Aug 23 AFC Bournemouth 0-1 Exeter City Att: 5350

Last updated : 30 August 2008 By Ellis Griffin
Since then the Grecians have had to endure a few seasons of non-league football, but have fought their way back. As this match wore on, I couldn't help feeling that the same fate might also await us, given our points deficit and today's shambolic performance. Two teams travelling in opposite directions?

Four changes from the Aldershot game - Pryce in for the injured Jalal, Pearce for Ward, a welcome return from injury by Hollands, and Wagstaff (on-loan from Charlton) making his debut on the wing at the expense of Igoe who seems to have replaced Telfer as Public Enemy No. 1.

I have to rack my brains to think anything of note to report in the first half. We had more possession, but apart from a couple of decent balls across the visitors' box, very little to show for it. We appeared to be playing a kind of 4-4-1-1 with Pitman at the sharp end and Hollands behind him. It didn't work particularly well, but at least Hollands, although a bit rusty, showed how much he's been missed. Bartley was his usual energetic self, but somewhat wasted on the left wing. Young Wagstaff has a touch of Wade Elliott about him, so might be a useful player when he settles in.

The defence, however, looked as pedestrian as ever and always liable to struggle against nippy forwards. One such was Stansfield who had at least two good chances but fortunately failed to hit the target, and Pryce had to make a decent save from a goal-bound effort by Harley.

The Exeter keeper, on the other hand, was not called into action at all.

HT: 0-0

The second half was little different and, understandably, the visitors began to grow in confidence and to look like the "passing team" we're supposed to be! Anderton, who has been worth the admission money on a number of occasions, was having an off day and unable to provide his usual range of passing.

Guyett, who appeared to be struggling with a hamstring problem, was replaced by Sappleton on around the hour mark, with Cooper dropping back into defence. For a few minutes we looked more likely to pose an attacking threat, but a swift Exeter counter-attack saw Harley strike a sweet low drive just inside the far post to give the visitors a deserved lead.

The ineffective Anderton was replaced by on-loan Liverpool striker Lindfield for the final 20 minutes as we struggled to get something out of the game. However, too many balls were punted aimlessly forward by a team seemingly bereft of ideas and we never came close to threatening an equaliser. The game predictably ended in a chorus of boos from the home fans and jubilation at the away end.

A very disappointing display and hard to draw positives. Given our situation, we can't afford to have the kind of poor start we've had in recent seasons. Playing one up-front at home always looks negative - after all we weren't playing Real Madrid. The Exeter keeper only had one save to make in the whole match. Says it all really.

Man Of The MatchBartley. But needs to play in central midfield

AFCB: Pryce, Guyett, Pearce, Bradbury, Cummings, Cooper, Bartley, Anderton, Wagstaff, Hollands, Pitman
Subs: Igoe (for Wagstaff, 78 mins), McQuoid, Partington, Sappleton (for Guyett, 57 mins), Lindfield (for Anderton, 70 mins)

Ellis Griffin, Chertsey