HUDDERSFIELD TOWN’S Easter misery was extended as they suffered a dismal defeat in the south coast drizzle.
It took two late goals to sink Simon Grayson’s side, but they produced little in the way of attacking football as they attempted unsuccessfully to bounce back from their defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.
And with points still needed to cement a play-off place, the boss badly needs to spark a positive reaction at Preston on Saturday.
Town, playing their fourth match in 10 days, rung the changes after their disappointing derby defeat at the Galpharm on Saturday.
Most notable was the return of central midfielder Anton Robinson, making his first appearance in 10 matches against his former club.
Antony Kay dropped to the bench, as did striker Alan Lee, with Danny Cadamarteri going in to play alongside Jordan Rhodes.
Scott Arfield also stepped up to the starting line-up on the right side of midfield, with Lee Novak, who defied an ankle injury to play on Saturday, being left out of the 16 altogether.
Bournemouth had the better of the early stages and forced the first effort on target after five minutes, when Wes Fogden’s low shot was safely smothered by Alex Smithies.
Town responded by winning a 10th-minute free kick for a foul on Cadamarteri 25 yards out, when home keeper Darryl Flahavan had to resort to punching away Danny Ward’s curling effort.
Robinson made a telling intervention when he halted Marc Pugh’s mazy run through midfield with a well-timed challenge, then midfield partner Diego Arismendi got up well to head clear a Pugh corner. Defender Steve Cook knocked in a low shot as the home side continued to press, but it wasn’t strong enough to trouble Smithies.
Bournemouth came closer to a breakthrough on 18 minutes when Wes Thomas skipped past Sean Morrison and crossed for fellow frontman Zavon Hines to fire goalwards from close range, only for Smithies to smother his effort.
Pugh was probing down the left, and Tom Clarke’s foul on the winger earned the Town man a booking and allowed the home player to sling in a teasing free-kick which Thomas headed over.
Hines was handed a 30th-minute yellow card after catching Calum Woods late, then Shaun Cooper’s foul on Rhodes brought Town a free-kick, well delivered by Ward, which had the home defence scrambling to clear as both Rhodes and Arismendi lurked.
Bournemouth were still looking the livelier of the two sides, however, and it needed another solid save by Smithies to thwart Hines as he cut in from the left and unleashed a strong, rising shot.
Town had another escape after 37 minutes when left-back Woods, having conceded a free-kick for handball, allowed Scott Malone’s ball in to skim off the top of his head.
Smithies was wrong-footed, but thankfully for he visitors, the ball went just wide of the far post.
Town started the second half on the offensive and Arismendi brought a save from Flahavan with a downward header from Ward’s corner.
But Grayson’s side had a major escape on 50 minutes when Pugh flighted in a long-range free-kick which bounced off the greasy turf and hit the right hand upright.
As Town tried to clear their lines, the ball fell invitingly to Fogden, but he blazed over when well placed.
Boss Grayson made his first change in the 63rd minute, with Lee going on for Cadamarteri who, like Rhodes, had received little in the way of service.
Then, a minute later, Ward was withdrawn in favour of Gary Roberts.
With Town still re-adjusting, they had another let-off when Hines broke down the right and put in a deep centre which Thomas laid perfectly into the path of Fogden, who once again shot well wide from a good position.
As rain continued to fall, the south coast side continued to press and Arfield was booked for halting Hines in mid flight.
But it was the dangerous Pugh who was the instigator as Town’s resistance was finally broken in the 72nd minute. He took play to the edge of the penalty area and set up Thomas, whose angled shot was blocked but fell for Malone to net from close range.
It should have been two as Thomas broke free a minute later, but with back-tracking Town skipper Peter Clarke snapping at his heels, the striker shot wide.
While Thomas was wasteful, Pugh made no mistake when he latched onto Fogden’s pass and made it 2-0 with a well-angled shot with eight minutes remaining.
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