lined up against a County side enjoying a somewhat disappointing season.
And for a while it looked as if the Cherries would carry on where they left
off, as they carved out two great chances early in the game. First a neat
moved culminated in a powerful Goulding shot which Pilkington could only
parry. From the rebound, Robinson looked certain to score, but his header
lacked firmness and the County keeper somehow managed the claw the ball out to Pitman who blasted wastefully over.
Then, a neat move saw Pitman with only Pilkington to beat, but he hit his
shot tamely at the visitors' keeper.
Apart from this early flurry, it soon became apparent that County hadn't
just come to enjoy the sea breezes, with the lively Facey winning everything
in the air and Weston looking so useful down the left wing that Bradbury had
to swap positions with Robinson to contain him.
We frankly looked tired and out-of-sorts, too often resorting to hopeful
long balls and creating little.
With our defence looking increasingly beleaguered, it came as no great
surprise when the Magpies took the lead six minutes before half time when
the impressive Facey deftly squared the ball to Weston who turned his marker before dispatching the ball past the helpless Jalal.
And things got even worse a couple of minutes later when the Cherries'
keeper brought down Forrester and the ref pointed to the spot. Fortunately
Forrester's spot kick was so weak that Jalal nearly dived past it. A lucky
Shaun Cooper replaced Lee Bradbury at the break, with Ryan Garry moving to right-back. Before we could see whether Eddie's halt-time talk would inspire his jaded troops, the visitors nearly scored again when, right from the
kick-off, Weston dribbled through our defence before unleashing a stinging
drive which Jalal did well to tip over.
Despite having more possession than in the first half, we still looked flat
and rarely threatened. Our only bright spot was the play of Molesley whose
tireless running was in contrast to the lack-lustre performances of most of
those around him.
The introduction of Bartley for Fletcher and Feeney for Garry injected a bit
more energy into our play, Feeney in particular having a couple of good runs
at the County defence, but we never really looked like scoring. Near the
end, a long-range shot from Cooper brought a decent save from Pilkington,
and that was it.
A disappointing performance, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Let's hope Eddie can get the show back on the road soon.
Jalal 6: Saved a pen, but kicking and distribution need improvement
Garry 6: Did OK
Pearce 8: Committed as usual
Bradbury 5: Lack of pace a problem
Cummings 6: Did OK
Molesley 8: MOM
Hollands 6: Did OK,
Robinson 6: Looked better in attacking role in 2nd half
Pitman 5: Sulked and waved his arms a lot
Goulding 6: Failed to produce recent form
Fletcher 5: Reverted to wardrobe
(Cooper) 7: Class act - wish he were fully fit
(Bartley) 6: Did OK
(Feeney) 7: Did OK - could have been introduced earlier?
AFCB: Jalal, Cummings, Garry, Pearce, Bradbury, Hollands, Robinson, Molesley, Pitman, Fletcher, Goulding
Subs: Pryce, Guyett, Cooper (for Bradbury, HT), Bartley (for Fletcher, 57 mins), Feeney (for Garry, 79 mins)
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey