Off–target efforts from Crewe’s Kenny Lunt (whose name was the source of much amusement for the aficionados of Spoonerisms amongst the visiting supporters) and Danny Thomas for Cherries. It was the Railwaymen who broke the deadlock just on the half hour when Steve Jones (no relation) finished a through ball from Vaughan from about 10 yards out.
The lead was short-lived though as 10 minutes later the home fans’ chants of what they were going to do to Stoke were interrupted by a goal for James Hayter who got on the end of a header down from Steve Fletcher which seemed to be deflected into his path. Hayter showed great technique in finishing the job from the edge of the six yard box.
Nil-nil at half time seemed a fair score and the late equaliser followed by Sean’s half time team talk seemed to liven the Cherries attitude as they came out with a real sense of purpose to come from behind. They didn’t have to wait long for the chance as within 5 minutes of the start of the second period Steve Fletcher was fouled inside the box and Garreth O’Connor stepped up to the spot. There’s a thin line between the perfect penalty that goes just inside the post and the disastrous one which bounces out and unfortunately O’Connor’s effort fell into the latter category to make the Irishman the latest in a long line of players to miss from the spot for Bournemouth.
Despite this disappointment the Cherries didn’t allow their heads to drop and continued to play some excellent football. A moment that was later to prove significant came a few minutes later when Crewe’s keeper Ince became the latest victim of the number 13 shirt and was substituted by Ademole Bankole with what appeared to be a hamstring pull. Apparently Crewe had practised penalties with Ince but not his understudy.
Even though Crewe had played on Saturday whilst the Cherries rested following the postponement of the Cambridge game, it was the home side who appeared to have more stamina and came more into the game as the second half proceeded. Vaughan, Jones and Lunt all went close with Cherries restricted to half chances from Stock and O’Connor.
After a fairly regulation 80 minutes Chris Tardif earned his corn with three excellent saves in quick succession to ensure that the game went into extra time.
As in the second half of normal time Bournemouth started the stronger and tested the replacement keeper a couple of times with long shots that he gathered at the second attempt. Frustratingly on both occasions the Bournemouth strikers (and notably Big Fletch) failed to follow up and the keeper was able to re-gather the ball. Whether it was a learning curve or the result of the strong ‘advice’ being shouted from the away support I’m not sure, but on the third occasion when Bankole fumbled Steve Fletcher was on hand to tuck the ball away and put the Cherries ahead 10 minutes into extra time. The remainder of the first period saw the Cherries predictably and successfully play out time in the corners.
Despite the normal jitters that accompany a lead away from home I really couldn’t see the Railwayman getting back into the game and when World Cup star(?) Efe Sodje was introduced with 119 minutes played it all seemed too late. Sodje, who had plenty to say in the papers following the first game, had other ideas. The defence seemed for once to fall asleep (well it was getting late) and Sodje popped up at the far post to head home a deep cross. The clock by now was showing 3 minutes of added time and nobody amongst the visiting support could see where the ref had found that from.
It was a sickening blow and could easily have led to a disappointing performance in the resultant penalty shoot-out taken, inevitably, in front of the home end. Crewe won the toss and elected to take first.
Brammer – too close to the keeper Tardif saves 0-0.
Elliott - scored 0-1
Lunt – brilliant save by Tardif pushed against the post.
Holmes – scored 0-2
Jones – missed hit post 0-2
Steve Fletcher – good save by Bankole 0-2 (surely we can’t mess it up now!)
Wright – scored 1-2
Feeney – scored 1-3 YEEEEEEEEES!!!!
So it’s off to Stoke and a reunion with a certain Mr Pulis. A brilliant emotional night that will live long even in my beer addled memory ( oh, and £50,000 prize money too!).
AFC Bournemouth: Tardif, Stephen Purches, Carl Fletcher, Tindall, Narada (Holmes 94), Thomas (Foyewa 119), Stock, O'Connor (Feeney 83), Elliott, Steve Fletcher, Hayter.
Subs Not Used: Petterson, John Purches.
Clive Loader, Wimbledon