March 14 Macclesfield 0-2 AFC Bournemouth Att: 1589

Last updated : 17 March 2009 By Peter Wicks
A dry, bright and blustery afternoon. Pre-match entertainment was provided by your correspondent in a display of the hot new sport of chicken balti pie juggling; with a few technical improvements, it should be on the Olympic list for 2016. Now we know why John Lennon had blisters on his fingers at the end of Helter Skelter… The away contingent sat in the town end section of the full-length west stand.

Our thoughts were again with Connell and his family bereavement, so a re-juggled side saw Bradbury returning (glad to see him over the injury but at right-back?). Robinson stayed central midfield so Pitman continued on the left. Hollands captained. Cherries k.o. towards the town end. Pitman crossed; Goulding seemed to think he was offside so he stopped, but needlessly. Molesley was working well; another good move on the right by him won a corner. Goulding took advantage of a defensive error, but the keeper was in the way. Pearce then headed clear at the other end. The wind prevented either side settling; Cummings had to be busy at left-back. Goulding & Pitman were linking; Molesley was nearly in. Cummings slipped twice - studs? Macc made more errors & thus exerted less pressure. Hollands seemed to have a crack on the head; merely a temporary problem. Robinson was sitting, allowing Hollands to go forward.

Jalal had to come & head for a throw; neither side dominated & it was pretty mediocre. Sometimes too much football from Cherries (especially Pitman & Goulding) who might've prospered more by just lobbing the ball over the home defence (copyright Phil H.). Jalal had to go down well on a Macc break-out, then Goulding was offered a central route through & by not putting his head up neglected to choose Molesley, clear at inside-right. Jalal caught well from a corner, then Goulding burst through but failed to find a trailing Fletcher. Macc continued being energetic but mediocre; it was catching as Molesley again over-hit a through ball to Pitman. Jim P spat out the word "sloppy". Bradbury came in; back to Hollands who shot just wide; a momentary palpitation, but nothing to break the sphygmomanometer. Frankly, there's better football in the Wessex. If Cherries were first to the ball, it was through better positioning or errors by the home side. If Macc were first to the ball, perhaps they wanted it a little more. Too often Cherries went down to the Macc level; there was a need to keep it simple. Pitman had a lucky deflection but hit the shot over the back wall of the end terrace. HT: 0-0.

EH provided another example of his tactical acuity by shuffling the pack. Robinson went to right-back, Molesley inside, allowing Bradbury to roam up the right wing. Certainly Cherries were brighter; even more so when Pitman hit a long ball over from the left, Bradbury from beyond the far post hit it across the keeper & just inside the post. 0-1, 50 min - yes! Pitman was wide from the left, then Cummings had to concede a corner. The away defence pushed Macc out (Garry improving every game, an absolute rock), but Pearce had to concede another corner from which the break-out saw Molesley feed Pitman who went full pelt & pass out to Hollands who won a corner. Molesley released Goulding who lobbed to the keeper. Cherries were so much more fluid now, playing with some confidence, but Goulding was still so tentative in front of goal. Molesley showed excellence going across & down the left, but Cummings was yellowed for delaying a throw. Fletcher's header allowed Hollands to twist & shoot; it was 70% Cherries now, although Boscombe reject Danny Thomas did his twisty thing on his wing. Molesley chipped from just outside the "D" allowing Bradbury (didn't Macc learn?) to hit it at the keeper at his near post. The ball squirmed under his body; 0-2, 70 min! Thomas' lack of tracking back was a big factor in both goals.

There was an interesting arrangement for a Macc free: one player stood on the away 6-yard line, well offside, but ran back into the wall as the kick was about to be taken. Didn't fool the Cherries defence! Goulding went through at inside-left, shooting left-footed just wide. No excuse there for not hitting the target. Macc still game; another corner was pushed out & Jalal caught the play-in. Good work fed Bradbury, but Fletcher hashed the header from the cross. Jalal punched out, & a screamer went over his bar. FT: 0-2.

After the warm-down huddle, the team came over to us to celebrate. We need to see this result in context; on-field matters are improving: performances, points, position. The mentality's right: absorb first-half pressure then look for second-half opportunities. At last a team that can win ugly. But let's not kid ourselves; the team needs more quality at right-back, wide left & right, & up front. Even so, when did Boscombe last win 2 away league games in the same week? When did this supporter attend such a feat?
This from players who've not been paid properly for ages, from a club whose non-playing staff have not been paid at all for some time. Impeccable sources revealed allegations to this reporter that the actions of, and seeming lies told by, certain top brass departed the club recently make Bernard Madoff look like a philanthropist. Let's hope that Jean-Claude van Damme (or Adam Murry, as he's known in SE Dorset) can use his contacts to provide the funds to let the club see out the season. As for a middle-eastern consortium, there's a whisper that Lord Lucan will ride over the hill next week on Shergar; in the saddle-bag the crock of gold they found at the end of the rainbow. More chance of that than fake sheiks.

Man Of The Match
Honourable mentions time. Massive effort from all. As a trio, Jalal, Garry & Pearce have that no pasaran attitude. Hollands drove, covered, organized, & perhaps showed glimpses of dominating. Bradbury for both goals. But for sheer energy & drive: (marginally) Molesley.

AFCB: Jalal, Bradbury, Pearce, Garry, Cummings, Molesley, Hollands, Robinson, Pitman, Goulding, Fletcher
Subs: Pryce, Guyett, Feeney, McQuoid, Partington
Peter Wicks, Bulford