Jan 19 AFC Bournemouth 2-3 Huddersfield Town Att: 5307

Last updated : 23 January 2002 By Rob Mann
Embarrassingly inept would be but a kind word to describe the Cherries first half performance, which had the Huddersfield fans singing "Can We Play You Every Week".

I had a fit of prophecy in the pub before hand when I remarked to Ellis that if we conceded an early goal we could find things very hard. I had barely warmed my pen up when with the first attack of the game Huddersfield were 1-0 up, with an incisive break down the right wing by Chris Hay leading to Andy Booth getting in behind our defence unmarked and beating Stewart with ease with a powerful shot. We replied with one of two attacks, which we had in the first half with Wade Elliot (Ex Wizard!) missing totally a defence splitting cross by Brian Stock to groans from the home fans.

Worse was to come. The game drifted on for 20 minutes with little excitement until the Terriers won a corner from the left. Again our defence forgot how to mark, with an unmarked Knight having his volley blocked before the ball broke to Hay on the edge of the area who was curiously UNMARKED! He dispatched the ball into the corner of the net with a crisp shot to send the travelling fans into raptures! Bournemouth were looking a shambles (and yes it pains me to admit it). Huddersfield were looking like they could score at will. On 28 minutes it should have been 3-0 with Andy Booth missing a free header from about 6 yards out which had him holding his head in his hands in disgust. Two quick substitutions followed for Bournemouth with Richard Hughes replacing a bewildered David Birmingham and then Derek Holmes coming on for Melligan. There was just time for a quick chorus of "You Don’t Know What You’re Doing" from an increasingly anxious home support to Sean and Peter before we were 3-0 down on the 37 minute mark with Knight taking advantage of confusion between Broadhurst and Stewart to score with a free header. A chorus of boos echoed around the stadium the home crowd not quite believing or comprehending the carnage of the first half. The half time whistle went to scenes of utter disbelief and almost an ethereal atmosphere as the teams left the field.

The only certainty about the second half in my mind was that we couldn’t play any worse. We really could have done with Alex Ferguson doing his "Hair dryer Half Time Talk" though. But the Cherries came out and for 20 minutes played their best football of the game. Unfortunately though we only had one goal to show for it when on the 58 minute mark Derek Holmes was quickest to react when Carl Fletcher’s shot came back off the post, putting the rebound away well. The goal followed near misses by both Elliot and Fletcher himself .The home crowd to it’s credit was now really trying to lift the team although not really believing in miracles! In all honesty it should have been 4-1 to Huddersfield from the restart with Broadhurst committing defensive "Hari Kari" and some how the resultant one on one with Stewart saw the ball go over the bar when it looked easier to score.

The next 20 minutes or so saw Bournemouth sadly lose their way as the midfield of Huddersfield took control and our passes started to go astray. It was not until the dying minutes of the game that we saw Elliot clip the bar with a swerving 30-yard drive and Feeney blaze wide from about 6 yards with just the keeper to beat. With Bournemouth fans streaming for the exits Feeney did give the score line a modicum of respectability with a brilliant individual goal beating Margetson from an impossibly narrow angle with a fierce drive.5 minutes of injury time however brought no more clear cut chances but two desperate penalty appeals from the Cherries which sadly were not given. The final whistle saw the Cherries applauded but heads were noticeably down in our young side as they slumped to the turf in despair.

Afraid I am not going to award a man of the match award for the Cherries - no one deserved it. Wish I could finish on a note of optimism, guess a visit to Exeter next season will save on the petrol costs for me!!!!!

AFCB: Stewart, Tindall, Purches, Broadhurst, Birmingham, Elliott, C Fletcher, Melligan, Stock, Feeney, Hayter
Subs: Eribenne, O'Connor, Hughes (for Birmingham, 30 mins), Holmes (for Melligan, 35 mins), Maher
Rob Mann-Newton Abbot