Due to the ever demanding needs of stupid TV companies wishing to witness the demise of our football club, I and many other Mags got up at 4am on Saturday morning to get the 5am train from Durham on the first leg of our trek to Bournemouth. I was pleased I wasn’t on a bus like. As I left the house, even the birds were still asleep! Myself and father Ted boarded the rattler and away we went. I was determined to avoid early drinking but fell apart before York and my first can of Stella was popped around quarter to 6 – this is when you realise it’s going to be a long day! There were a lot of Mags on the train who didn’t seem to have the same dilemma as myself, especially the lads sitting on the table next to us with a bottle of 30% proof home-made wine. I’m pretty sure it won’t be included in the Sunday Times wine list for Christmas.
The connection across to Waterloo went smoothly and we jumped on the final train for another 2 hours down to our final destination and were joined by more Mags at Southampton Airport who had taken a more considerate mode of transport which didn’t leave Newcastle International till 8.30. We’d also picked up a ticket for Father Ted’s cousin who decided to drive down from Luton way to join us for the match. He met us off the train and we parked up around the ground at 11.30ish. The usual ‘wander’ to find a drink was topped off when we found a little Portuguese bar playing jolly music being served by a portly barmaid who spoke very little English. Father Ted found a way to communicate (I think he used interpretive dance) and mini bottles of Sagres appeared without any further delay. It was raining mind you, the kind of fine rain that sweeps through your clothes and soaks you quickly. I couldn’t help but think that was gonna be uncomfortable when you aren’t due home till midnight but in truth, I’d be so snotted by then that I wouldn’t care.
Anyway, we made our way into the small stadium which is definitely a throwback to the Championship season, and proceeded to gift possession for the entire first half. We sat deep and allowed wave after wave of attack to bear down on our back four with the midfield of Anita and Tiote neither offering anything going forward or any protection to the centre halves. The one bit of football we played in the entire game resulted in Wijnaldum and Mitrovic combining to set up Perez (gets the ball, scores a goal) who finished off Federici in the Bournemouth goal. We managed to get to half time one up but we had to be better in the second half. The second half started exactly as the first had ended with us on the back foot and the Cherries pouring forward at will. Our midfield continued to be as weak as piss with Anita and Sissoko standing out as being completely ineffective and we continued to rely on Rob Elliot and Chancel Mbemba to keep the opposition an bay.
McClaren replaced Mitrovic with Cisse on 63 minutes (don’t know why and it changed absolutely nothing) and then Thauvin replaced Perez (who’d gone down holding his face on a couple of occasions which just looked a bit embarrassing to me) in the 77th minute. Thauvin looked more up for it than he did at the stadium of shite but is still as weak as piss when someone looks remotely like tackling him. A bewildering 6 minutes of injury time was played out with us threatening to break a couple of times and finish the game off but terrible distribution / poor final balls meant that we never got a chance to finish the game off. At the final whistle, the sense of relief was easy to recognise with fans and players enjoying the result way more than the performance.
As I left the stad du plop a fortnight back, I couldn’t help but think ‘how the hell did we lose that?’ but today I couldn’t help but think ‘how the hell did we win that?’. Mind you, we have no time for sentiment and the three points were priceless in the grand scheme of things. Bournemouth were a decent footballing side but like most sides that struggle in the Premier League, they lacked a real cutting edge finisher. This might be the bit that sends them down at the end of the season. We robbed a result but I couldn’t care less.
We boarded a happy train back to Waterloo and then took in the delights of Camden Town before smiling our way onto the 9 o’clock east coast back to Durham. A couple of texts from mates said that we’d ‘deserved’ that result for the stupid long trek to the South Coast but I couldn’t help but think that the team had deserved the result because of the unrewarded performances against the mackems and Stoke. We can’t rely on that though and we need to take this as a springboard to getting results in the bag for the rest of the season. In other words, we need to get out of the shit at the bottom of the table.
Unused Subs: De Jong, Gouffran, Lascelles, Woodman
Attendance: 11,155 including 1,300 mental Mags
Our Fans: 7 – moments of good crack and an interesting new ditty for Mbemba
Their Fans: 5 – really nice set of people
Ref: Lee Mason 7 – I think he had a decent game
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