Tony Agana, my former colleague in the early 1980s, who played as a striker for Welling Utd, Weymouth, Watford, Sheffield United, Leeds and Notts County, invited me to be his guest at the Bournemouth match at Bramall Lane this weekend. I travelled up by train from St Pancras on Saturday and checked-in at the Hampton by Hilton, West Bar Green, before arranging to meet Tony for a night out on the town.
The following day, the weather was clearly proving an issue, and the extreme wind and rain threatened to postpone the match. We took shelter in the Copthorne Hotel, next door to the ground, and awaited developments. However, around 2pm the battering eased (although not before part of the roof over the car park had been ripped off) and we ran round to the appropriate entrance. Tony and I were guests in one of the hospitality boxes and we enjoyed a pleasant lunch before taking our seats.
It was a close fought match and the Cherries took a deserved lead when Callum Wilson reacted quickest and swept home the rebound after Harry Wilson’s shot was blocked. It looked like Bournemouth would make halt time in the lead, but our nemesis Billy Sharp scored from close range in first-half injury time following a series of corners.
Into the second half and Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson made a superb diving save from Ryan Fraser when the score was 1-1. This proved decisive, as in the 84th minute John Lundstram received a pass from fellow substitute and ex-Cherry Lys Mousset on the edge of our box and steered the ball past Aaron Ramsdale for a late winner. This felt like the Cherries’ season in a nutshell. Promising, but eventually pointless.
A former colleague of Tony’s kindly dropped to the station after the match, but the weather had taken its toll on transport in the area and there were to be no trains back to London until the morning. So I returned to the Copthorne and booked myself in for the night and settled for heading into the office this morning.