Date: 22 February 2003
Moss kept his fourth clean sheet in a row, in a match which strengthened our claims for an automatic promotion place. The game was, however, very scrappy at times, with many good crosses and scoring opportunities wasted.
Bournemouth began in a lively manner, especially Elliott. Twice in the opening moments Exeter players were yellow carded for fouling him. If only it had been the same Exeter player both times, and we could have had a numerical advantage for most of the game! Elliott and Cummings worked very hard in this game, but the system meant they really had no-one to link up with on their respective wings. Young in particular was sorely missed.
The best opportunities in the first half came for Browning (who shot wide), Hayter and Feeney. Feeney in particular got behind the Exeter defenders on one occasion and managed two shots, but the golden opportunity was fluffed.
It was one minute before that when Holmes, against the run of play - well, certainly against the run of his play as he wasn't in good form - had received a ball roughly on the penalty spot and put Bournemouth 1-0 ahead.
Exeter started the second half much more determined than Bournemouth and appeared to be on top. Their substitutions, though partly a response to the number of players on yellow cards, also appeared to indicate that they saw this as a game from which they could take something. Things went even better for them when Feeney appeared to be brought down and Bournemouth were awarded a borderline penalty; unfortunately O'Connor was sitting on the bench so the penalty had to be taken by Feeney who, to no-one's great surprise, missed.
Bournemouth continued to hoof the ball forward for Feeney but increasingly he was on his own against two or three markers, with no other Bournemouth player showing the pace needed to get forward and help him out. We would have continued to struggle to retain our lead if it hadn't been for the welcome introduction of O'Connor into the game. On virtually his first touch of the ball, he curled it into the goal and the game was put beyond Exeter's grasp.
The starting line-up was (with my scores out of ten) :
Tindall (7), C Fletcher (7), Buxton (8);
Elliott (7), Stock (6), Browning (8), Cummings (8);
Feeney (7), Holmes (6).