March 21 AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Cambridge United Att: 7082

Last updated : 21 March 2002 By Ellis Griffin
The home side were unchanged apart from the return of Gareth Stewart following suspension. After the pre-match karaoke, we all hoped that the players would be in better tune. Karaoke actually means "empty orchesta" in Japanese - a fitting description for certain subsequent passages of play?

Soon-to-be-capped Warren Feeney looked lively early on and set up James Hayter, but his effort was ruled offside. However, it soon became apparent that the visitors, despite their virtually doomed position in the league, had not come just to make up the numbers. Indeed, they were passing the ball fluently and keeping four men upfront, with "Ginger" Kitson making a nuisance of himself. On the quarter-hour mark, Shaun Maher had to go off with a head injury and was eventually replaced by Richard Hughes, with Jason Tindall dropping back.

Disaster struck almost immediately when Eddie Howe cleared a corner only as far as Cowan whose overhead kick gave Stewart no chance. Groans from the home fans who had been hoping for a continuation of the Northampton form.
However, they didn’t have too long to wait for the equaliser. On 24 minutes, Feeney latched onto a Wade Elliott cross and blasted the ball high into the net. One of his best goals of the season!

The Irishman's pace created a couple more chances later in the half, but Cambridge were having plenty of possession and giving their small band of fans something to cheer about.

HT 1-1

It all started so well after the break! After only 2 minutes Elliott crossed for Derek Holmes, the North Stand screamed "Handball!!", the lino flagged furiously and the ref (who was 30 yards from the incident) pointed to the spot. Putting his miss at Reading out of his mind, Elliott stepped up and hit the spot kick low and hard into the bottom right-hand corner. We thought we were on our way!

Indeed we kept up the momentum, with Stephen Cooke outstanding in midfield. Chances came and went, but Cambridge always looked dangerous on the break. And on 69 minutes, they equalised when Jackman was given too much space on the left and scored at the second attempt when the defence failed to clear.

The game was very open now with both sides going for a win. Hayter had the best chance in the 74th minute when he rounded Perez but could only hit the side netting from an acute angle. However, Cambridge were clearly looking for their first away win of the season and were slightly unlucky to have a "goal" disallowed for offside on 82 minutes. They looked certain to score a few minutes later when there was a melee in the home goalmouth. Shots rained in until - miraculously - a leg emerged to hook the ball off the line. I'm told that said leg belonged to Kieran McAnespie. If so, it's the best thing he's done so far on his loan spell so far. It might even keep us in the division.

All in all, you can't begrudge United their point. We failed to take our chances despite Feeney giving their defenders a torrid time all evening and Cooke playing some great stuff at times. Richard Hughes looked jaded (unfit?) and we still miss Baby Fletch in midfield. And the introduction of Chukki was as effective as ever….

A disappointing night, but not the end of the world (yet!) MOM Stephen Cooke - wish we could afford him!

AFCB: Stewart, Purches, Howe, Young (McAnespie 61), Maher (Hughes 18), Tindall, Elliott, Cooke, Holmes (Chukki 59), Hayter, Feeney
Subs not used: Menetrier, Thomas
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey