Skip to main content

MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
09:59 10th March 2011

Exeter City 2 AFC Bournemouth 0

So on a chilly night at the Park, City secure the points for the first time in six attempts with a comfortable 2-0 win over high flying AFC Bournemouth in front of 4537 supporters, including a hefty thousand plus from the visitors. City lined up: Hamer; Golbourne, Archibald-Henville, Taylor, Duffy, Tully; Sercombe, Dunne, Harley; Logan, Cureton.
The opening exchanges were a fairly even affair with neither side troubling the keeper, although it was City who produced the first meaningful effort of the game. Harley robbed a defender in the middle of the Park then strode forward looking to lay the ball off. However his intended target of Cureton just couldn't get back onside so Harley was forced to shoot from distance, which compounded with a defender's backside taking the sting out of the shot, proved to be an easy collect for the keeper.
In the 12th minute City came devilishly close to opening the scoring when from a throw in Tully and Cureton exchanged a neat one two before Tully fizzed a peach of a cross to the penalty area. Logan rose unchallenged to meet the cross, but could only succeed in butting a decent looking header straight at the keeper in the middle of the goal.
In the 16th minute though City did take the lead. In a quickfire move down the left that was slicker than slug snot, Sercombe stormed down the channel before playing the ball into Cureton who first time nudged it Logan who immediately laid it back to Cureton. He in turn found time and space to bend a first time shot from the corner of the box around the keeper's flailing dive and low into the far corner to deservedly put City 1-0 up.
For half an hour then City probed and prodded, led by the unrelenting running and energy of the effervescent Sercombe, but just couldn't find a way past a determined Bournemouth defence, while Bournemouth were content to soak up the pressure and come out to either give the ball straight back to City or allow themselves to be tackled off it.
That was until the visitors played a raking cross field ball from right full back to left wing that Marc Pugh collected before cutting inside and flashing a good looking drive high onto the Big Bank via the top of the cross bar.
In the second half Bournemouth came out early and made a determined start, however Hamer wasn't fazed by a high hanging cross from the right in the opening minutes and calmly plucked the ball one handed from the air despite fierce pressure from a couple of forwards. A confident City then pushed on, and in the ninth minute Harley whipped in a corner that saw Troy's glancing header narrowly beat the far post from close range.
On 13 minutes City's industry was finally rewarded when Duffy sent Cureton scampering down the right. The chance looked gone as defenders closed in, but Cureton twisted and turned working himself an opening to ping the ball across the face of goal where Logan gleefully tapped in to an empty net at the far post from a yard or two out to make it 2-0 to City and effectively game over. I say game over as up until then Bournemouth hadn't actually tested Hamer at all during the game, which given their second position in the table was somewhat surprising.
What wasn't surprising though was the way City continued to press and run and tackle as though their lives depended on it, with once again Sercombe leading the effort ably assisted by the equally impressive Dunne. But it was the third member of the trio that looked the more likely to score, although midway through the half the best Harley could do was to send a rasping drive high over the bar and into the noisy crowd lapping it up on the Bank.
City very nearly fashioned a third goal on the half hour when Logan, Sercombe and Harley combined well to send Cureton through into the box, but his ferocious strike crashed off the underside of the bar and onto the turf behind a shell shocked keeper before being cleared to safety. A minute later Harley came even closer with an outrageous opportunist strike from fully 45 yards that almost caught the keeper out, but he was happy in the end to scramble Harley's audacious effort around the base of his right hand post for a corner.
Finally, with nine minutes to go, Hamer had his first shot in anger to save when a free kick found its way out to Jason Pearce on the edge of the box who fired goalwards, but in all honesty even the City Centre of Excellence keepers would have been embarrassed had the effort beaten them. The last real action of the game though fittingly fell to City, so while Bournemouth exerted some pressure on the City defence at last, Logan was happy to just bang the ball up field for Cureton and Harley to chase. Neither could fully get the ball under control and thus a promising break ended with a rather tame Harley effort on goal from distance.
However, whatever, after an extraordinarily long period of added on time the referee finally brought proceedings to an end to signal a fine win for City and their first on home soil since Walsall were despatched in late January.
And a rather deserved, and in the end easy, win it was too. From back to front all 11 performed infinitely better than they had done in the flaccid 1-1 draw with Tranmere a week earlier. At the back Hamer looked assured and unflustered and distributed the ball accurately and intelligently. In front of him the central three of Troy, Taylor and Duffy had little to stretch them winning pretty much not only everything in the air but everything on the ground too.
Out wide Tully and Golbourne in particular covered an awful lot of grass getting up and down, with both showing a fair turn of pace too. In the middle as well as spraying passes about nonchalant ease, Harley was even tackling, but the real stars were Dunne and Sercombe, the latter especially. Today's performance was easily the best the two have produced in tandem at home this season, and showed just what fantastic prospects both are. Hopefully, like the club, both have turned a corner now this season, and hopefully we'll see a lot more performances of a similar nature between now and the end of the season from them both.
But all of this amounts to not a lot if you don't put the ball in the net, and with Logan restored to the starting line up alongside Cureton, City had their most lethal strike partnership finally back together. So it was no surprise that both ended up scoring. Oh, and guess when the pair last started together too - yep, that's right, our last home win back in January against Walsall.
And so after a flurry of midweekers it's a less frenetic couple of weeks coming up with the trip to Rochdale this weekend followed by the visit of Yeovil the weekend after. If we can get a couple of results there then that should almost seal our safety for next season, but let's not rest on our laurels just yet, there's still a long way to go against a number of teams with interests still at both ends of the table. Which should make for an exciting run in and I'm looking forward to it, especially if we have a few more performances like the one tonight.
    Data provided by Press Association