Feb 14 AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Notts County Att: 6332

Last updated : 17 February 2004 By Ellis Griffin
Given the fact that the visitors had gone 61 games since their last goalless draw and our propensity for ending opponents' poor runs, I even had a small bet on a 0-0 result. Add to that the fact that County have recently shown signs of improvement, and a close game looked on the cards.

Wade Elliott started his first game for a while, with James Hayter a bit unlucky to be left on the bench after a good performance at Plymouth. However, he was on the pitch just 10 minutes into the game when Warren Feeney had to hobble off after turning his ankle over. This forced change might have had something to do with the rather laboured performance of the team in the first period. They seemed to have no fizz and were unable to create enough tempo to disrupt a well-organised Notts defence. Indeed the visitors had most of the early shots on goal, and Moss had to push an awkwardly bouncing effort from McGoldrick out for a corner.

Although Big Fletch was winning everything in the air, we were creating few chances and Garden, the visitors' portly keeper, had very little to do. The crowd were so quiet you could hear the players' shouts like in a park game (but at least we were spared Peter Grant's Gaelic ranting!) It was a very strange atmosphere.

The only other thing I can remember from a dull-as-ditchwater first half was a Fletch header that went just wide and a great bit of skill from Hayter who dinked the ball over a defender in the box, caught it on the half-volley but his shot flew wide. In fact Hayter was out liveliest player throughout. However, I was beginning to wish I'd had the courage of my convictions and placed a more sizeable bet on a nil-nil result.

HT: 0-0

I wish I could say that SOD's half-time team talk got the lads fired up and that we really went for it in the second half, but alas the game continued in the same vein with County working very hard and us never quite getting a grip on the match. The North Stand, to their credit, did their best to create a bit of noise and the atmosphere did go up a couple of notches. On 65 minutes, the manager made a substitution, but not a tactical one, as Broadhurst was stretchered off after a clash of heads and was replaced by Shaun Mayer. In a funny way, this was just as well, as Broady was being given the run-around by the nippy Heffernan who had come close to scoring on a couple of occasions.

With his only remaining substitution, the Manager brought on Derek Holmes for the disappointing Elliott with just ten minutes to go. By this time I was already counting my winnings, as we didn't look like breaking the visitors down in a month of Sundays.

But all that changed just three minutes later: Cummings struck an early cross from the left, Deadly chested the ball down and Hayter rounded off an excellent performance by striking a low shot low into the left-hand corner from just inside the box.

The next ten minutes were easily the most gripping of the entire game with County determined to rescue the point which in all honesty they thoroughly deserved. However, some poor finishing and a couple of brilliant stops by Mossie, including a 1-on-1 with Bolland, allowed us to hold on to all three points. But it was nerve-wracking stuff!

I don't know why we were so lethargic today. I can't believe (as SOD later claimed on Solent) that it down to the mild weather! However, we ground out a result and I was, of course, happy to lose my bet as we secured our first double of the season. Bring on the Brighton!

James Hayter
. Not just for the goal, but a good all-round performance.

AFCB: Moss, Buxton, Broadhurst (Maher 65), C.Fletcher, Cummings, Purches, Browning, Jorgensen, Elliott (Holmes 80), Feeney (Hayter 9), S.Fletcher
Subs not used: Stock, O'Connor
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey