Chairboys spread the early play, but Goulding was nearly in on a Cummings cross. Igoe volleyed a pass from the right almost to Goulding, who then clattered a defender. Sloppy cover meant a Chairboys shot had to be blocked. Goulding responded by intercepting at inside-right & shooting at the keeper. Cherries defenders were making too many individual mistakes; Igoe & Anderton cleared intelligently. Chairboys were granted a corner mystifyingly - the ref. was young Attwell - but Jalal caught well.
Both sides had decent structure, but individual errors lowered the overall quality. The ball fell to Anderton who hit it well wide of the keeper's left post, but the home management had done their homework by giving Igoe less space. Pearce slipped, so Cooper had to scoot back to cover. Igoe made a good run, crossing from the by-line; Cummings' & Anderton's attempts won a corner. Bartley suffered a head clash wide right, but already seemed to be out of sorts - neither man-marking nor making the usual runs; generally off the pace. Then the home keeper had to tip round a free-kick, & Pearce put a header at the keeper. Chairboys saw a cross headed over. Bradbury seemed to be better defensively, cuter and with better distribution. Anderton did not match this, under-hitting or telegraphing his passes. Boscombe were passing all over, but it kept breaking down. Then it went back & fore across the home goal; Goulding headed back but the shot went over. Igoe put in another good cross, but it needed more people in the box.
Hollands was quietly effective, & won a free for a kick on the head. Pearce was just wide with a far post header & perhaps should've done better. Straight after, he had to head clear as Chairboys exerted more pressure and Cherries defence was going deeper & deeper. Igoe still linked well in restricted space, but Cherries midfield was being overrun - Hollands could not plug all the holes as midfield failed to protect the defence adequately. Then pinball in the area; no.9 shot & Jalal seemed to be swimming through treacle as he failed to reach the ball to his left. 1-0, 40 - just about deserved. It seemed as if Bartley was yellowed, but not according to official reports. It was a combination of the 3 centre-backs & lack of Chairboys quality that kept the score at HT to 1-0.
Quinn seemed to have said something during the break; a good feed wide to Cummings saw his cross headed by Hollands but caught. Better movement was wasted when Igoe shot from too far out at the keeper. Pearce needed substantial attention to a leg; Chairboys were still winning most of the 2nd balls. Then Igoe & Cummings exerted pressure; Cummings was released, surged forward, kept going when the right-back slipped, passed inside & Hollands timed his run perfectly to sweep in the equaliser left-footed. 1-1, 57. Cherries kept up the momentum; Bradbury & Goulding linked & Bradbury's left-footer needed the keeper to dive. This was better. Then a big muddle; the ball seemed to creep under Jalal (from the TV replay); 2-1, 60. Was the lino overruled? Cherries put on pressure, heads not yet going down; Igoe hit it long & over. Sturrock replaced the struggling Bartley on 64; I'd been looking forward to a Sturrock/Goulding pairing, but it didn't catch fire. Sturrock had a left-footer from the "D" saved. More Cherries pressure saw Cummings released, but the ball went back to Chairboys who made a right-wing attack with no tackles, so the cross had to be cleared. Thus Chairboys regained the initiative - aided by Cherries mistiming passes, tackles & bounces.
Goulding was pushed off the ball; he tackled back & was yellowed - harshly? Chairboys were faster to the ball & to intercept. Pitman replaced Goulding on 78 - the latter with still a lot to learn. Jalal had to make a sudden tip round from a snap header, and Pearce at last was replaced, carrying his gammy leg, by Ward on 83. Pitman fell over a defender in the area & was yellowed for diving - again, harsh? On such matters can a club fine be imposed. This unfortunate sequence for Cherries was completed when another ball came into the 6-yard box; the central defenders were still reorganising after the substitution, & the forward was quicker to the ball, his close darting header making it 3-1 on 84. Cherries had been losing shape, and now Guyett was up front. Cherries fans were streaming out - most staying down the front to hurl abuse at the officials. Jalal had to be alert again, & Hollands was yellowed for tackling back. The ref. was surely penalising too much, especially against the away side. Sturrock threw a wobbly at Pitman for taking the wrong (selfish) option, a sad way for the game to end. FT 3-1.
Chairboys management had done its homework; the system had been sussed. Organisation & application by the home side made up for lack of quality; Quinn will have to develop a set of tactics as beguiling as a Mandelson political strategy. Cherries had only 3 short periods of domination - early on in both halves & after going behind again - but looked good in those spells. Jalal did his job, but may have contributed to the 2nd goal. Cooper & Pearce did pretty well defensively, again being left exposed by the midfield, & Guyett seemed solid, but as all 3 home goals were central they have to share some blame. Bartley was poor, for whatever reason, & Anderton seems to be a passenger. Igoe couldn't enjoy space allowed in the previous 2 games, but did fairly well with what he had. However, too often we lost the ball through his lack of height. Cummings was the better of the 2 (wing) backs; Goulding seemed to have one gear, & Sturrock looked good in movement but lacked end-product. Pitman failed to impact, but the shape had all but gone in the last few minutes. Hollands again had to cover for Anderton, & so could not plug the holes left by Bartley's poor performance. We need someone to boss midfield; the only player in the squad who can do that is Hollands so a new formation is required.
AFCB: Jalal, Guyett, Pearce, Cooper, Igoe, Cummings, Bradbury, Hollands, Bartley, Anderton, Goulding
Subs: Pryce, McQuoid, Sturrock (for Bartley, 64 mins), Pitman (for Goulding, 78 mins), Ward (for Pearce, 83 mins)
Pete Wicks, Bulford