Sept 8 Leyton Orient 1-0 AFC Bournemouth Att: 4495

Last updated : 14 September 2007 By Pete Wicks
Apart from Gradel, this was not the first flower of youth, more bushes of gnarled woody rhododendrons. The pitch was mottled, marks all over - poor drainage?

Cherries wore yellow shirts with white shorts & yellow/white socks, playing to the north stand & having the better early movement. Cherries 1st corner was an easy catch, leading directly to Young conceding a corner - from which the header was wide. Northern reject Thornton of the blond hair was looking to pull strings. Gradel worked well to win a corner; his tonsure was mo' hican than anything. Young put a great through ball to Gradel who was thwarted; Kuffour picked it up but the shot was easy for the keeper. Cummings went clear but shot over. Cherries were on top, but it was scrappy. Both sides had a good shape, & picked up poor passes well. Gowling had good timing in making interceptions.

Telfer took a free to Kuffour in the corner, back for Young to cross, Kuffour nicked it to put Anderton 1-on-1 with the keeper who went large, blocked the shot & cleared. Telfer & Anderton both put good balls out wide; Gradel had one put over the bar for a corner, itself caught well. Some tedious pedantry over an offside kick placement gave us a breather - the shot was just wide. So Cherries were encouraging, winning most throws etc. but not converting the domination. Gradel won the ball brilliantly then lost it & fouled the defender - so frustrating. Anderton tackled back well - but both sides lacked that crucial bit of quality until a cross came, via a saving tackle on the 6-yard line, to the unmarked no.11 beyond Begovic's right-hand post (echoes of the chance & goal for Terriers on 18/8/07). He aimed a right-footer around Begovic, who somehow tipped it round the far post - superb, perhaps magnificent. Young hobbled off briefly after that tackle. Gowling showed some class defending, & Jerry Tosswell cheered Young for being able to kick the ball. Several Orient pushes went unpunished. Careful right-side play saw Telfer link with Bradbury, Anderton & Young, with no end-product. Still, we cheered the 0-0 scoreline at half-time.

Part 2 began with Thornton shooting over from a good inside-right run. Young had a battling run & cross, which went just beyond the forwards. Gowling made another great block, & he & Perrett were fouled but the perpetrators went unpunished as a shot went in at Begovic. The no.11 again came in from the left but was just wide. Kuffour couldn't set his feet right to a Gradel cross, but now most pressure was from O's, who were playing at a higher tempo.

Pitman replaced Kuffour on 60 - a little surprisingly - & Gradel & Cummings swapped sides, allowing Gradel to go against the slower Terry (brother of John). Garry's cross was headed at the keeper by Bradbury; the former was then yellowed for his foul on former Cherries loan player Melligan. Christophe replaced Cummings on 68, with Telfer going wider right, but then the 18 lost Gowling in the 6-yard box (neat skill & turn) & slotted past Begovic. 1-0, 71. Cherries responded with Anderton releasing Young whose cross was headed over by Bradbury. O's were moving more fluently, confidence high, but conceded just outside the "D". Anderton's effort was high. He linked well with Garry, Gradel & Bradbury; the clearance hooked over the bar for a corner. Gradel put over another left-foot cross - to the keeper - & Anderton sent a long-range effort wide. Cherries huffed & puffed, but were fizzling out in the sun. The 18 was just wide, nipping in front of Perrett, as Gowling stayed upfield. Pitman's cross shot from wide right was wide, & so we all trooped out, shoulders hunched. Full time 1-0.

It's no disgrace to concede a goal at the league leaders, but chances have to be taken. Gradel has skill & pace but perhaps a lack of judgement as what to do when, & crossing quality needs improvement. 2 over-30s in central midfield meant no-one able to go beyond the strikers (apart from that once). Although Perrett commanded the defence - which Begovic ought to do but doesn't yet - the other 4 oldsters have but 1 run a game in them. Bradbury's a decent target man, & he & Kuffour play closer to each other than recent combinations, so linking was generally OK. Defence was solid, but Garry has 2 speeds - steady & lope - so no overlapping there either. Much for Bond to mull over.

Man Of The Match
No-one had a poor game; plenty of effort. As chances weren't converted - or made consistently - I'll pass over the front 6. As O's goal & most chances came from our right, I'll go beyond Young & Gowling - for all their good work - & give it to Russ Perrett for a solid game.

: Begovic, Young, Gowling, Perrett, Garry, Gradel, Telfer, Anderton, Cummings, Kuffour, Bradbury
Subs: Moss, Hollands, Pearce, Pitman (for Kuffour, 60), Christophe (for Cummings, 68)
Pete Wicks, Bulford