FANS experienced a range of emotions when they walked through the turnstiles at the old Dean Court for the last time.

A place in the second division play-offs was at stake as the Cherries took on Northampton on April 28, 2001.

If the club were to have made the play-offs, the home leg would have been played elsewhere.

Thankfully O’Driscoll’s Kids brought the curtain down on Dean Court with a comfortable victory over the cordial Cobblers, who rarely looked likely to cause any trouble.

But the post-match celebrations were somewhat subdued as news filtered through that Cherries’ three rivals for a play-off place had also triumphed.

After Wade Elliott had given Cherries a 35th-minute lead with another magnificent solo effort, everything was going to plan for the home side.


Last AFC game at Dean Court.....The fans ...

Last AFC game at Dean Court.....The fans ...


In fact, at half-time, O’Driscoll’s side were on course to move into fifth place in Division Two, leapfrogging both Wigan and Stoke.

But after Claus Jorgensen had secured the points at Dean Court seven minutes after the interval, results elsewhere started to conspire against Cherries.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Dean Court faithful and particularly hard on O’Driscoll’s troops who had performed a minor miracle to sustain a play-off bid.


Last AFC game at Dean Court.....The fans ...

Last AFC game at Dean Court.....The fans ...


Less than six months prior, Cherries were firmly embroiled in a relegation battle and three places off the bottom after collecting just 13 points from their opening 16 games.

The pessimists were suggesting Cherries might even be doomed well before the end of the season, while the optimists still felt a mid-table finish was an outside possibility.

But nobody in their right mind ever pondered the prospect of Cherries going to Reading on the final day of the season with the slightest chance of making the top six.