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Match Report

 

Posted Thu 21 Jun 12 at 21:39 PM

Six goal thriller at Meadow Lane

208 hardy Cherries fans were rewarded for their loyalty as Eddie Howe's men pulled-off a remarkable come-back in an end-to-end game at Meadow Lane.

AFC Bournemouth's looked destined to return pointless from Nottinghamshire at the break, after going in two goals behind without reply, and prospects looking bleak on a cold and misty evening on the Trent.

However, another inspirational Howe team-talk turned the tide and the Cherries emerged to level the scores, before a flurry of action five minutes from time made it 3-3 on the night and gained the travelling team a well deserved point.

Howe made two changes to the side that recovered so emphatically at home to Tranmere Rovers at the weekend. Steve Cook slotted in at left back, covering for the suspended Charlie Daniels, whilst Donal McDermott made his second start of the season, replacing Lewis Grabban who left the field on Saturday with a knock to the ankle.

The Cherries set-up in a new-look 4-2-3-1 formation with McDermott, Marc Pugh and Josh McQuoid behind Lee Barnard.

Five minutes in Yoann Arquann tested David James with an audacious lob from 35-yards, forcing the stopper into a diving save. Dean Leacock then went close for the home team, heading a dangerous free-kick just past James' post. 

In the 19th minute the Cherries carved their first spell of real pressure. McQuoid tested Bartosz Bialkowski from 25-yards forcing the keeper into a fine save. The resultant set-piece saw a trademark Howe corner routine, with the ball played across the floor to Simon Francis just outside the area. His powerful strike came off the upright causing a flurry of confusion in the Magpies box, but the Cherries failed to capitalise. 

A minute later, Barnard was threaded through but the keeper was equal to his strike, which the on-loan man managed to get away under pressure from Ashley Eastham.

In a matter of moments the ball was at the other end of the pitch and Arquin was through on goal. James smothered the ball well at the striker's feet but the loose ball was collected by Francois Zoko, who squared for Jeff Hughes to finish into an unguarded net. 

Neither side stamped their authority on the game and it took a Cherries mistake to gift County an extension to their lead. On 33 minutes Francis' short back-pass was pounced on by Arquin. The lively forward took two steps, kept his composure and slotted past James from 18-yards out.

Neither side elected to make a change at a break that saw Howe and Jason Tindall facing the toughest test yet since their return just under two weeks ago.

The Cherries started the second period brightest and Pugh nearly pulled one back three minutes in. The winger picked up a loose ball and drove into the box, making just enough space for himself to get a shot away from a tight angle. Bialkowski was once again alert to the danger and got down low to parry it along his own goal-line and to safety.

On 51-minutes though the Cherries pressure paid dividends. McDermott's quick thinking under pressure put McQuoid through with an ingenious back-heel. The travelling fans were sent into raptures as the attacker kept his cool and planted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the County net.

The Cherries were beginning to get a grip on the game when Magpies captain Neal Bishop hit the bar on fifty-four minutes. His shot from 25-yards ricocheted off a number of bodies before cannoning off the angle, and Miles Addison was on hand to mop-up the loose ball.
 
Five minutes later and the Cherries were level. Pugh bobbed and weaved past two defenders down the left hand side, his industry earning him a spot-kick as the third brought him crashing to the ground. The referee debated for a moment whether the offence had taken place inside or outside the area, but once his decision was made, Harry Arter was quick to establish himself as taker and finished confidently to the 'keeper's left.

Both sides then had a bout of possession, with the Magpies perhaps looking the most likely to score. With 15 minutes remaining, two club stalwarts in Lee Hughes and Steve Fletcher were sent on to change the game for their respective teams.

With five minutes left It looked like curtains for Howe's men, as a melee in Cherries box saw Shaun Macdonald lunge in on Bishop who was looming over goal. The referee didn't hesitate this time as he pointed to the spot, and Campbell-Ryce put just enough behind the ball to beat the outstretched palm of James.

However, it was the Cherries who had the last laugh as the game took its final twist just a minute later. Substitutes Fletcher and Matt Tubbs combined, with the latter taking control of the ball on the opposition penalty spot and with his back to the target. The frontman turned to his left and looked to have run too far from goal, when virtually on the byline he swivelled and somehow managed to put the ball straight through Bialkopwski's legs.

The final minutes were played-out in a cauldron of noise, but it was the travelling faithful who were left celebrating on an evening of high drama and great entertainment, as the points were shared at Meadow Lane.

Notts County: Bialkowski, Liddle, Eastham, Leacock, Stewart, Hughes, Boucard, Bishop (c), Campbell-Ryce, Arquin, Zoko.

Substitutes: Pilkington, Sheehan, Showunmi, Mahon, Bencherif, Hughes, Nangle.

Bookings: Campbell-Ryce, Boucard, Stewart.

Goals: Hughes 21', Arquin 32', Campbell-Ryce 84' (pen). 

Cherries: James, Francis, Addison (c), Elphick, Cook, Pugh, Arter, MacDonald, McDermott, McQuoid, Barnard. 

Substitutes: Jalal, Zubar, Partington, Fogden, O’Kane, Fletcher, Tubbs. 

Bookings: Arter, Cook.

Goals: McQuoid 51', Arter 60' (pen), Tubbs 55'.

Att: 4584 (208)

By Max Fitzgerald.

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