Poppies left frustrated as spoils shared with Shaftesbury

Report from Carlo Simone (@CSimonejourno) at Victoria Park

Bournemouth Poppies claimed a point against Shaftesbury Town to end their two-game Wessex Premier losing streak.

After a dire first 45 minutes, River Smith gave Poppies the lead midway through the second half, but Shaftesbury’s Greg Peel cancelled that out just minutes later.

On the balance of play Shaftesbury then should have gone on and won the match, but Poppies’ goalkeeper Sam Jones was in fine form to keep them out.

Two changes were made by manager Michael Cuffie’s starting XI after last week’s defeat to Hamble Club.

Marcus Cullen and Ali Zintany replaced Dom Falco and Manny Ohameje.

Despite this the squad didn’t start out with any fluency in their play.

Shaftesbury had the first couple of chances as Jack Mitchell shot just over and Peel fired off target after initially dispossessing Chia Khider.

On 13 minutes Poppies arguably had the best chance of the half as Smith was played in through on goal.

However, goalkeeper Paul Woods did very well to come out and block the effort.

After that brief chance, the Rockies were once again in the ascendancy as Ben Wood cut inside on his left foot, only to see his soft effort go straight at Jones.

Mitchell then had a shot trickle wide, before Jones had to get down to stop Peel’s low effort.

Both sides were finding it tricky to string more than a few passes together, which was made harder by the ball being held up in the wind on multiple occasions.

Just before the half ended Bournemouth finally fashioned another clear-cut opportunity.

Harry Cooper tried a curling shot from just outside the penalty area which forced Woods to palm the ball away.

Half-time was then reached in what had been a largely turgid affair with few genuine chances.

When the second half began Shaftesbury carried on where they left off, with Wood forcing Jones into a low save almost instantly.

The Rockies midfielder was then denied a goal on 55 minutes as his bouncing shot from a cross was brilliantly cleared off the line by Chris Speers.

This helped shake Bournemouth up a bit as Fawzi Saadi then whipped in a delightful cross which narrowly missed substitute Manny Ohameje, who was running into the area.

Smith then made up for the golden chance he missed in the first half by giving Poppies the lead.

He found himself through on goal again, but this time made no mistake by finishing across goal into the bottom corner.

However, this lead was to be short-lived. Minutes later Peel smashed in from six yards after the ball fell to him from a long throw-in.

Both sides tried their best to take the advantage in the last 20 minutes as the wind and rain got worse.

Saadi was close to getting Bournemouth’s second as he fired straight at Woods, after substitute Nasim Meddah found him with a cross.

First Smith then Meddah had long range strikes go over, whilst Jones did incredibly well to deny Wood as he was played in on goal.

Mitchell then saw a deflected shot go wide, and that would prove to be the last action of the game.

Whilst it was a point gained, it still wasn’t hugely beneficial to Bournemouth’s top four ambitions.

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