Feeney surged forward, shooting at the keeper, then from a corner one of his curve specials went the same way. A couple of drums started up behind us in the East Stand; permission from the club chairman, but not to the pleasure of this reporter or those around him. Robinson had a strike parried low down, & Cooper anticipated well twice. Symes slung a long one to Pugh whose low cross was held down at the near post. Pugh was held back – the first (and only) Orient yellow. The pressure was good, but after 10 minutes it had to be made to count. Jalal had to save low down at the near post from a left-wing attack. Then it started raining.
Feeney showed great persistence, winning it back & putting in a low cross – again a near-post collect. An away break meant good deep cover from the home side. Feeney’s long cross saw Pugh put it wide. The strengthening wind meant the teams needed to keep it down more than they were doing, but even on the ground it proved problematical. Orient put in a long shot just wide – looking to play football & take the game to the home side. Boscombe attacks meant a big hole in midfield in front of the back 4. Ings hit a poor shot wide, but the ball was not falling for Boscombe in the away area. Feeney showed excellent strength – a further development of his game – giving Ings the chance to swap passes with Symes then hot it weakly. With Cummings behind him, Pugh had less support than the younger left-back, so perhaps was less effective. Cummings was down, then hobbling, but ran it off. Ings chased as much as always; Boscombe seemed the better side in all areas but…
Orient headed over, then the Orient 7 might’ve been yellowed for apparent simulation but not even a foul was given. Soon his challenge was studs-up, waist-high, so that could (should) have been 2 yellows thus a red. This lack of application proved decisive. Symes put another visionary pass out to Pugh; onto Cummings who won a corner that was put onto the bar. Then from a launch from the back, Symes controlled and turned in one movement, his marker stranded. Symes glided into the area, inside-left, and stroked it right-footed past the keeper’s left hand. Lovely stuff; class. 1-0, 39. Did Orient have a plan B?
Ings seemed to have been pushed over in the D, but no foul; from the West Stand another Exile felt it was a poor attempt at diving. The half ended with some unnecessary panic in the home defence. HT: 1-0
Orient started with a left-wing break; Jalal made a great block from the shot. Hollands was sharp in passing and snapping into tackles, but sometimes was a yard slow in tracking back. Orient were more at it, with Boscombe playing their way out. Hollands had words from the ref. for a superb tackle. But Cummings’s great tackle released Pugh for a run & into Ings who was felled on the edge of the area. Pugh hit the free too high – a near-gale now from the North Stand direction. Pearce was crocked briefly; pinball in the Orient area saw Robinson hit it at the keeper, then he combined with Pugh but the cross went to the keeper. Robinson was supporting attacks more by now. Smith put in a good run, swapping passes with Symes for the latter to move forward & hit the side netting. Boscombe seemed more in control; Symes fed Ings who won a corner. But Orient still looked to go forward. Symes showed good strength again, then Jalal had a problem that allowed a water break. This seems to be by prior arrangement.
Symes flicked to Ings whose attempt was tipped round for a corner; this was the poorest of his 3 options. He could’ve drawn the keeper then go right, or – even better – square to Symes for the tap-in. He’ll learn – if the coaches do the right thing. Symes went in & out; Ings’ header from the cross was held. Hollands was muscling Orient midfielders out of the way. Another assault on the Orient area really should’ve seen a 2nd; Boscombe began to play deeper, allowing Orient onto them more. So the inevitable; a cross from the right, that pesky 7 stuck his foot at it, the ball looped over Jalal into the far corner. 1-1. 90. Bradbury did a double-swap: Fletcher for Symes, & debutant Williamson for Ings. The leaving players had a great ovation; Williamson did not seem to have a touch of any intent during added time. Then Cummings hit a long free way too long. FT: 1-1
This felt like an assegai to the heart; with 3 points seemingly in the bag, then suddenly as if one had been told a colostomy was required. Yet again, even given the fortunate contact by the scorer, Boscombe failed to close out the game. (Feeney’s opener on Tuesday had been deflected – so what goes around comes around. And how come, after such a good first half, did Feeney almost disappear in the second period?) For all their strong driving work, Pearce & Hollands had to take charge to ensure the win. Bradbury has to share responsibility; perhaps naivety on his current stretch of the learning curve, not relaying the right tactics at the right time (e.g. adapting to the conditions better, & closing out), & perhaps wrong with selection & timing of substitutes. The team is still in second place, but with main competitors catching up with games in hand. Like the Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, Boscombe now has to run as fast as possible to stay in the same place.
Given the comments above, I agree with the match sponsors - Symes.
AFCB: Jalal, Smith, Cooper, Pearce, Cummings, Feeney, Hollands, Robinson, Pugh, Symes, Ings
Subs: Stewart, Purches, Baudry, Arter, Partington, Fletcher (for Symes, 91 mins), Williamson (for Ings, 91 mins)
Peter Wicks, Bulford