Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 1 Cardiff 3

Date: 5 February 2002

Three days after the thrashing of Stoke, I returned hoping to see more of the same. The only change from Saturday's line-up, Stock for Hughes, seemed unlikely to make much difference.

But, little did we know! The sheer class of the opposition, giants rather than minnows, and the ineptitude of our own midfield, resulted in Saturday's victors becoming victims.

Cardiff totally dominated the first half and were unfortunate to score only two goals. Stewart kept wandering off his line; Howe in the centre of the back three looked nothing like as strong as Tindall; Stock and Hayter in central midfield couldn't control the game at all and kept passing to a centre forward position where we had no players; Feeney and Holmes played in very wide positions. But most frustratingly, whenever we did mount an attack, Cardiff somehow found seven defenders to stop us in our tracks.

The second half started more promisingly. The "hole" between our two strikers had been plugged by O'Connor, with Hayter moving to right wing-back. This looked a lot better, and O'Connor had one or two chances to score. But suddenly - from nowhere - on the break - disaster struck! Cardiff were awarded a free kick, they took it very quickly whilst Stewart was off his line, and now the score was 0-3.

We got one goal back - an O'Connor corner finding Holmes outside the packed goalmouth area, and Holmes expertly shooting through the legs of Cardiff and Bournemouth players to score. But it wasn't enough.

Amos Foyewa came on to try and achieve something for Bournemouth. Now we had, at times, five players forward: Elliott, Foyewa, Holmes, Feeney, O'Connor - but of these only Foyewa was in tiptop form. The way he took on players - his shooting, his timing, and his ability to always get into the right position - were excellent. If this is how Foyewa can play when he's not fully match-fit, he's going to be a very exciting prospect in a few games' time. He didn't put a foot wrong from the moment he came onto the pitch, but he didn't really have time to achieve a miracle.

As usual I've listed the starting line-up, with my scores out of ten, but it should be noted that the team changed significantly in the second half. I was sufficiently disappointed with the starting players that I give man-of-the-match to a substitute :

Stewart (6);
Tindall (6), Howe (5), Maher (6);
C Fletcher (6);
O'Connor (7), Stock (5), Hayter (5), Purches (7);
Feeney (8), Holmes (7).

My 'man of the match' : Foyewa.

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