However, following Danny Ings’ departure to Burnley only a week earlier, most of the 128 away fans feared the worst when news filtered through that Marc Pugh would not be playing against the Cumbrians due to injury. Pugh’s absence, coupled with Barratt’s suspension and Malone and Baudry playing out-of-position, did little to fill the Cherries fans with optimism and probably accounted for a decidedly muted atmosphere for the first 20 minutes or so. During this time, Carlisle quickly gained the upper hand with Zoko’s shot hitting the foot of the post and Flahavan being forced to make some smart saves from distance. Bournemouth showed glimpses of their potential but appeared laboured and disjointed at times. After 28 minutes, however, AFCB were unfortunate not to go in front. Ryan Doble was inches away from converting Scott Malone’s header from Lyle Taylor’s deep cross but the ball was cleared off the line by Peter Murphy. Darryl Flahavan then saved from Tavernier and Curran in quick succession before Molesley was gifted the best chance of the first half after 37 minutes. Feeney’s long ball over the top found the Robbie Savage lookalike in space with only the keeper to beat but his shot trickled onto the post and was cleared to safety. 0-0 at half time with our attention diverted to watching Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald drinking Bovril in the away end. ‘I’ll google her when I get home’ commented one of the Exiles. Too much information I think.
The Cherries started the second half with Steve Lovell replacing Doble who was injured just before half time. Unfortunately, just 4 minutes after the restart, Bournemouth switched off completely when defending a James Berrett free kick. Unmarked and without any pressure from the AFCB defence, Murphy fed Taiwo who scored from close range. Lyle Taylor had a golden opportunity to draw the Cherries level after 54 minutes when he beat the offside trap to find himself one on one with the keeper. After what seemed like an eternity he shot straight at the keeper and another clear cut chance was wasted. Thankfully, instead of letting their heads drop, Bournemouth started to press forward with more purpose and conviction. After an hour, Bournemouth’s pressure paid off when a neat back heel from Taylor found Lovell in the box. McGovern brought Lovell down and Jock Waugh awarded a penalty. Harry Arter made no mistake from the spot to draw the Cherries level. AFCB were now in the ascendancy with the natives becoming restless. After a clever exchange of passes involving Arter, Scott Malone shot narrowly wide of the post after 71 minutes. However, with 13 minutes left, James Tavernier eased past Molesley and Cummings to whip the ball into the danger zone. With the Cherries defence gone AWOL, Curran arrived at the far post to turn Tavernier’s cross past Flahavan with Nathan Byrne helping the ball into the net. 2-1 to the Cumbrians and it’s started to rain. A couple of minutes later, Lovell is put through only to be brought down in the box once again. Instead of awarding another penalty for an almost identical foul on Lovell, Amy Macdonald’s other half is booked for diving. The Cherries seem to lose heart after such a harsh decision and fail to trouble the Carlisle defence again. Not even the arrival of Steve Fletcher making his 600th league appearance and four minutes of added time make any difference and it is Carlisle who finish the match the strongest.
A disappointing result and an erratic performance showing that a week can be a long time in football. From the elation of beating Big Club Wednesday to the despair of losing to Stevenage and Carlisle. It’s going to be a long season, although it appears that we might not be losing Marc Pugh after all.
Man of the Match: Scott Malone – worked tirelessly in midfield and went close on a couple of occasions
AFCB: Flahavan, Bryne, Cooper, Baudry, Cummings, Feeney, Arter, Molesley, Malone, Taylor, Doble
Subs: Jalal, Purches, Nelson, Lovell (for Doble, 45+2 mins), Fletcher (for Taylor, 84 mins)
Jon Blake, South Shields