Feb 22 AFC Bournemouth 2-0 Exeter City Att: 6674

Last updated : 25 February 2003 By Vinny Goodfield
BIG Fletch was out of the starting line-up having felt a twinge in his knee last week at the Memorial Ground. But it’s not his dodgy knee, it’s the other one, ummm the one that isn’t dodgy.

This meant a reasonably rare start for Deadly Derek. O’Driscoll persisted with the 3-5-2 formation, well it worked well enough against Wrexham two weeks previously. To be honest we could probably have played 2-8-2 or 3-6-1 or 0-3-7 against Exeter and still won. They were that bad. And they wear a repulsive purple kit.

Having said that it was Exeter who actually carved out the clearer chances early on. Neil Moss, about to keep his 5th clean sheet in a row (if you count his last appearance at Shrewsbury back in December) had to get down smartly at his near post to stop a shot from the angle. 5 minutes later he was off his line to smartly smother from Flack also.

But you always felt we would win. Exeter seemed to lack self-belief. Although we disposed of Swansea 3-0 in the previous home game, Exeter’s all round play was well below that of Swansea’s. Therefore it came as no real great surprise when we took the lead on 35. Hayter, playing in his favoured position of "in the hole" did some good work on the right before slipping the ball inside to Holmes. The Scotsman picked his spot well with an accurate right-footed finish to the keeper’s right into the corner of the net. 1-0, not as though you could tell from the flash new scoreboard that still appears to be suffering from teething troubles.

Fast forward to the hour mark as not a lot else happened until then. Feeney was running around very fast having cut in from the left and went down under challenge. Definitely not a cast-iron penalty but even if it were slightly dodgy, it’s about time we had the rub of the green.

With Gaz O’Connor on the bench, Feeney quickly got hold of the ball and placed it on the spot, although Deadly Derek and Tindall with his lovely flowing locks both appeared eager to have a go. I was a bit surprised at this as the Feenster’s record is far from immaculate from the spot (in open play at least).

FAT Kevin Miller in the City goal went to his right (I would say dived but that would sound a bit athletic) and parried the ball out to safety. Don’t think Feeney will be taking then again as he did hit it at a very nice height. Nice if you are the goalkeeper that is.

Comedy moment of the game then followed with penalty hero Miller taking a free kick for an infringement down by his own corner flag. Except he rolled the ball forward 10 yards. Referee Tomlin warned Mr Miller but he decided to ignore him and got booked for his troubles. Despite moaning and wobbling his bloated face around in disgust he then rolled the ball forward again before taking the kick. The ref let it go this time! Fair play to Kevin Miller though, like other large lower division keepers that we have seen much of over the years (such as Kevin Dearden and Roger Freestone) he takes the stick all in good part.

Gaz O’C on as sub obviously thought the crowd were getting a bit bored so following an exquisite touch on the edge of the box he clipped the ball in left-footed off the far post and into the net. 2-0 game over. Conference beckons for City based on this showing. BIG Steve Fletcher came on to milk the applause for his 400th AFCB appearance. I wonder if he’ll ever score 100 goals?

Relieved that AFCB picked up the 3 points but this was far from a classic. The away performances need to get better to keep hold of the top 3 position we currently occupy.

Lewis Buxton
– sound at the back and got forward very well. Worked tirelessly.

AFCB: Moss, Buxton, Tindall, C Fletcher, Cummings, Elliott, Stock, Hayter, Browning, Feeney, Holmes.
Subs: Tardif, Eribenne, S Fletcher (for Holmes, 78), O'Connor (for Stock, 78), Purches (for Hayter, 80)
Vinny Goodfield, Uxbridge