One player immediately caught the eye when the teams came out, taller than all the rest by several inches and blonder than all the rest by some margin. During the first hour of the match, as Feeney and Pugh in particular, ably supported by Smith and Wiggins worked their magic down the flanks, however, it seemed that all their crosses were drawn to Lighthouse Ankergren as inexorably as moths to a lightbulb.
If the crosses weren’t aimed for his throat, then he moved very quickly to command a large part of his area.
What shots and headers there were, from both sides, went wide, apart from one long range effort from Wiggins which Ankergren spilled, low down, but a defender was on hand to clear for a corner. This was about the only ‘save’ that was made by either keeper in the whole match.
A pleasant surprise was the omission of top scorer Murray from the Albion. starting line up. Conversely, Symes started his first game in an age, not the paciest player but he held the ball up well and passed well. I like the way he knits our play together.
Albion looked to be playing a containing, possession game with the aim of hitting Cherries on the break but committed performances from the home team kept this threat to a minimum.
Poyet must have thought Albion were reasonably well positioned at half-time to carry on in the same vein and be 50/50 for an away win or a 0-0 draw.
I think he underestimated the resolve and ability of the Cherries for they started the second half like a team seriously determined to score the first goal, in a game that seemed to be destined for a one goal decider. After a couple more crosses to Ankegren it became clear that with our dominance down the flanks that, to be productive, crosses would have to be deliberately flighted well out of his range.
The first such cross did not pay a dividend but the second, from Wiggins, was gloriously volleyed by Feeney, low, hard and with enough bend off the outside of his right peg to clear a defender and beat Ankergren comfortably.
Albion immediately threw on Murray, Kishisev and Dicker and went routé one. Murray looked a handful and within a few minutes had headed the ball into the net only to be ruled offside.
He shot over when nicely set up on the edge of the box and that was the end of the scares as Cherries held out fairly comfortably. With 10 minutes to go your correspondent was confident that his sixth home match of the season would result in a sixth win and a sixth clean sheet. A satisfying pay-back for the demoralising 1-1 home draw with Brighton in April 1972.
Liam Feeney for his moment of magic.
AFCB: Jalal, Smith, Cooper, Pearce, Wiggins, Feeney, Bartley, Robinson, Pugh, Ings, Symes
Subs: Stewart, Purches, Cummings, Partington, Taylor, Hollands (for Bartley, 65 mins), Fletcher (for Symes, 75 mins)
Gordon Buchan, Yateley