March 24 AFC Bournemouth 1-2 Blackpool Att: 6436

Last updated : 27 March 2004 By Richard Butler
Carl Fletcher’s suspension being the only obvious inconvenience, an otherwise full-strength side flattered to deceive throughout the first half. On a slick surface, Jamie Hayter looked to have a wonderful first touch, Claus Jorgensen was linking well with Cummings and there were other promising signs; but apart from a long range Hayter effort and a Steve Fletcher header that he didn’t quite get over, there was precious little to write about.

Just when we were wondering how SOD was going to rethink the 2nd half – misfortune! First, Browning goes off with a pulled muscle, (replaced by Stock) and then from a corner, we fail to close down and we go in 0-1. Once again slack defending from a set-piece.

HT: 0-1

Another good crowd had only just settled down to the 2nd half, when a lovely move brought us level. Good work down the right, a lovely cross from Buxton and there was Super Scorer Steve (well, 2 in 2 games!!) to power an excellently placed downward header just inside the near post.

The busiest period of play followed with us creating a number of good chances. But to be fair, Blackpool had been playing neat passing football all night and they weren’t going to panic now.

Claus had an excellent chance parried, and then he was chopped down. This was the first chance that an arrogant, ‘I’m not for turning’, staggeringly inept referee had to influence the game and grab centre stage. First a Hayter hatrick into the Fleet Personnel Stand, now the ‘Stonewall–3 penalties-that-weren’t’ hatrick. I kid you not, THREE absolute cast-iron penalty appeals. Now I happen to know that SOD has watched these incidents and good claims they all were. First Claus, then Big Steve, and then Feeney.

The truly outrageous decision was when Fletcher had his standing foot removed by a despairing defender just as he was about to ‘pull the trigger’. With the defender nearly 2 yards behind him, and Steve just about to bury it, quite why the Ref felt that SF had dived is beyond me. Matches need a ref but let’s not have one at all if we have to suffer such idiocy and incompetence. Just to prove that he couldn’t be ‘bought’ he then went and ignored further blatant decisions. You really had to be there… Oh …and Steve Fletcher was booked for diving, Cummings for stating the evidence.

One excellent save from Moss, a glaring shot-over-the-bar miss again from Blackpool, and then the often seen desperate late charge for the winner. Holmes is added to the attack.

But in the 87th minute, we concede a corner from a breakaway and then to cap a frustrating evening, once again we concede from a set-piece. Close-range shot, lose the match 1-2.

Apart from the referee, Warren Cummings.

: Moss, Buxton (Holmes), Maher, Broadhurst, Cummings, Purches, Browning (Stock), Jorgensen, Hayter (Elliott), Feeney, S.Fletcher
Subs not used: Tindall, O'Connor
Richard Butler, Chertsey