Jan 31 Lincoln City 3-3 AFC Bournemouth Att: 3634

Last updated : 05 February 2009 By Richie Barker
Lincoln had slightly the better of the opening stages and took the lead on 19 minutes We failed to win successive headers in the box and N'Guessan sent the second looping over Button's despairing dive into the net.

After the goal Molesley was switched from wide left to a more central role and Bournemouth gradually took control of midfield and the game. On 36 minutes he surprised the keeper with an early shot from distance which took a lively bounce before nestling in the bottom corner of the net - 1-1.

Bournemouth dominated the second half with Lincoln unable to maintain possession against a hard working midfield long enough to stem the flow of attacks. Pitman went closest, bringing a good save from the keeper from a free kick. We were well worth a goal during this spell, and the referee clearly agreed, awarding a soft penalty after Hollands went down following minimal pressure from behind from Beevers. Pitman confidently crashed the spot kick into the top right corner with the keeper going the wrong way. 12 minutes later we were in dreamland - two penalties away from home? This one was more clear cut as Pearce was knocked flying by a clumsy attempt to win a header from Beevers, although fair play to the referee for giving it, many would have ducked the decision. The keeper guessed wrongly that Pitman would repeat his earlier kick and was again was sent the wrong way again as the ball was struck firmly low to the bottom left corner.

13 minutes to go, 3-1 up, Lincoln not in the game - keep things tight for ten minutes and the points were in the bag. We managed nine. Then Beevers got his head to a free kick, and momentary relief as we saw the ball heading straight for Button at catchable height turned to disbelief as the ball squirmed through his hands and into the net.

From being dead and buried Lincoln were suddenly in with a chance as five minutes added time was announced. Button's nervousness seemed to spread through the team and the ball was being given away too easily and too often. We almost survived, but in the final minute of added time Frecklington shot from outside the box and Button, diving to his right, palmed it feebly into the net. As Lincoln by now had probably twigged that they didn't need to do much more than hit the target to score it was just as well that there wasn't time for any more significant action. At the final whistle Button trudged off alone as his devastated team team-mates struggled to pick themselves up sufficiently to applaud the equally stunned visiting supporters.

The disastrous denouement shouldn't be allowed to detract from the fact that this was a really encouraging team performance from the outfield players - but with so many errors from Button in so few games Jalal and Pryce must be wondering what they've done to be rated behind him, and it's a fair question. Button may have talent, but he lacks confidence and a relegation battle isn't the place for him to work on that - it's not doing him or us any good. Time for Howe to admit his mistake and cut his losses before it's too late.

Man Of The Match
Mark Molesley, who dominated midfield in combination with Bartley.

AFCB: Button, Ward, Cooper, Pearce, Wiggins, Thomson, Molesley, Bartley, Hollands, Fletcher, Pitman
Subs: Jalal, Igoe, Connell, Goulding, Partington (on for Thomson, 87 mins)
Richie Barker, Leytonstone