March 24 AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Tranmere Rovers Att: 4118

Last updated : 24 March 2008 By Andy Burton
Of the 16-man squad, it shows how lacking we are at the moment, given that 2 are on loan and 7 were promoted from the youth set up. So all credit to the youngsters who put on a great performance, despite their inexperience, to win against a far more experienced Tranmere Rovers side, who are currently pushing for a play-off place - not that you would have known that from their performance.

Right from the kick off, the Cherries were attacking the North Stand, with early pressure reaping an early reward as a Gradel cross was diverted past Coyne in the Rovers goal by his own defender, Goodison. Great start and just the bosot the Cherries needed. This after just 32 seconds!

With the wind in their sails, the Cherries were certainly out for blood this afternoon as they scented victory. As for our play-off pushing visitors ...... one word can sum them up - RUBBISH!

The Cherries were much the better side throughout the game, even though Rovers did try and press for an equaliser.

Tessem fired wide after an excellenet move which was started by Franks, resulting in a cross from Gradel.

The Wirral side MUST have far too many Easter eggs over the weekend as they looked lacklustre to say the least.

Following more good work through Bartley, Hollands, Pearce and Cooper, the Cherries won a corner just after the half hour mark. Bradbury nodded down for Kuffour to prod home from very close range. No more than the Cherries deserved at this stage of the game.

It is worth mentioning at this stage that the youngsters, McQuoid and Franks, were showing some very good touches and have got to the future of this football club as we hopefully go forward following Administration.

HT: 2-0

After the restart, Tranmere Rovers discovered the Cherries penalty box, evidence of too many Easter eggs being consumed was in evidence as they some clear chances were wasted school boy style.

Again McQuoid and Franks were performing heroics down the Cherries left, such a shame that when McQuoid was clear through he had no support close to him to make the most of the opportunity.

The referree seemed to have lost the plot just before the hour mark when a cynical Tranmere challenge went unpunished, but a similar challenge by Danny Hollands saw a free kick awarded against him.

David Forde finally proved himself despite previous flapping and poor distribution when he made a point blank save from Ian Moore on 58 minutes.

A third goal should have come just after the hour mark when Kuffour was held up on the edge of the Rovers area, with McQuoid in close attendance and trying to keep on-side. Sadly the opening was wasted as Rovers had more guile for the Bournemouth attack.

A nervous final few moments was in prospect when Kay headed home un-opposed from a free kick from their right hand side. Thankfully Rovers had still left their shooting boots at home as the Cherries got bodies behind the ball. How the ref managed to find some 5 and half minutes of time added is beyond me.

Team Comments:
David Forde - made a great save to keep Rovers at bay.
Shaun Cooper - solid at the back.
Lee Bradbury - didn't put a foot wrong this afternoon at right back.
Jason Pearce - solid at the back - gave a good performance.
Billy Franks - impressive debut from the youngster.
Joe Tessem - do we really have to play him? Was more impressed with the youngsters.
Danny Hollands - gave a typical captains performance.
Marvin Bartley - gutsy and determined.
Max Gradel - his trickery keeps the opposition guessing at all times. We need more like him please!
Josh McQuoid - on another day, I would have given him the man of the match award. An accomplished youngster despite his tender years.
Joe Kuffour - an awkward customer for any defense. Will we be able to keep hold of him in League Two?
Matt Finlay - didn't put a foot wrong when he came on in the final stages.
Joe Partington - also didn't do anything wrong, even though he was only on the pitch for about 5 minutes.

Man Of The Match
My man of the match ......... Danny Hollands, with Josh McQuoid a very close second.

AFCB: Forde, Cooper, Bradbury, Pearce, Franks, Tessem, Hollands, Bartley, Gradel, McQuoid, Kuffour
Subs: Pryce, Hutchings, Davidson, Finlay (on for Franks, 77 mins), Partington (on for McQuoid, 90 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth