Nov 29 AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Brentford Att: 6674

Last updated : 03 December 2003 By Stuart Mitchell
Cherries looked lively from the off in a game that was a must-win to keep up with the pack after the previous two results. The opening 18 minutes saw no fewer than six good chances for the home side to score. Browning headed wide from Stock's cross and O'Connor was again at his mischievous best playing in Supa Fletch for a one-on-one, but Sonko managed to catch him with a good tackle.

Big Fletch won everything in the air all afternoon and flicked on for Feeney who shot right at Smith in the Bee's goal, the striker looking dangerous on each attack. O'Connor headed wide from one of Elliott's many good crosses. Carl Fletcher headed another effort wide moments later from Stock's corner, and when Brentford decided to join in the match a few of the home support wondered whether it could be one of those days.

Brentford had the first of two goals disallowed in the 20th minute, one for a foul and later an offside against Hunt, both correctly ruled out. Stock and O'Connor both shot wide from good positions and then O'Connor missed a golden opportunity on the half hour when, unmarked, he blasted over from 8 yards.

In fact Brentford keeper Smith didn't have a shot to save in the first half despite much Bournemouth possession and plenty of good chances. For the record Brentford had their first effort on target on 36 minutes. Supa had a great header blocked on the line by Feeney as the half drew to a close.

HT 0-0

Brentford started well with the energetic Tabb making some probing runs but soon Bournemouth took control with some lovely passing football, Browning and Stock always getting in the thick of things. Purches tested Smith from 25 yards and the home side piled on the pressure and the crowd could feel a goal coming. Elliott and Feeney made some great runs and following Browning's 35 yard shot, Stock's cross eventually found Feeney who's shot was mishandled by Smith and Wizard Wade was on hand to blast the ball into the corner from 7 yards. 1-0 (64 minutes).

To their credit Bournemouth kept the pressure on in an attempt to finish the game off. Purches, Feeney and Big Fletch all had efforts and just after Broadhurst had to be replaced by Maher due to injury, Feeney fired a great shot onto the Brentford crossbar from the edge of the box.

Brentford threatened to spoil the day with a couple of chances and there was a late booking for Captain Carl but the Cherries ran out deserved winners and a timely 3 points.

A solid all-round performance and with us back in 6th position, a defeat would have dropped us back into the bottom half. I feel that winning games like this against teams like Brentford make the difference to the season. Also, as much as having Lewis Buxton back is a bonus and strengthens the squad, in the last 2 games it has caused an imbalance in that SOD has switched to 3-5-2. That imbalance was not present in today's performance. 4-4-2 worked well today with the side looking comfortable.

A hard one this due to good performances from all the team particularly Marcus and Stocky in the middle, and Feeney's constant running, but I will opt for Wade Elliott with good crossing and running capped with the winning goal.

AFCB: Moss; Cummings, C.Fletcher, Broadhurst (Maher 78), Purches; Elliott (Buxton 84), Stock (Tindall 86), Browning, O'Connor; S.Fletcher, Feeney (4-4-2)
Subs not used: Stewart, Hayter.
Stuart Mitchell, Hampton, Middlesex