Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Spurs 2 Cherries 3

Date: 15 April 2023

Well, I made a good choice for my second (and last) away match of the season didn’t I?

I headed to the stadium still remembering how Spurs had beaten us 3-2 at our place in October. I didn’t really expect anything better than that today – but it was a nice day, and my journey was uneventful. The delayed kick-off meant I had ample time to reflect on what an amazing stadium Spurs have these days. When the teams finally emerged, I was pleased to see that we were in our ‘home’ (red and black) kit.

We lined up in a 5-2-3 system. I’m not generally in favour of three centre backs, but we stuck with this system throughout today’s game and it paid off. Vina was surely our ‘man of the match’ in the first half, winning balls all over the pitch and getting in some good crosses. (Over the entire game I guess Neto was our greatest hero.) It was a shame Vina had to go off injured early in the second half, but despite four substitutions in the end we stuck rigidly (and wisely) to the 5-2-3 system.

There had been celebrations, before the game, to mark Son’s 100th Premier League goal. Well the first goal today, on about 15 minutes, was his 101st! We had a chance to equalise when Vina got in an excellent cross from the left just a minute later, but Christie’s shot went over the bar. And now we were growing into the game. Despite a good shot from Son that was punched away by Neto, it was Vina who managed to score next, in the 38th minute. 1-1.

Solanke scored so early in the second half that not all supporters had yet returned to their seats. (Serves them right!) We now tried to hold on to our 2-1 lead and some Spurs fans started to leave (hence missing their team’s second goal). But just before the end of normal time Spurs thought they’d scored – the display screens even said they had – but they hadn’t; Richarlison was offside. And seconds later as they continued to mount pressure they thought they’d scored again through Danjuma (who’d been loudly booed by Bournemouth fans as he came off the bench!) – but it was announced that VAR were checking a possible offside. Unfortunately, following the check Danjuma’s goal stood – so we went into six minutes’ added time with the score at 2-2, desperately trying to prevent Spurs from scoring again.

And they nearly did: on 93 minutes Richarlison shot wide. But no-one could have foreseen what happened next: we scored, through Ouattara, in the 95th minute! I’ve never seen or heard such celebrations; shirts were being removed all around me, fans were climbing onto seats, and flares went off too, though I don’t know how they’d got in through security. Very few Spurs fans remained for long after the final whistle, but we all stayed in place cheering until the players came over to celebrate with us. “We’re staying up, we’re staying up, we’re staying – Bournemouth’s staying up!”

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:

Tavernier, Mepham, Stephens, Kelly, Vina;
Rothwell, Lerma;
Christie, Solanke, Billing

By the end the line-up was:

Smith, Mepham, Stephens, Senesi, Kelly;
Rothwell, Lerma;
Ouattara, Solanke, Anthony

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