Feb 24 Dagenham & Redbridge 0-1 AFC Bournemouth Att: 1602

Last updated : 28 February 2009 By Peter Wicks
The patched-up team saw Garry starting in central defence, Cummings back at left-back, Pitman wide-right, Igoe wide-left & Connell alongside Fletcher. With a threadbare squad, Tindall was on the bench!!! Cherries KO away from us towards the "east", scoreboard, end, & very soon Cummings had to clear off the line. Home pressure saw all 4 defenders, + Molesley, coping well until Garry passed back weakly; Pearce covered well. Molesley responded with a drive forward & a left-footer over. Jalal had to palm over a 25-yard screamer. Even Connell had to help out, at left-back; all hands to the pump. Cherries were not settling to a pattern, with Daggers brighter, sharper, quicker, more energy. Hollands & Molesley were having to help out the defence rather than prevent attacks developing further up field. Robinson & Molesley clashed in clearing, but soon recovered.

Another attack saw Jalal palming away low to his left. The ball came back in, & in-off Cummings, but the flag went up for offside; Daggers possibly unlucky. Pitman, working hard to support Robinson, was felled but rejoined quickly. Pinball in the away area resulted in shouts for handball, waved away by the ref. And the ball was not falling for Boscombe in the home area. Pearce & Hollands put in some great covering around the away penalty spot; Garry missed a clearance & the ball slipped just wide of Jalal's LH post. Jalal had taken control of his area, & so far played the best he's done this season. Even his kicking had improved. From a Daggers corner, Pearce's great header saw Igoe & Cummings interchange superbly going up field until Connell was fouled. Pitman's free gave a corner, allowing Daggers to break out but Robinson came across to cover well.

Beyond the half-hour, with all the home pressure, a heretical thought: the ideal situation for an away sucker-punch, as has happened to Cherries so many times. Hollands & Molesley were still too far back too often. Cherries were fortunate to be all-square; each Boscombe player had had to fight like a slumdog. HT: 0-0.

From the restart, another great clearing header; second verse, same as the first. Fletcher soared to head for a goal kick. Jalal was down well several times in the half, but with Pitman & Igoe having swapped flanks there were glimpses of Cherries going forward. Connell was pulled down via his shirt, but no free. Molesley put Igoe away, but the cross was too long. Goulding replaced Connell on 61; what a pacy front pair now on display… Molesley had another crack, left-footed, from 22 yards. Igoe, given more room on the right, had a run & cross - the ball going between Goulding & Fletcher. Molesley burst forward again - great enthusiasm. Garry needed replacing, so Tindall came on at 69. Goulding & Fletcher engaged in head tennis, & Jalal caught well again. Daggers hit one wide, & a late clearance (Tindall?) was made at the post.

Cherries fought back; Molesley's run gave Igoe the space to cross. Goulding headed onto the base of the post & the goalie managed to collect in the scramble. The home side had by now come down to Boscombe's level, exemplified by the home keeper kicking abysmally (the most entertaining aspect so far) & looking increasingly unconfident. Ribald banter from the away section didn't help him; still, he's only a short time away from his pension. Fletcher headed aimlessly again, but Goulding beat the keeper on the home right wing & from there rushed his decision a little, hitting the ball just outside the far post when going a few steps further in he might've done better. All 4 central forwards were penalised nearly every time they challenged for the ball. Molesley & Igoe linked well again, & Tindall made another last-ditch play. This was muck & nettles, & we just hoped to hang on for a miserable point, with Grimsby having gone 2-0 up at home to Morecambe. Goulding headed just behind Fletcher, but then with less than a minute left Molesley received from Tindall, cut in from the right, & from inside-right 20 yards out shot left-footed across the keeper & inside the post. 0-1, 90+3! That's how to time it! Barely time to restart; Cherries had done what so many others had done to our team. Each of us felt like a millionaire! FT: 0-1.

The team came over to us & we all celebrated together. Then news from Blundell Park; Morecambe had hit a late winner (2-3). Joy unconfined, Prometheus unbound! Imagine the psychological effect on the Mariners: a player sent off, conceding 3 at home, losing at home, and then hearing of Cherries winning away. Um, revenge developing for Wembley '98? But let's face facts; this was a poor game, with an outstanding rear-guard effort. All contributed massively, digging in, never-say-die.

Man Of The Match
Big ups to Jalal, Garry, Tindall & (especially) Pearce for backs-to-the-wall defending, all solid rocks. But for "every blade of grass" coverage, driving, shooting, & that goal, it has (just) to be Molesley.

AFCB: Jalal, Robinson, Pearce, Garry, Cummings, Molesley, Hollands, Igoe, Connell, Fletcher, Pitman
Subs: Pryce, Feeney, McQuoid, Goulding (for Connell, 61 mins), Tindall (for Garry, 69 mins)
Peter Wicks, Bulford