy Burton
The signs were good from the start of this match when stand-in goal keeper Marcus Browning fired home from close range with the 'dale defence notably absent on just 4 minutes. Then on 10 minutes Browning rifled a shot against the cross bar, only to see Purches fire inches over from the rebound. Could an Australian cricket score be on the cards?

Unfortunately not as the momentum slipped to a pedestrian pace, allowing the sluggish visitors to gain a slice of the action. A poor clearance on the quarter hour allowed Flitcroft to volley the ball back in the Bournemouth area. Amazingly, both sets of players parted, like the Red Sea leaving debutant Blayney to scramble across his goal only to see the ball come off the far post and in to the net.

This gave fresh impetus to Rochdale who tried pressed forward, with no effect. With the match slipping rapidly towards the half time break, a lovely move involving O'Connor, feeding Thomas down the left, resulted in a perfect cross for Steve Fletcher to loop the ball over the smallest keeper in the Football League and to a deserved 2-1 lead on 45 minutes. Unfortunately Rochdale were presented with another equaliser deep in to first half injury time. Jason Tindall was clearly being pull back, his arm went up to counteract the pull which made contact with his arm - penalty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! An infringement the rest of the crowd saw, but the officials, who clearly had new flags, whistles etc for Christmas were keen to make use of them. Needless to say the penalty was converted, with Blayney going the wrong way.

After teh break, Bournemouth started with purpose, but got no where in terms of restoring the advantage. It was about this time that I started to feel that Rochdale were going to take the points through a sucker punch of a goal, and it came through a a bizarre keeping error.

Blayney tried to kick the ball out, only to see the effort hit the McEvilly. Thankfully in playing the ball forward to a colleague they were instantly offside - pure brilliance!! then moment later the same happened again. This time it looked like McEvilly controlled the ball with his hand (the lino judged it to be his chest), passed it properly for Platt to sidefoot in to an open net!! The sucker punch had arrived earlier than expected.

Thankfully we managed to get out of jail. Steve Fletcher was being impeded for the upteenth time, this time inside the area. This time Mr Rejer awarded us a penalty, which Gareth O'Connor duely dispatched. But is has to be said that the dimunitive Rochdale keeper almost saved the penalty.

Overall it was a disappointing performance when we all know that better performances are well within the teams grasp. With other sides around us not winning, we managed to hold on to fourth place, but unless we start winning league matches (last win on November 30), we'll be in danger of slipping down the table.


My man of the match nomination goes to Marcus Browning and Wade Elliott, both were superb on the day.

AFCB: Blayney, Young, Tindall, C Fletcher, Purches, Thomas, Browning, O'Connor, Elliott, Hayter, Fletcher
Subs: Petterson, Feeney (for Elliott on 72), Holmes, Stock, Narada
Andy Burton, Portsmouth