The Cherries slipped to a midweek defeat as Crawley Town took the spoils in a rain-soaked contest in West Sussex.
Goals from Hope Akpan, Joe Walsh and Nicky Adams were enough to give Crawley Town the points at the Broadfield Stadium.
Manager Paul Groves rung the changes, with the most notable being the inclusion of 18-year-old Josh Carmichael in midfield, who replaced the injured Josh McQuoid.
With the heavens having opened in the hours leading up to kick-off, and the news of the postponement of Bury’s match v Carlisle filtering through, the Cherries supporters proved that the weather was no obstacle, as the 435 strong crowd started the game in fine voice.
Both sides began the tie attempting to play the ball on the floor, however the weather made it a scrappy encounter with chances few and far between.
The first incident came with seven minutes on the clock as Frank Demouge was stretchered off after suffering an accidental blow to the head.
His replacement, former Crawley man Matt Tubbs, was greeted by rapturous applause from the home fans on his first visit to the Broadfield Stadium since his departure in January.
A free-kick from Richard Hughes in the thirteenth minute was the closest the Cherries came in the opening exchanges. Lee Barnard also tried his luck from outside the box in the eighteenth minute but his effort went wide of Crawley ‘keeper Paul Jones’s goal.
Eunan O’Kane, who had been beating his man well on the left throughout the first half, had an opportunity for the visitors just two minutes later. His cross-come-shot skimmed off the slippy surface and worried Jones enough to force him to save with his feet.
The home side’s first real attempt on goal came in the 23rd minute – a speculative effort caught easily by David James – and was met by jeers from sections of the home fans, illustrating the frustration caused by the Cherries’ dominance.
The visitor’s possession did not get the goal it warranted though, and in the 31st minute they were punished as the Red Devils took the lead.
Having broken free on the right, Richard Jones burst into the area and forced a save from the onrushing James. The ball went through a melee of players and landed fortuitously at the feet of Hope Apkan, who rifled into an empty net from eighteen-yards.
From the goal, the early Cherries pressure lapsed as Crawley began to get a foothold on the game and with half-time approaching, their lead was doubled.
A foul by Charlie Daniels on former Cherries loanee Nathan Byrne gave Mat Sadler the chance to swing in a deep free-kick from the touchline. The cross fell perfectly 15-yards out, and the clinical Joe Walsh headed home to make it two.
With momentum in the home side’s favour, Nicky Ajose nearly made it three soon after, as he waltzed his way through the Cherries defence. However James pulled off a fine save to deny the former Manchester United trainee from putting the game to bed.
In the dying moments of the half, Bournemouth did have a chance to pull a goal back, as Stephane Zubar met a Richard Hughes free kick, but the defender was unable to keep his header down and it went well over Jones’ bar.
In an attempt to turn the momentum back in his side’s favour, Groves made one change at the break replacing Lorenzo Davids with Joe Partington.
His team soon responded, and Richard Hughes quick thinking saw the Cherries capitalise on some confusion in the Crawley area. The Scotsman found himself in space in the final third and pulled the ball back across the face of goal for Lee Barnard to slot home.
This appeared to inject a burst of confidence into the visitors, however the momentum was short-lived as the Cherries were caught on the counter and Crawley regained their two goal lead ten minutes later.
Following a good contest between Tommy Elphick and Gary Alexander on the touchline, Alexander’s resultant cross wrong-footed Zubar in the penalty area. The incoming Nicky Ajose was on hand to tee up Nicky Adams, who coolly slotted the ball home to make it three.
Crawley then looked to increase their lead in the 73rd minute, as following a period of pressure, a cross from Nathan Byrne tested James’s reflexes – the former England stopper stretching well to tip the ball over the bar.
With 76 minutes on the clock, Steve Fletcher was introduced for O’Kane, but Bournemouth’s remaining chances were limited to two speculative efforts from Lee Barnard.
A foul by Cherries captain Miles Addison on Crawley substitute Sergio Torres on the edge of the area allowed Adams to try his luck from distance. The visiting fans held their breath as his sweetly hit free-kick struck a scrambling James’s bar.
Nathan Byrne, who had looked dangerous all evening, also had a chance to add a fourth just two minutes before the end of normal time – but his shot from the edge of the area went narrowly wide of the right hand post.
Referee Andy Davies put an end to a frustrating night for the Cherries, whose attention now switches to Saturday, where a trip to npower League 1 strugglers Coventry and the Ricoh Arena awaits.