29th February 1992
Sad City picked off by the Cherries
Exeter City 0,
AFC Bournemouth 3
Quinn 2 (1 pen), Morrell
Match Report by Mark Halliwell.
BUBBLY Bournemouth dealt Exeter's play-off hopes a huge blow with a victory stroll at St James Park. This must go down as one of City's worst performances of the season. They simply never got going. Top-scorer Steve Moran was left all alone, flank men Vince Hilaire and Mark Robson were anonymous, the midfield never imposed itself and the de- fence looked shaky. Once again, manager Alan Ball was forced to shuffle his pack with Peter Whiston sus- pended; Jon Brown moved across to partner Scott Daniels at centre half, with Dave Cooper moving to right back. The changes were bound to unsettle City, but they simply came off second best in all departments. Leggy striker Efan Ekoku, a thorn in Brown and Daniels' side all afternoon, shrugged off Tom Kelly to fi- nally warm Kevin Miller's hands with the game's first shot but that was 19 drab minutes in coming. Two minutes later, Miller's opposite number Vince Bartram was woken from his slumbers by a Paul Wimbleton snap-shot which squirmed through his grasp for a corner. That effort was a collector's item with Paul Wood and winger Richard Cooke in particular leading City a merry dance. Bournemouth were finally rewarded when Ekoku, cutting inside the City box, was rashly tripped by Daniels and Northern Ireland international Jimmy Quinn gave Miller no chance from the spot. Within 30 seconds of the start of the second half Moran, twisted and turned past Keith Rowland and Kevin Bond, but curled his shot inches wide. This sparked a few minutes of City pressure, but they flattered to deceive, despite winning a couple of corners. Centre-backs Bond and Mark Morris will seldom have an easier afternoon, gobbling up long balls aimed for City's teeny strike-force of Moran, Hilaire and Robson. City knew their luck was right out when Moran limped off with a calf-strain after 66 minutes, replacement John Hodge leaving three wingers in attack, and that feeling was compounded within seconds of Moran's departure, as the Cherries picked off their second goal.
A Cooke cross was sliced into space 25 yards out, and Quinn needed no second bidding to thump the ball past a stunned Miller. With twelve minutes to go, City's fate was sealed, when Ekoku and Cooke set up right back Paul Morrell, who simply waltzed through City's defence and took his second goal of the season very coolly. This defeat means City have won just once in six attempts at St James Park, leaving the play- offs a long way away.
Miller. Cooper. Cook. Williams. Daniels. Brown. Hilaire. Wimbleton. Moran. Kelly . Robson. Subs: Hodge (for Moran 66), Masefield.
Bournemouth: Bartram; Bond, Rowland, Morris, Morrell, Holmes, Cooke (Shearer 80), Wood, Quinn, O'Driscoll (Mundee 86), Ekoku.
Referee: Keith Cooper (Pontypridd) **