CARLISLE United have now shipped 16 goals in their last five home outings but their defensive frailties weren’t the only reason for an early FA Cup exit.
A lack of spirit when it was needed most handed a confident Bournemouth side the initiative and ultimately cost the Cumbrians their place amongst the excitement of the third round of the world’s most famous competition.
“We keep saying that we have a good group of players but they have to start showing it now,” manager Greg Abbott said. “We can talk about the fact that we had the early chances and, yes, it would have been different if we’d taken them.
“But the fact of the matter is that we were beaten by a better side. We didn’t compete enough and we didn’t roll our sleeves up, and that’s really frustrating and disappointing.”
Wide man Matt Robson was guilty of wasting two gilt-edged openings as his side took the game to their high-flying visitors, and was made to rue his profligacy when Wes Fogden struck from the edge of the box against the run of play.
And the lead was doubled after some excellent work from Pugh when he combined with the lively Fogden to put it on a plate for the unmarked Eunan O’Kane.
“Their first goal was lucky and it’s the type of thing that has being going against us, and not for us,” captain Paul Thirlwell explained. “We were giving as good as we got at the time and I think you could see that it rocked us. Their second one was a massive blow because they’re a decent side. It meant we were really chasing the game when we’d be the team on top just moments before.”
United’s home form is a topic of concern in all areas as they continue to struggle to pick up results and the 2,500 Blues supporters who made their way into Brunton Park for this one weren’t given much to suggest that things are going to get better any time soon. “We keep saying that people can only judge us on what they see,” Abbott said. “Fans want to see their team leave everything on the pitch and I don’t think our 11 can say they’ve done that today.
“That is really frustrating because we know we’re better than this. However, talk is cheap. We need to be proving it.”
Another goal from Mark Beck made it three in two games for the young striker.
But even that solitary bright spot was dampened when Pugh thrust a knife deep into the hearts of the Cumbrian faithful with a late, late killer goal.
“Even when we got our goal we didn’t really push on,” Thirlwell admitted. “We keep going round in circles as we say the same things after every home game.
“I don’t know if it’s confidence or something else but, whatever it is, we have to sort it out. It’s not good enough that we’re looking at defeat after defeat because the fans won’t accept that.”
CARLISLE UNITED: Collin; Simek (Gjokaj 46), Livesey, Edwards, Chantler, Symington (McGovern 46), Thirlwell, Potts, Robson (Welsh 56), Beck, Garner. Subs (not used): Gillespie, Noble, Todd, McGinty.
Goal: Beck 72.
BOURNEMOUTH: Jalal; Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Pugh, MacDonald (McQuoid 57), O’Kane, Fogden, Pitman (Partington 82), Grabban (Fletcher 90). Subs (not used): James, Demouge, Tubbs, McDermott.
Goals: Fogden 30, O’Kane 36, Pugh 90.
Attendance: 2,980. Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).