Cherries: Late rally is a tonic for Fletcher

26 April 2011 07:00
MATCHWINNER Steve Fletcher admitted Cherries' remarkable Easter Monday comeback had helped him recover from the worst day of his 22-year career.

Fletcher sealed victory as Lee Bradbury's men staged a dramatic salvage mission to see off League One strugglers Bristol Rovers at Dean Court yesterday.

The 38-year-old's clincher added to Mathieu Baudry's headed equaliser as Cherries netted twice in the final six minutes to significantly boost their play-off bid.

A pulsating finale saw Cherries hit back to claim three precious points after they had been on the receiving end of a fight-back during their 2-2 draw at Yeovil on Saturday.

Fletcher told the Daily Echo: I didn't sleep a wink on Saturday night because what happened at Yeovil was the worst feeling I had experienced in football in 22 years. We were 2-0 up and cruising and I was distraught we didn't win. It really hit me hard and I know it hurt the boys as well.

We were brilliant for 85 minutes against Yeovil and capitulated in five. We didn't play well for 60 to 65 minutes against Bristol Rovers but really took the game to them after that. We did to Rovers what Yeovil did to us and it was a great feeling after Saturday.

Goals from Fletcher and Baudry cancelled out Wayne Brown's fourth-minute opener with both teams reduced to 10 men in the first half following the dismissals of Rovers defender David McCracken and Cherries midfielder Danny Hollands.

McCracken received a straight red card following an off-the-ball incident involving Adam Smith in the 30th minute before Hollands collected a second yellow card on the stroke of half-time for a needless foul on Chris Lines.

With Fletcher, Smith, Harry Arter, Donal McDermott and Liam Feeney also picking up yellow cards during an often feisty affair, Cherries look set to be hit with a mandatory £2,500 fine from the FA after having six players booked.

Fletcher added: We know we didn't play particularly well. But, at this stage of season, strange things happen in games and there are some strange results. We showed character and a never-say-die attitude and you will take any win at this stage of the season.

Victory at Hartlepool on Saturday would all but guarantee Cherries a place in the play-offs due to their superior goal difference. With just two games remaining, they are three points ahead of closest pursuers Leyton Orient.

Boss Bradbury said: I thought we looked tired in the first half but the character of the lads showed through in the second half. They were couragaeous and stood up and were counted.

It has always been our aim not to take this to the last game of the season against Rochdale so it is up to us to deal with it and try to get a win at Hartlepool.

Bradbury, meanwhile, confirmed he had asked injured defender Ryan Garry to help on the coaching front while he continues his bid to regain full fitness. Garry was involved from the technical area yesterday.

Bradbury also confirmed his players would not be conducting any interviews with the media until after the season had ended.

Source: Bournemouth_Echo

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