This must have been one of the most entertaining and satisfying games we've seen for ages. We've won our opening match in each of our two previous seasons in League 1, but this one was a bit special.
There was the usual 'opening day excitement', with everyone keen to see how the new signing perform and whether there are signs that a promising team is coming together, but this time we were waiting to see how Chris Powell is making his mark. He was a thoroughly admirable player, both for us and other clubs, and anyone who thought he might be 'too nice' to make it in management must have been impressed that he was banned from the touchline last season for making his feelings know to match officials :->
This was a heart-warming performance against Bournmemouth, partly because The Cherries seem to be a pretty decent team who could well have expected as they travelled up for the match to at least share the points. The most encouraging thing about the victory is that it came as a result of good teamwork and also from sheer hard graft from individuals.
Paul Hayes seems to be really very mobile and fast on his feet for a big bloke and gave the defence all sorts of problems. Dale Stephens scored a superb goal from a selfless pass from Bradley Wright-Phillips after Chris Solly had broken through the defence. Danny Hollands seems to be very good at long throw-ins, and Rhoys Wiggins had a good debut at left back in spite of, or more probably inspired by, sustained barracking from the away supporters. At centre back Taylor and Morrison were unremarkable, which means, I suppose, that they did a good, solid job - must keep an eye on them next match!
Johnnie Jackson looks like the perfect choice as captain - calm and self-assured - and took his penalty well. Scott Wagstaff's belter form outside the area could already be the Goal of the Season. So, exciting times again!
I've been really late this year in printing out the composite Members of the Opposition image from last season - I've promised it to Dermot before the next home league game. And yes, I've decided to carry on with the photos for the 2011/12 season, as you can already see. In spite of there being no away supporters in view for quite a few games nowadays, especially the evening fixtures, I feel that there's still enough general support for our photos from supporters on both sides to turn out another worthwhile image at the end of this season. In fact, this will be our tenth successive season for the MOTO tradition!