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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:08 18th September 2011

Exeter City 0 AFC Bournemouth 2

So on a dull and overcast afternoon at The Park City slumped to a 2-0 defeat against fellow strugglers Bournemouth in front of 4593 supporters. City lined up: Pidgeley; Jones, Coles, Duffy, Tully; Dunne, Archibald-Henville, Noble; Shephard; Vine, Whichelow.

Surprisingly, given how badly the game deteriorated as a spectacle later on, City got off to a bright start with both Shephard and Dunne keen to get forward and support the front line. Indeed, in the sixth minute Shephard played a delightful ball down the left for Dunne to chase, where he showed good composure to keep possession before cutting in towards the corner of the box. With a defender tracking well and blocking any openings, Dunne played the ball across the edge of the box where Troy had bust a gut to sprint forward and smash an absolute rocket narrowly over the bar.

In the 18th minute, after Shephard had whipped in a cross from the left, the ball found its way out to Jones lying deep near the touchline. He floated a swerving ball to the far post where Vine rose well to beat the keeper to it by inches but could only glance his header just wide of the far post. Two minutes later Noble played the ball into Dunne near the right corner of the box where he somewhat acrobatically flicked the ball with the back of his heel to Shephard rushing in behind him, however Shephard's kick was straight into the ground and the ball dribbled harmlessly to the keeper.

But it was far from being one way traffic as Bournemouth more than held their own both in midfield and at the back giving City little time or space to effect any sort of coherent passing game. In the 34th minute, after spurning a couple of chances, they had their best effort to take the lead. The ball was whipped across the face of goal to the unmarked Marc Pugh at the far post but despite being completely unmarked and two feet out he somehow contrived to steer the ball wide when it seemed easier to score.

Two minutes later Bournemouth took the lead. With City fluffing their lines from a corner, Cherries midfielder Scott Malone broke with pace and strength through the centre of the Park. Wes Taylor went with him to his right, and collected a firm pass with ease before cutting in just outside the box sitting Jones on his backside in the process then firing a swerving shot seeming straight through Pidgeley in the middle of the goal from 15 yards out to give the visitors a 1-0 half time lead.

In the second half City made a raft of early substitutions with Keohane and Bauza replacing Shephard and Whichelow, then Logan replacing Vine but it made little difference as City continued to struggle to find any fluency or fluidity. The crowd, trying their best to raise spirits in increasingly trying conditions were lifted by the sight of Noble winning the ball in the middle before playing the ball forward to Dunne in space, but cheers turned to groans as Dunne wastefully blasted high onto the Big Bank from range midway through the half. With time thankfully running out, a huge melee in the box saw the ball break to Logan, but such was City's luck all he could do was contrive to crash the ball against a post from 15 yards out when a goal was surely on the cards.

Then, to compound both City's and the crowd's misery, Bournemouth grabbed a second in the final minute to seal their victory, but typically after such a scrappy and comical game, the goal came from a scrappy and comical passage of play. Pidgeley chased a ball to the edge of his area on the left, but after faling to get there first by yards a Bournemouth player tried his luck from the edge of the box with a low drilled effort to the centre of the goal. Fortunately Coles was on hand on the line to clear the ball, but unfortunately Duffy was charging back and succeeded only in blocking Coles' clearance right back past him into his own net from about two yards out.

Then, in stoppage time, City actually had a shot on goal! Bauza's dipping strike from range was well tipped over by the keeper, then City's final effort came from a weak Noble free kick from about 30 yards straight into the keeper's midriff.

And that was that. Another home defeat after another toothless and disjointed display. The crowd tried their best today, but something to cheer would have been nice, especially as money's tight for everyone in these troubled times. However, probably the only plus point of a miserable afternoon is that we have arguably our most successful manager ever at the helm, and hopefully he'll be able to turn round our wretched start to the season.

So I'd urge everyone to try your best to keep the faith and keep supporting your team. It's more important now than ever before so please do everything you can to make sure you're back here in a fortnight for the visit of Oldham - 2011/12 could be Paul Tisdale's biggest managerial test since his arrival, let's back him and the team as best we can as we try and turn this season around to ensure another season of League One football.

    Data provided by Press Association