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Steve Fletcher: 6 of the best AFC Bournemouth Premier League matches

PUBLISHED: 10:53 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:53 28 March 2017

ABC Bournemouth v Blackburn Rovers by Chris Parker (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0) via flic.kr/p/ro7cN1

ABC Bournemouth v Blackburn Rovers by Chris Parker (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0) via flic.kr/p/ro7cN1

Archant

Steve Fletcher looks back on six incredible matches that AFC Bournemouth has been involved in since they joined the Premier League in 2015

A game isn’t won or lost until that final whistle. No matter how far behind you may be. Take the home game we played against Liverpool on December 4 last year. We were 3-1 down, with less than 30 minutes remaining. We knew we had an uphill task to get anything from that match. What followed was a quite incredible turnaround that will live long in the memory of the players, staff and supporters of AFC Bournemouth.

Ryan Fraser reduced the arrears with 14 minutes remaining and I remember thinking ‘maybe just maybe’, in terms of us getting a draw. Two minutes later, Steve Cook made it 3-3 and our fans at the Vitality Stadium erupted into a standing ovation. But the drama didn’t end there. Deep into stoppage time, Nathan Ake slotted the ball past their keeper. We had beaten mighty Liverpool for the first time in our history. I was standing in the directors’ box at the time and I couldn’t help myself jumping on our chairman in celebration!

That 4-3 victory was one of a series of incredible matches we have played in the Premier League since our promotion back in 2015. One of the first games in the top flight that really stands out for me was when we drew 3-3 at home to Everton (November 28, 2015). That was another rollercoaster of emotion. We’d come from two goals down to make it 2-2, only for Ross Barkley to score in stoppage time and seemingly win it for the visitors. However, in the seventh minute of added time, Junior Stanislas equalised in what turned out to be one of the matches of the season.

I felt that result (3-3) gave our players real belief that they could mix it with the best in the Premier League and so it proved.

We travelled to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea (December 5, 2015) in our next fixture. Thanks to a late goal from Glenn Murray, we beat the reigning Premier League champions on their home turf 1-0. It was and is one of the biggest results in the club’s history and for me, our most significant win of last season.

Seven days later, we beat Manchester United (December 12, 2015) 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium. It was a hugely emotional evening, coming in the same week we’d heard the tragic news of one of our players - Harry Arter and his partner losing their baby. Harry showed incredible bravery to play and perform as well as he did that night and the victory was for him. I remember there was a break in play towards the end of the game and Harry looked upset. Our manager Eddie Howe put his arm around Harry, almost like a father figure, that is an image that will live with me forever.

Our biggest Premier League win so far was earlier this season, beating Hull City 6-1 at home (October 15, 2016). It was one of those afternoons where we created countless chances and scored from most of those opportunities.

More recently, we were involved in another 3-3 draw, this time a home game against Arsenal (January 3, 2017). In contrast to the Everton game I mentioned earlier, when we snatched a point right at the end, we had been 3-0 up against the Gunners. So to end up drawing initially felt like a defeat, but just days later we could start to appreciate that a draw against Arsenal was still a good result. 


More…

Steve Fletcher: How my love for football began - Fletch reflects on how his love for football and his association with AFC Bournemouth began

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