Writer: Neil Dawson
Date:Saturday March 9 2013
9th March 2013, 3pm
In a game shrouded with a horror film mist, it was ironic that Bournemouth's automatic chance of promotion was murdered in full view. Having gone top five games ago the side has collapsed to no points, 10 goals conceded and 2 scored. It's a blessed relief we didn't go top earlier in the season else we might have got relegated!
Doncaster became the fifth side in a row to beat the previously ascendant Cherries, and in the cruellest of manners. Having played well but fallen behind Bournemouth finally equalised to set the ground on fire but then fell behind again one minute later when poised for a grandstand finish.
Eddie rang the changes again in desperation to end his teams wretched run. Allsop came in for a debut in goal, Macdonald returned for Hughes and Pitman came in for Fogden to return to 4-4-2.
It was a positive statement of intent and it sparked a great start. Much of Cherries play came from the creative fulcrum of Ritchie and Pugh on the left and they combined for the latter to put a majestic cross on Pitman's head but Sullivan brilliantly saved his three yard header that arguably should have been buried. A minute later Pugh crossed again and Cook, who had stayed forward following a corner, smacked a header against the cross-bar.
Doncaster looked worried at this point, the three they had conceded in midweek clearly playing on their mind. Grabban was next in the action again wasting two beautiful Ritchie crosses by heading wide then straight at Sullivan.
It was one way traffic aside from a couple of routine but sharp stops by Allsop to deny Brown. Pitman nearly set the ground alight with a great turn, run and 25 yard shot that Sullivan did well to finger-tip past the post.
The rest of the first half was largely dominated by Bournemouth who fired cross after cross into the box but no-one anticipated, gambled or matched the strength of the towering Mccombe and Jones at the heart of Rover's defence. It was Mccombe that came closest to opening the scoring for Bournemouth when he showed our forwards how it was done by attacking a Ritchie cross and breathing a sigh of relief when it missed the post by inches.
HT Bournemouth 0 Donny 0
The second half saw Bournemouth again start brightly with Pitman firing a 25 yard free-kick inches wide. Again though a sea of possession just saw endless crosses cleared with no-body attacking them and despite near total home possession Sullivan was largely untroubled. The midfield play was slick although very dominated to head left and our defence seemed in control when the ball was played at them.
Then, as so often in this run, disaster struck in the form of a break-away. Brown beautifully controlled and released Cotterill who fired a low cross in. The cross was largely similar to the hundreds Bournemouth had played in all game...... the difference was the desire to attack it. PAYNTER got in front of Seabourne and planted a close range shot in off the stricken Allsop.
Bournemouth looked shell shocked and briefly fell to pieces so Eddie once again rang the changes. Fraser appeared for the woeful Mcquoid and sparked a slight renaissance during which Pitman beautifully played in Grabban but his shot was tipped wide by Sullivan. This was the top scorers last piece of action as him and Macdonald were replaced by Fletcher and Tubbs in a last throw of the dice.
Bournemouth's new game plan was to launch it at Fletch from anywhere on the pitch which seemed to be meat and drink for Rover's giant centre half until at the fifth attempt the veteran target man timed one right and released TUBBS one on one to beautifully lob Sullivan and find the back of the net.
The game was set, the crowd on their feet and Rovers were going to have to hang on for the last five. The problem was nobody told them. Exactly one minute later Francis gave the ball away and Rover's broke at pace. Twice Bournemouth had the chance to put their foot through it and clear it as the ball bobbled around the box and it eventually found it's way to HUSBAND who from the obliquest of angles irrevocably dented Bournemouth's play off hopes.
There was still a last gasp chance to pile people forwards and it nearly paid off when Pitman headed Ritchies free-kick against the foot of the post..... but it wasn't to be.
Ft Bournemouth 1 Donny 2
Allsop 6 - Not much to do and looked solid but beaten at near post.
Francis 6 - More subdued than normal and poor mistake for goal.
Cook 7 - Solid enough and unlucky at other end.
Seaborne 6 - Alright shift but another two goal concession.
Ritchie 8 - Bright and inventive especially first half.
Mcquoid 4 - How he gets a game on the wing is beyond belief.
Macdonald 7 - Great first half of sweeping up - tired towards end.
O'Kane 7 - Drove team on and spread it about nicely.
Pugh 7 - Very dangerous and better crosses, again more in 1st half
Pitman 6 - Good from deep but not attacking crosses.
Grabban 6 - Again, good going wide but not attacking crosses.
Date:Saturday March 9 2013
Howe: We delivered when the pressure was on (Friday May 17 2013)
Ritchie: It`s my best achievement (Friday May 17 2013)
Addison: Biggest challenge of my career (Friday May 17 2013)
Cherries to erect temporary stand (Friday May 17 2013)
Elphick: Howe loves Bournemouth (Thursday May 16 2013)
Francis: Howe chart was eye opener (Thursday May 16 2013)
Strugnell joins H&W (Thursday May 16 2013)
Arter: Hughes experience is a positive (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Pitman: I don't have anything to prove (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Cherries pre-season begins to take shape *update* (Tuesday May 14 2013)
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