March 17 Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 AFC Bournemouth Att: 18799

Last updated : 22 March 2004 By Andy Burton
Oh how the mighty have fallen!! Once a proud Premiership side just a few short seasons ago, the mighty Owls will be lucky to finish mid table in Nationwide League Division Two. On the other hand, comparative minnows, AFC Bournemouth could well be en route to make the Second Division Play-Offs, bidding for back-to-back Play-Off success!!

Bournemouth kicked off towards the home end and were clearly not intimidated by either the surroundings or the good sized crowd (even though the home crowd looked sparse given the 39859 capacity). As it turned out, it was their lowest League gate so far this season.

As early the 2nd minute, the ball flashed in front of the Wednesday goal after an excellent move involving Cummings and Purches, the cross just avoiding Hayter at the far post. Bournemouth continued to dominate proceedings. This was reinforced as Hayter thread a lovely ball to Jorgensen, who was upended just outside the Wednesday area. It was played short to Carl Fletcher who spanked the ball home from all of 25-yards as the ball found its way through a non-existent Wednesday wall. Cue celebrations!! All this after just 11 minutes!!

The game was all but over 9 minutes later as Steve Fletcher found himself on the end of another nice through ball, this time from Hayter. He only had to sweep the ball in as the Wednesday defence was once again AWOL!! You’d have thought that Bournemouth was the home side, such was their dominance in all areas of the pitch. Even when the ‘home’ side did start to move forward, they were severely hindered, either in midfield, defence, or they just made things very easy for Moss to deal with. One example coming with 10 minutes to go before the break when Steve Fletcher raced back like there was no tomorrow to save a throw in, much to the surprise of the home player!!

Even as the half ended, Bournemouth were still very much on top, leaving Wednesday scratching their heads as to what to do with these up start Southerners!! How do we teach them how a thing or two on how to play the game!!

HT: 0-2

As the second period got under way, there wasn’t much chance of Sheffield Weds being as poor for a second 45-minutes surely? In short the answer was no, they weren’t. But they were referee assisted – like a weather vein stuck pointing the same direction!! A good example coming early in the second period when a Wednesday player seemed to easily fall on the edge of the Bournemouth area. But in keeping with their poor performance, Wednesday gifted Bournemouth the ball as we suddenly had 3 against 1, Feeney laid the ball wide to Carl Fletcher, who couldn’t find the target, when in fact a third goal should have been the result.

On the same vein, there were many instances when Wednesday players either went down too easily, or were allowed to get away with ‘stronger’ challenges than Bournemouth were.

Wednesday, for their part were confined to long range efforts which never troubled Neil Moss one jot – good catching practice for him I’d imagine!! Another sign that Wednesday were all over the place was all to evident when two of their players were going for the same ball!! A distinct lack of communication me thinks!!

Bournemouth kept on going as Steve Fletcher wasted a good chance on the hour mark. There were times when Bournemouth’s passing game was superb, unfortunately there was no end result to really trouble Kevin Pressman.

You hear how much Northern footy fans love their game and how loyal they are to their teams, especially where the bigger clubs are concerned. I was amazed that such fans were all too happy to start leaving Hillsborough with 15 minutes to go, and by the end of the match, there must have been less than 9000 left in the Stadium.

As for the man of the match award, I’ll have to give it to the entire squad, each one of them fully played their part in a fantastic team performance.

AFCB: Moss, Maher, C Fletcher, Buxton, Cummings, Purches, Browning, Hayter, Jorgensen, Feeney, S Fletcher
Subs: Holmes (for Hayter, 85 mins), Broadhurst (for S Fletcher, 89), Stock (for Purches, 90), Elliott, O’Connor
Andy Burton, Portsmouth