March 2 AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Peterborough United Att: 5163

Last updated : 03 March 2002 By Ellis Griffin
Out of luck, out of confidence and out of ideas, the team were booed off the field at the end of a game that Peterborough could have won with 8 men, let alone 10.

The only change from the team that performed so admirably against Brighton in midweek was the return of captain Eddie Howe in place of Neil Young who started on the bench. And it all began so promisingly in the spring sunshine. After 6 minutes, Kieran McAnespie forced his way into the penalty area on the left, crossed the ball which eventually came to the well-placed Wade Elliott. Unfortunately it wouldn't quite fall for him and his shot struck the bar.

Seconds later McAnespie went from hero to zero at the other end of the pitch when the Fulham loan signing tried to dribble past Matthew Gill instead of booting to safety. Gill took the ball off him and sent a shot looping over Gareth Stewart from the edge of the area - almost a carbon copy of Brighton's equaliser on Tuesday.

Posh were in control now and should have gone further ahead when Farrell mis-headed Forinton's pin-point cross from the right. Our only attacking option was Danny Thomas who was making some useful runs down the left wing, but we rarely posed much of a threat in front of goal. The Peterborough defenders were winning everything in the air and Derek Holmes looked as if his boots were filled with lead.

The ref was doing his best to help the Cherries by awarding us a number of dubious free-kicks. When that failed, he decided to send off Posh defender Marc Joseph for no apparent reason just before half-time. Joseph headed the ball safely back to his keeper Tyler under pressure from James Hayter and then appeared to clip the striker as he ran through. This understandably incensed the Peterborough fans, as the contact seemed to be accidental.

HT 0-1

Boscombe immediately made two changes, with Neil Young replacing Tindall (who had been having a poor game) and Warren Feeney coming on for the accident-prone McAnespie. As a result, Stephen Purches switched to left back and Hayter dropped back to allow Feeney to play up front with Holmes. However, any lingering hopes that we would take 10-man Posh to pieces after the break were dashed when they went further ahead after barely 2 minutes. Leon McKenzie rose unchallenged to head home a free-kick from the left of the box.

The rest of the game passed off uneventfully with Peterborough happy to defend in numbers, leaving just McKenzie up front. However, despite being a man down, Posh looked more likely to add to their tally with the lively McKenzie forcing Stewart to make an excellent one-handed save to his left. We just didn't seem to have a clue how to break down our opponents' defence. There was no invention, no urgency and no passion. Nor was there any sign of animation from the bench. Presumably the management were happy with our aimless possession football, or else they would have brought Chukki on for the last quarter of an hour. Let there be no doubt about it - this performance had relegation written all over it. OK, while we're talking clichés, let me add that we were lucky to get nil today.

Man of the match: I'm tempted to name the ref, for his was the most helpful contribution all afternoon.

AFCB: Stewart, Tindall (Young 45), McAnespie (Feeney 45), Howe, Maher, Purches, O'Connor, Thomas, Elliott, Hayter, Holmes
Subs not used: Chukki, Kandol, Ford
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey