SKIPPER Simon Francis said he had been “surprised” and “disappointed” after Cherries had been booed off at half-time during their 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Saturday.

A section of supporters voiced their displeasure at Cherries’ below-par first-half showing as they reached the break trailing to Dwight Gayle’s double at Vitality Stadium.

However, Francis also said “phenomenal” backing from fans had played a part in Cherries’ rousing comeback as late goals from Adam Smith and Dan Gosling earned them a point.

Asked by the Daily Echo whether the booing had surprised him, Francis replied: “Slightly, because of the great run we have been on.

“We know how important our fans have been over the years and they are a massive reason, if not the only reason, the club is here today.

“All those years ago, they put their hands in their pockets and helped the club survive and stay afloat so I can’t mention enough how good they have been over the past few years.

“But let’s not forget the run we were on recently. I know the Huddersfield performance wasn’t good enough and I apologised in my programme notes and know the manager did as well.

“People got up very early on Sunday morning and travelled all that way for us and our away support has been phenomenal this season.

“To get booed off at half-time was disappointing, not by all the fans of course. We are trying our hardest and are not a group of players who are going to chuck in the towel.

“That’s not what we did at Huddersfield and that’s not what we did against Newcastle. If we could get the same support for the whole game like we did in the last 20 minutes then it would help us turn round results quicker.”

Francis added: “We are a possession-based team so when we turn out and play along the back, it is not because we are scared of playing forward, it is because maybe the first option isn’t on so we want to rotate the ball and move it across the other side of the pitch. A lot of times our goals have come from switching play and building the attack that way.

“I was a little surprised some of the fans jeered and booed but, for the last 20 minutes, they were phenomenal and we are going to need more for that for the rest of the season.

“Perhaps it is a sign of how far we have come and maybe they expect better from us. But we are 11th in the Premier League, we are doing better than at this stage last season and we have just broken the club record for the longest unbeaten run at this level.

“Maybe expectations are that we can go on and achieve much more and I agree with that. But the only way we are going to achieve more is if we do it together and the fans are behind us.”