Jan 7 Tranmere Rovers 0-0 AFC Bournemouth Att: 6717

Last updated : 08 January 2006 By Rob Mann
The Cherries kicked off playing towards their travelling fans in driving sleet on what looked a bog of a pitch. The first ten minutes or so saw heavy Tranmere pressure with the home team looking confident after having won their last three games. Gareth Stewart was called into action after 3 minutes, making a fine save from a Jason McAteer free kick after James O’Connor had fouled on the edge of the area.

A minute later Calvin Zola shot narrowly high and wide earning sighs of relief in the away end! The next 15 minutes or so saw the game settle down to a degree of inactivity. Stock had a half chance from about 25 yards but blazed high and wide when he should at least have hit the target with the time and space he had.

Another rare Cherries attack saw James O’Connor put through down the wing by a great ball from Neil Young. Sadly his cross saw no Bournemouth players near the Tranmere box.

As the half went on and our frostbite worsened Tranmere upped the tempo once again. Harrison sliced a shot wide after we had given the ball away cheaply. Then Mike Jackson headed wide from a McAteer cross.

Still the pressure came and a free header from Ian Sharps came back off the bar with Gareth Stewart well beaten. Next to try was Greenacre on the volley after a harsh booking to Callum Hart (although maybe he deserved the booking for the tights he was wearing to keep warm!), but Stewart was equal to the effort.

After a few more wild attempts by Tranmere which did not trouble Gareth Stewart the half time whistle came with the Cherries not having had a single shot or header on target.

HT: 0-0

The Cherries started the 2nd half by far the better team, passing the ball around well for the first 10-15 minutes. Browning had an effort well blocked. Then on the 51 minute mark Dani set up Purches after a great ball from Brian Stock, but sadly his shot flashed wide. A good save from Stewart from Sam Aiston quickly followed with play switching ends.

For about the next 20 minutes I can think of nothing worth reporting as both teams seemed to hibernate in midfield. A goalmouth scramble in the Tranmere penalty area briefly woke us up with both Dani and James hunting for the loose ball! The 80 minute mark saw the last real bit of drama with Callum Hart, tights and all, heading off the line from Goodison.

You kind of sensed by now that a point was the best we were going to get. O’Driscoll confirmed this by strengthening the defence, with Howe and Tindall replacing the by now ineffective Foley and Rodrigues. The final whistle was greeted with warm applause by the travelling Cherries - glad of the point and the chance to go and get warm!

Man Of The MatchGareth Stewart for earning us the point with some great keeping. However, at the moment the 6 point gap to the playoffs seems a lot with our lack of attacking options.

AFCB: Stewart, O'Connor, Cooper, Hart, Young, Purches, Stock, Browning, Foley, Fletcher, Hayter, Rodrigues
Subs: Moss, Pitman, Coutts, Tindall (on for Foley, 88), Howe (on for Rodrigues, 90)

Rob Mann, Kingskerswell, Devon