Before the match got underway there was the loudest cheer we've had at Dean Court for quite a while as Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall, the returning heroes, were presented to the Dean Court faithful as chants of "Eddie Howe's Barmy Army" rang out from all sides of the ground! Welcome back Eddie and Jason, even if they were only watching from the stands on this occassion.
What did they witness? Well the first half was as pedestrian and shockingly poor as it was in the opening 45 minutes at The Ricoh Arena last weekend. Sure the Cherries had a succession of corners and a decent amount of possession, but lacked any cutting edge. That said the O's weren't any better. League One? More like Ryman One!
Sadly we lost Richard Hughes to a hamstring (?) injury on the stroke of half time.
The second half was much brighter, but that was never going to be difficult after an opening 45-minutes to forget. Slowly the Cherries built up a momentum, and were camped in the O's half for long periods, especially with the string of corners that were won in front of the faithful in the North End. Also asserting himself was Marc Pugh down the left, Simon Francis down the right and Lorenzo Davids who was beginning to show what he might be capable of in the centre.
Patience was rewarded in the 65th minute when the 200th Cherries corner was swung in by Simon Francis from the left side of the pitch. I thought took a slight deflection, but everyone went over to congratulate Francis as it was ajudged to have gone straight in from his in swinging corner.
The celebrations had barely died down when Pugh picked up on a poor pass out from the O's keeper to round the embarassed keeper to slot the ball home in to an empty net just 2 minutes later.
One other clear cut chance came and went, but the out stretched fingers of Allsopp in the O's goal took the ball away from Addison who would have found it difficult to miss!
Other (half) chances came and went, but were squandered with wrong decisions taken at key moments in the build up. Guilty was Grabban on a couple of occassions of indecision or poor touches.
As for out visitors, they tried to come forward, but created nothing to trouble anyone.
David James - had next to nothing to do, but managed to entertain with some dropped balls. In truth never tested.
Simon Francis - had one of his better matches. A close 2nd for man of the match today.
Tommy Elpick/Miles Addison - Had little today, but not convinced by this pairing. I will be interesting to see what Howe and Tindall deal with central defence.
Charlie Daniels - had a decent game this afternoon.
Lewis Grabban - As a winger, I am not convinced Grabban has it. Another position where it'll be interesting to see what the new management team do here.
Richard Hughes - Was in control of midfield. Shame he went off when he had to.
Eunan O'Kane - ran his socks off.
Shaun MacDonald - ran his socks off without causing too many problems.
Marc Pugh - influential down the left all afternoon. Will be sign a new contract to remain at Dean Court now that Howe and Tindall are back?
Lee Barnard - I'll be happy to pay his ONE WAY rail fare back to Southampton Central. Why have we got an expensive man on loan when we have the most expensive sub in League One as an unsed sub? Answers on a post card please!
Lorenzo Davids - showed some nice touches. Will be a interesting to see what happens to him in the longer term.
AFCB: James, Francis, Elphick, Addison, Daniels, Grabban, Hughes, MacDonald, Pugh, O'Kane, Barnard
Subs: Jalal, Cook, Partington, McQuoid, Demouge, Tubbs, Davids (for Hughes, 44 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth