Jan 2 AFC Bournemouth 0 Northampton Town 2 Att: 5715

Last updated : 02 January 2010 By Andy Burton

With Eddie Howe forced to shuffle his pack with the absence of Bartley and Cummings (through suspension), it was always going to be a tough match against a physical Northampton Town side, and so it proved.

The match didn't start too well, with the Cherries conceeding as early as the 5th minute as Lee Gutteridge drilled the ball home low past Jalal. It was all too easy at this stage of the game.

Matters didn't improve as the Cobblers doubled their advantage just 9 minutes later when Gilligan rifled the ball home from the edge of the area. Jalal simply didn't stand a chance with the strike. Gutteridge was (rightly) booked for his part as he sarcastically clapped the North Stand, which only served to wind them up!

Try as they might, the Cherries simply lacked invention to break Northampton down as our visitors, not unsurprisingly, then proceeded to defend with as many men behind the ball as possible.

Alan Connell was fairly ineffective (which is being very polite) was substituted on the half hour mark with Steve Fletcher being introduced in his place.

Northampton Town could, and should have extended their lead during the opening 45 minutes as a looping effort from distance came back off the right hand upright, and thankfully, from a Bournemouth point of view, to safety.

The second half was largely forgettable. Both sides managed to win their first corners and the Cherries managed their first effort on target as late as the 85th minute - which was easily dealt with by Dunn in the visitors goal. The introduction of Goulding mid way through the half injected some pace, but made no difference what so ever.

Overall, the match was hugely disappointing. How this can be turned round where by the Cherries can exert themselves and at least show they mean business when it comes to the business end of the season is another matter. Hopefully the return to first team action of Cummings, Bartley and Cooper will make a difference.

Man Of The MatchMan of the match ...... no one really shone out with any sparkling individual performance, but for returning to first team action with all the bruises he was sporting after the battering against Torquay United, I'll award it to Ryan Garry.

AFCB: Jalal, Bradbury, Pearce, Garry, Hollands, Feeney, Partington, Robinson, Igoe, Connell, Pitman
Subs: Thomas, Guyett, McQuoid, Fletcher (on for Connell, 30 mins), Goulding (on for Igoe, 68 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth