Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 2 Hartlepool 2

Date: 7 May 2005

'All' we needed to do was win this match - and we'd be in the play-offs. Regardless of what occurred anywhere else. So why did no Bournemouth fans before the match believe we could do it? Because we've been here before - and we've lost our previous five home matches.

This was always going to be a nervy game for the fans. Though quite why the usually experienced Moss seemed to be a bag of nerves, and Simek was also below par, no-one knows.

Hartlepool seemed to know exactly what to do. They only needed a draw so that's what they played for - except when they fell behind (twice) - and then they really made a game of it. The perfect tactic. They also had the brilliant defensive ploy of 'letting' Fletch win all the headers, but then defending the flick-ons so he never made anything of them.

The atmosphere was electric all afternoon in the capacity-filled stadium. When Elliott dodged several Pools defenders to put in a brilliant cross in the twelfth minute, Hayter was on the end of it and headed home, and the crowd went wild. Unfortunately within ten minutes it was all-square and the Pools fans were singing again. Then an excellent Stock corner (seven bounces on the ground was the secret signal!) found Hayter who headed his second before half time. On the stroke of half time an excellent O'Connor shot was fumbled by the Pools keeper before - unfortunately - being gathered successfully.

In the second half Hartlepool scored another header early on and Bournemouth - despite how much depended on it - began to flag. Our last good opportunity came near the end when man-of-the-match Hayter (who else?) won us a free kick in a good position. Hartlepool's Barron pushed Stock in the chest whilst he was waiting to take it, but he only got a yellow card for it and the free kick position wasn't altered. Unfortunately Stock's shot whistled just over the bar and the match ended 2-2. A Bournemouth players' lap-of-honour was promised, but Pools players and fans celebrated so long that most Bournemouth fans just slipped away. Presumably our players were skulking in the dressing room or somewhere. Whether they ever came out again, who knows? So that's it until August.

The starting line-up (with my scores out of ten) was :

N Moss (7);
Simek (6), Maher (7), Howe (8), Purches (8);
Elliott (9), Spicer (8), Stock (8), G O'Connor (8);
Fletcher (8), Hayter (9).

My 'man of the match' : Hayter.

P.S. How nice to see the old South End clock back in use!

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