Anderton was sucking the home midfield into conceding free kicks; from one such, deep left, Guyett headed just wide at the far post. Rankine was pushed in the area and was penalised for diving - balancing up the decisions? Pearce was felled, but was up again before long. Hollands forced a throw by closing down - he'd looked lethargic up to that point - but suddenly pinball in the away area saw a 3rd attempt go in. 1-0, 22 mins. Shrews forwards were mobile, losing markers, and the Igoe/Anderton midfield looked weak. Rankine did put in a good run and centre - just over the goal line. Guyett and Ward swapped, as Ward had more pace. Then Shrews had a right wing attack when Hollands effectively gave the ball away, going past Pearce too easily. The shot came from inside right - 2-0, 33 mins. Perhaps some Cherries players then decided to not fight too hard.
There was too much long ball to Rankine, and Pitman replaced Sturrock on 36. That might be Sturrock's last appearance; for me he'd looked good but not cut the mustard, his movement flattering to deceive. A right wing free saw Pearce head just past the far stick. We'd had the chances but not taken them. Then it seemed that Igoe didn't track back, allowing a long shot from inside left which Jalal might have parried better (perhaps a weakness of his?). Back it came, in it went from close range, 3-0, 41 mins. Oh dear. Evidently Cooper was a better communicator as sweeper than either Ward or Guyett.
There was too much down our left - not necessarily the fault of Cummings, more the shape of the side. Shrews players were just sharper and faster. Then Pitman was alone at the by line; perhaps he should've taken 1 less touch before feeding Rankine, whose shot was blocked on the line. The break was crucial, as the Cherries defence was all over the place. HT: 3-0. We then had the dubious pleasure of seeing our defence at our end. A shot from inside left zipped across and wide; Shrews players peeled off while our defenders stayed put. Pitman seemed to have time and space but put it wide. Anderton wended his way through, but had fouled. Pearce was yellowed for an accidental collision - don't referees understand the laws of physics? Cherries seemed to have more forward drive, but Cummings was still in no man's land. Shrews had free kicks on both sides; one too far, the other to Jalal. Any collisions were penalised. Then the ball came over, Pitman did for his marker, taking the ball well and sticking it across the keeper into the latter's left corner. 3-1, 60 mins.
Cummings picked up the momentum with a run and cross, but Rankine's shot was blocked. Cherries were all over Shrews for 5 mins. Anderton was felled by a tackle "knowledgeably late" (thanks, Phil H.). Pinball led to Ward shooting high and wide, then a chip from the right let Pitman head just over the angle at the rear upright. But Ward was yellowed for a mistimed kick. Anderton was showing some neat stuff, but was coming deeper and deeper. Shrews showed presence by shooting just wide of Jalal's right post, then Molesley replaced the ineffectual Igoe on 76. The Grays midfielder, blond and high-stepping, looked a little like a taller Eddie Howe from a distance and showed good movement and intent. But Shrews hit the inside of Jalal's left post; it rebounded into his arms.
As Shrews regained the initiative, Ward put his hand to the ball involuntarily right in front of the ref. 2nd yellow, i.e. red, off, 78. Bad to worse. So a flat back 4, outpaced by the sub winger who shot across goal. Jalal tipped a shot from inside left onto the bar, then with the Cherries midfield unable to cover an open defence the sub striker (ex-Gas Walker) was fed from the left and from inside right struck it across Jalal as if kicking-in. 4-1, 90+3. Thank goodness the whistle went a few seconds later. FT: 4-1.
To bring in the players necessary to ascend the table towards the play-off zone would need a substantial recapitalisation of the club, so JQ has a hard job on his hands. He doesn't have the replacement players to fit into the system Yes, there is a sense of direction on and off the field, but 1 point out of 9 could possibly see Boscombe being the first FL Trophy finalists to be relegated to the Conference in the same season.
AFCB: Jalal, Cummings, Ward, Guyett, Pearce, Igoe, Anderton, Hollands, Rankine, Sturrock, Bradbury
Subs: Pryce, Lindfield, McQuoid, Mosesley (for Igoe, 76 mins), Pitman (for Sturrock, 37 mins)
Peter Wicks, Bulford