Sept 16 AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday Att: 8219

Last updated : 19 September 2003 By Rob Mann
In the past this has been a song that has really annoyed me, but I admit that I found myself joining in with the throngs singing this last night, leaving the North Stand after a second half virtuoso performance by the wizard Wade, capped with the richly deserved injury time winner!

After going into the team huddle that we used to use a few seasons ago just prior to kick off, Wednesday started the better of the two teams kicking towards the North Stand and backed by an extremely vocal travelling support. The first few minutes saw the Owls attacking with verve and intent although unable to fashion a clear cut chance. Then in the 5th minute came the first of our 4 efforts that hit the woodwork. Garreth O'Connor was played in by Cummings about 25 yards out, turned his marker and a hit a superb low drive which had Pressman beaten all ends up only for it to come back off the post!

On about the 17 minute mark Proudlock had a half chance for the Owls but Moss saved well. We replied with another effort against the crossbar, this time a looping header from Browning. Chances were starting to come thick and fast with Kuqi out-sprinting our defence, but going for glory and missing the target when a squared ball could have done real damage!

The Cherries were starting to edge it in the last few minutes of the half with our midfield at last finding their passes and a sublime move between Cummings and Purches sadly failed with the final product. The half time whistle went with no hint of the drama that was to come!

HT: 0-0

If the second half had been a boxing match it would have been stopped well before the end with the Owls punch drunk and defending desperately. Our second half performance reminded me of the way we played at the Millennium Stadium - superb passing, incisive attacking but sadly due to bad refereeing and poor luck no goals right until the end.

The drama started early with only minutes gone with Wade Elliot going on a magnificent mazy run, beating Pressman with ease with a left foot shot from distance only to see it come back off the inside of the post. The rebound came to Hayter whose header was well saved.

The atmosphere inside the stadium was electric with both sets of fans in full voice. Bournemouth continued to pile forward with Wade the Wizard delighting the home fans with another effort from distance that went just over the bar.

The 64 minute mark saw real drama, with O'Connor put in by Cummings as he made a superb cross field run. To my mind it was a cast iron penalty, the foul by Cooke from behind. Incredibly the ref gave a goal kick. To me his only options were to give a penalty or book O'Connor for diving. Home fans and players were incensed!

This only served for the Cherries to up the pressure, and a frantic five minute spell of three corners followed. Owusu came on for the Owls but still the relentless Bournemouth pressure continued. Hayter put Cummings in and his shot was well blocked by Pressman. On the 82 minute mark there was more controversy with Soupa hitting the left hand post from a deep cross from Broadhurst and O'Connor netting the rebound. Offside said the ref with furious recriminations from home fans and players alike.

Finally, when we had almost given up hope, the goal came from a free kick 35 yards out which saw Carl Fletcher feed Elliott who beat Pressman with a superb strike from 12 yards. Personally I think the North Stand sucked the ball in! Total bedlam ensued with the home fans going absolutely berserk, and the vast majority of the Wednesday travelling support melting away in minutes. There was just time for Tindall to come on before the restart and the final whistle went!

Quite easily our best performance of the season. If we can maintain this standard of football and stay injury free surely a top 6 finish is there for the taking!

Wade Elliot for his second half performance which was vintage quality.

AFCB: Moss, Maher, C.Fletcher, Broadhurst, Cummings, Elliott, Purches, O'Connor (Tindall 90), Browning, S Fletcher, Hayter (Feeney 78)
Subs not used: Stewart, Holmes, Thomas
Rob Mann, Newton Abbot