March 22 AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Torquay United Att: 7181

Last updated : 30 March 2003 By Rob Mann
The Cherries got out of jail with a late, late escape act that Man Utd would have been proud of, with a referee that according to Torquay sources (HA HA) was determined to cheat them out of promotion! I imagine they meant playing until we scored?

The game started in bright sunshine with Bournemouth attacking the grass mound end. The first half an hour saw a veritable display of attacking football from the Cherries with only the luck and superb keeping from Van Heusden stopping the Gulls from being overrun. Twice in the first ten minutes Feeney found himself free in the box after showing great skill, but sadly his finishing didn’t trouble the Torquay keeper. Then on 17 minutes superb trickery by Garreth O'Connor totally unlocked the Torquay defence, but Soupa saw his shot come back off the bar with the keeper nowhere and Feeney volleyed the rebound over!

Still the onslaught continued with the Gulls not getting a look in. A superb move on 26 minutes saw Feeney set up James Hayter on the edge of the area. His shot was saved at full stretch by Van Heusden. Just minutes later Feeney was through one on one with Van Heusden – yet again he saved this time with his legs!

The last ten minutes of the half tended to peter out a bit with Torquay replacing David Graham with Tony Bedeau on the 33 minute mark and Neil Young replacing an injured Jason Tindall on 43 minutes.

HT 0-0

The second half was effectively a display of midfield solidarity from the Gulls. For long periods they bossed the game with neat, effective passing and good closing down whenever Bournemouth got the ball. The expected surge on the North End just never happened and you could feel the crowd's unease growing. Then on 68 minutes, in Torquay’s only real chance of the game, they scored. Martin Gritton started the attack which saw Tony Bedeau head home from close range: Cherries 0 Torquay 1.

Two Cherries substitutions quickly followed – Thomas for Hayter on 77 minutes and Holmes for Purches on 82 minutes. Holmes' first touch was to head over when he should have done better. The last 5 minutes of normal time saw Torquay playing keepball up near our corner flag much to the frustration of the large crowd, of which some were starting to drift away!

Then in the dying seconds of time added on the Cherries won a free kick on the left about a yard or so in from the penalty area. Garreth O'Connor whipped in an undefendable free kick and the ball was in the back of the net. Who scored it – own goal or Neil Young – I don’t think the vast majority of the home fans cared, with the North Stand going absolutely berserk. The celebrations were still going on when we realised the final whistle had gone!

With other results again going our way, most definitely a point gained in my eyes. A great game of football between two very good teams with an ending I won't forget for a while!!

Neil Moss (didn’t have much to do but exudes quiet authority and calm in our defence)

AFCB: Moss, Purches, Cummings, Tindall, Buxton, Elliott, O'Connor, Browning, Hayter, S Fletcher, Feeney
Subs: Tardif, Stock, Holmes (for Purches, 82), Young (for Tindall, 43), Thomas (for Hayter, 77)
Rob Mann, Newton Abbott