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16:59 14th January 2012

Cherries Pick Up The Points

AFC Bournemouth came from behind to take all three points from a gripping affair at the Seward Stadium.

An enthralling first half saw the Magpies take the lead inside five minutes. The goal-scorer was Hamza Bencherif, who thumped a free-kick unstoppably into the corner - an incredible way to open his Notts account.

Bournemouth levelled on 21 minutes through Wes Thomas, who added his 10th goal of the campaign to set up an interesting second half. The excitement continued but it wasn't until the 83rd minute that the decisive goal was scored.

The finish came courtesy of the Cherries' Wes Fogden, whose delightfully placed effort into the corner gave Stuart Nelson no chance. Although County gave a good account of themselves over the 90 minutes, they were left disappointed at the final whistle and slipped down to 14th in npower League 1.

With Julian Kelly injured and Alan Sheehan suspended, Martin Allen had no choice but to name two new full-backs against the Cherries. Jon Harley came in at left-back, after impressing off the bench against Doncaster, and new loan recruit Kieron Freeman slotted in at the other side of centre-backs Liam Chilvers and Damion Stewart.

There was a surprise inclusion on the bench as well, with Gavin Mahon making a return from a hamstring problem that had sidelined him since he limped off against Leyton Orient in the middle of December. Ishmel Demongtagnac was also named as a substitute after serving a three-game ban.

Meetings between the teams in recent times had been packed with goals - 26 in the last seven fixtures. And, it appeared that this game would be no different, as spectators were treated to a lively opening 45 minutes.

Nelson was the first goalkeeper to be tested, when Marc Pugh forced him into a diving parry from the edge of the box. Fogden looked to capitalise on the rebound but the stopper quickly smothered the loose ball.

On five minutes, Notts took the lead in spectacular style from Bencherif's unstoppable 25-yard free-kick. Neal Bishop had laid the ball to Alan Judge, who stopped the ball dead, allowing the former Macclesfield midfielder to unleash a thunderous hit into the corner.

Hamza Bencherif

Hamza Bencherif

Fogden skewed wide in an attempt to draw level within a minute of the goal but Notts could have made doubled their lead from two opportunities in quick succession. Lee Hughes had a strong effort bravely blocked by Harry Arter and Bishop fired over from Judge's low corner.

Making the most of a sustained period of pressure, the Cherries managed to grab an equaliser, with their top-scorer in the league, Thomas, converting Pugh's grounded centre from the left. Nelson reacted sharply to tip the striker's finish onto the post but it wasn't enough to keep the ball from crossing the line.

Stuart Nelson

Jeff Hughes thought he'd put County back in front five minutes later, after he gathered Judge's driven cross. With clever footwork eight yards out, he made room for the shot but was denied by the underside of the crossbar.

Ahead of the break, either side could have been in front, with Stephen Purches almost finding the bottom corner with a low effort for the hosts and Jeff Hughes working home goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan inside his near post. However, full-back Charlie Daniels came closest with a thumping strike from range that was kept out by Nelson's impressive reaching save.

The Magpies made one change at the interval, which saw Demontagnac replace Karl Hawley in attack. The second half started a little slower than the first but it kicked into life again after 10 minutes.

Karl Hawley

Lee Hughes raced onto Jeff Hughes' flick-on and turned creatively inside his marker, Stephane Zubar. The Notts frontman was then sent tumbling by the defender, though referee Mr Tanner waved away the penalty calls with an authoritative gesture.

At the other end of the pitch, Pugh caused more problems, this time with a free-kick from the wing that required Nelson to punch away. Michael Symes maintained the pressure and Thomas appeared set to add the finishing touch, but Harley's tenacious tackling enabled his team to escape.

Zubar had to produce a moment of brilliance at the back for Bournemouth moments later to prevent Demontagnac from scoring, after he'd latched onto a long ball over the top. Chilvers then threw his body on the line to divert Thomas' stern strike away from goal, as the end-to-end action continued.

Bencherif had his sights set on another wonder-goal, this time from open play, but was unlucky to see his forceful punt bounce inches past the post. Thomas was keen to add a second as well and would have done had Nelson not made a tremendous, one-handed stop to push away his downward header from Pugh's corner.

Hamza Bencherif

On 83 minutes, the Cherries did manage to take the lead, when Fogden curled accurately into the bottom-right corner through a crowd of players. The goal had been made possible by substitute Shaun MacDonald, who had waltzed his way into the area.

The introduction of Ben Burgess almost paid off when he rose high at the back post but Flahavan gathered his header tidily. Despite continuing the push into three minutes of stoppage time, the Magpies were frustrated and had to make the long trip back to Nottingham empty handed.

Attendance: 6,529 (289 away supporters)

Man of the Match: Hamza Bencherif

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.