Oct 4 AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Hartlepool United Att: 6342

Last updated : 08 October 2003 By Andy Burton
Matters were not helped by poor defending either, especially at corners!! Just as conceeded an early goal against Rushden and Diamonds from a corner, so it proved on 9 minutes against Hartlepool United!! The ball was swung in from the corner flag in front of the main stand/open end of the ground only to see a game on ping pong see the ball scrambled home by Mark Tinkler from just 4 yards out!! I lost count how many chances Bournemouth players had to clear the ball, including a 'save' from Neil Moss, but we were one soft goal down too early. At least we managed to get past the first 80 seconds without conceeding!!

After this early shock, Bournemouth settled in to the game and forced Hartlepool on to the back foot. At one stage we were winning corners almost at will, but the quality of the ball in never seemed quite good enough to put the keeper under too much threat.

The build up play was pretty good, but in the final third we simply seemed to loose our way - for what ever reason.

Just after the restart, Hartlepool could have extended their, but they had left their shooting boots somewhere back up the M3/A34 as Marco Gabbiadini was desperately unlucky to see a lobbed shot clear Neil Moss's far post and behind for a goal kick.

Big Steve Fletcher, in a rare moment of having a good touch of the ball, forced a save out of the visitors keeper when a header was tipped over the bar.

Then the moment came for change. In a double switch Young and Holmes were introduced at the expense of Maher and Hayter in the 70th minute. Their impact was seen in the 77th minute when Deadly Derek showed how to head the ball as he glanced the ball home from a Young cross. Then, just as we'd done against Rushden & Diamnonds, we scored again minutes later, when Feeney (who else?) fired home from the edge of the area even though 2 'Pool defenders were in close attendance for the nippy striker.

It begged the question as to why change wasn't made earlier. I was particularly pleased for Derek Holmes who (in my opinion) made the difference for Feeney to score his two goals against Rushden. I hope he starts next Saturday against Notts County.

With 3 points being snatched from the jaws of defeat, Bournemouth were dealt a valuable lesson on not giving away free kicks in injury time, especially on the edge of the area. Upm stepped Gavin Strachan, sone of Saints manager Gordon, to sweetly strike the ball straight in to the top left hand corner of Moss's goal. A better strike you'll have to go along way to witness - unless Brian Stock gets a chance in the near future.

All in all disappointing game. For all the chances Bournemouth had, we should have buried Hartlepool long before they had the chance to equalise and take a point home. Overall, I feel the game didn't deserve a winner.

As for man of the match, I would have been happy to give it Derek Holmes (if he'd been on earlier, but as it is, Wade Elliott gets my nomination for his industry up and down the right wing.

AFCB: Moss, Cummings, Purches, C Fletcher, Maher, Broadhurst, Elliott, Hayter, O'Connor, S Fletcher, Feeney
Subs: Stewart, Tindall (for Feeney, 86), Stock, Holmes (for Hayter, 70), Young (for Maher, 70)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth