March 18 AFC Bournemouth 3-1 Leyton Orient Att: 5087

Last updated : 30 March 2003 By Andy Burton
Our visitors from the East End might have had the better of the opening exchanges, but it was Bournemouth who struck first with a venem we've not often seen recently.

Warren Cummings was released down the left hand side by Garreth O'Connor, his cross was inch perfect, not for Steve Fletcher, but for Billy Jones on the far post to head past his own keeper in the 9th minute!! It has to be said that it was a superb header!! If Big Fletch had got to the ball first, I suspect, looking back at the TV pictures, that he might have been slightly under the flight of the ball. Any contact might have sent it over the cross bar - so well left Steve!!

The first half rampage continued 6 minutes later when another excellent through ball found Jamie Hayter who, through a tangle with the defenders legs, managed to slide the ball home. The goal may have been credited as an own goal, but there was sifficient contact to consider (in my humble opinion) the strike as a Hayter goal.

With the Cherries 2-up in the first quarter of an hour, there was great optimism that the lead would have been extended further. Even though the chances were there, we couldn't stretch the advantage any further.

So who missed??
The biggest miss fell to our strike partnership of Big Fletch and Feeney. Standing on about the penalty spot, Big Fletch volleyed the ball superbly only to see the ball firmly strike the right hand upright, rebound to Feeney who blasted the chance high and over, and out in to the car park!!

Even though they were 2-down Leyton Orient did not roll over and die. To their credit they did try and play some football. But with the tenacious Steve Fletcher patrolling their back line, Garreth O'Connor marshalling the midfield and the inspired Carl Fletcher commanding the Bournemouth defence, they never stood a chance of breaking through. What chances they did create were slightly half hearted, and no more than Neil Moss might expect in a training match.

The second half, I was of the opinion that we were not going to extend the lead, as our football suggested we would. But I was to be proved wrong when Feeney finally slotted home our 3rd goal of the night on the hour mark. Having received the ball a few yards in from the right of their penalty area, Feeney swivelled to fire the ball in to the bootom right hand corner of the goal. The strike was no more than he deserved on the night. In the opening 15 minutes of the 2nd period Feeney managed to squander 2 chances, when it seemed easier to score. The first was a 1-on-1 with the keeper, who did well to smother the ball. To be honest, Feeney might have done better by lifted the ball over the keeper once he'd committed himself. the second chance was similar, but again was thwarted.

As news filtered through that the 1930 kick off for Scunthorpe had finished 3-1, we were hoping for a 4th goal to improve the goal difference, which may prove vital come the final day of the season. But ir was not to be as Leyton Orient grabbed a consolation deep in to injury time. Even though the visitors were not the best side we've seen at Dean Court this season, the strike from Thorpe was superb as he placed the ball in to the top right hand coner of the goal. Not even Neil Moss would have saved this one.

One the night, the lads were superb, a team performance to be proud of. If we can keep plugging away like this for the remaining few matches, success should be assured come May.

As for man of the match. What a choice!! My men of the match are Steve Fletcher, Garreth O'Connor and Carl Fletcher. All superb.

AFCB: Moss, C Fletcher, Tindall, Buxton, Purches, O'Connor, Browning, Feeney, Cummings, S Fletcher, Hayter
Subs: Elliott, Thomas, Holmes (for S Fletcher, 77), Young (for C Fletcher, 66), Stock (for Feeney, 71)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth