Sept 26 Stoke City 2-1 AFC Bournemouth Att: 27742

Last updated : 01 October 2015 By Peter Wicks

Abvoe all his dream of bringing together Cherries fans living elsewhere has been realised in the sheer camaraderie of the Exiles. Thank you Mick; you passed on while doing what you loved – watching your beloved football team, taking photos of the action, & above all seeing the team in Div.1.

A dry, sunny, afternoon. Boscombe’s best-available “first” 11 came out of the tunnel in the corner down to our left, kitted out in blue & black. The ground has just the NE corner filled in, and each stand appeared full. The home side had a superb midfield on paper – 3 international play-makers, with Charlie Adams as quarter-back. Potters k.o. towards our end, and the restored Adams curled a free too far beyond the far post. Both sides gave away several throws-in. The sun went in, & Wilson was felled. After some time he hobbled off, & came back on to the usual home “cheat” jeers. Then he ran back to mark & collapsed in agony. An extended wait, then he was stretchered off to applause from all round the ground. One was reminded of Steve Cotterill’s career-ending injury @ Dean Court – let’s hope it’s weeks not months before his return - & of course Michael Owen. Murray replaced him on 17; it meant 10 mins added time.

Distin showed again he’s a real footballer, coming out smoothly, showing skill & passing constructively.  Boscombe seemed to be more cohesive, pressing high & pressing oppos. But Potters showed some purpose, with Walters on the right putting in Bojan who drew a decent save from Boruc by his post. Then Tomlin lost the ball (just can’t do that at this level) & Francis conceded a corner. A free resulted, and a shot which Boruc had to knee out for another corner. Gosling was covering mistakes, intercepting, and running; Murray was upended 25 yards out. Ritchie’s attempt was saved – perhaps hit too well.

Boscombe didn’t clear well; the ball went left to Arnautovic who rounded Francis (who slipped at the critical moment) and pushed it in to Walters who had an easy tap-in. Quick & slick. 1-0, 32. Reality check. In response, Tomlin tried to make things happen. Distin showed his class; Daniels & Pugh combined to win a corner. Pugh did some excellent work & fed inside to Tomlin. He should’ve shot, but passed further right to Ritchie whose attempt was blocked on the 6-yard line. Potters showed it’s the little things that make the difference. During added time, Daniels swung in a free that went like Adams’s at the start. Another free to Boscombe led to another corner, then a Daniels run produced yet another – some real fight in this team. But perhaps the Wilson injury, & what transpired to be tragic events, affected the overall performance; after that last corner Potters broke out but shot wide. Xherdan Shaqiri then went off with a hamstring injury; is he the first opponent of ours whose first name begins with X?  HT: 1-0

Soon after the restart, Tomlin’s move was anticipated and last-ditch defence was required. It’s that quarter-second that makes the difference – speed of thought. However, Potters had made some wild clearances & another produced an away corner from which Murray was foiled. Then Murray seemed to be penalised for a foul; the ref. Lee Mason appeared to make things up as he went along. Surman was his usual steady self and Gosling, although bundled off the ball too easily 2-3 times, was using this base to move forward, support the attack & even chip in. Murray was mystified by Lee Mason a third time; Potters broke but the cross-shot went just wide. Potters didn’t pass consistently well, but anticipated better.

Tomlin was losing the ball too often; Murray hit one from the “D” for an easy save. Bojan was substituted; he’d not uprooted many trees - still recovering from injury. Boscombe played too much in front of the defence, then Pugh was bundled over near the spot but no pen awarded (no appeal). King replaced Tomlin on 71 (much to the dread of a Stokie with whom I chatted after the game!) Boruc had to catch well & did; at the other (our) end a poor clearance went back in; pinball; Gosling took advantage & his (possibly deflected) attempt went inside JB’s left-hand post. 1-1, 76!!! King sent Francis away but the low cross was saved. Boscombe played with confidence; Ritchie fed Gosling whose shot from the “D” was well saved. Then amazingly, Surman misplaced a pass! “We’re AFC Bournemouth, we come from League 2” rang out.

Ah, hubris. Murray was again penalised for no foul; the free was taken yards away & Glen Johnson scorched down the right wing. His superb cross saw Diouf dive between the despairing Distin & Cook to nod low past Boruc. 2-1, 83. Rats. Smith came on for Pugh on 87; Distin’s header found Murray free wide right in the area but the shot was saved. Then Butland had to catch well. Ritchie tried to emulate Charlie Adams from last season, but from the touch-line; it went just wide. Smith was felled – at last a yellow card for a home player. Murray took the wrong option, leading to another home break-out. Then Distin made his first real mistake. Apart from another good Potters cross, that was about it. FT: 2-1

Just those little things made the difference. Each 1st season up under Eddie has seen problems coping with the higher standard; the margins now are even narrower but on past history Eddie’s solved the problems. However – 2 crucial players are now out medium-term, & another for even longer. We wish them all the best for recovery.

Man Of The MatchMoM: All had decent games; Surman was Mr. Consistency & Mr. Dependable. But for sheer class, the award has to go to Sylvain Distin.

Boscombe (initial 4-4-2): Boruc; Francis, Cook, Distin, Daniels; Ritchie, Gosling, Surman, Pugh (Smith, 87); Wilson (Murray, 17), Tomlin (King, 71)
Subs (not used): Federici, Bennett, Cargill, MacDonald

Peter Wicks, Bulford