Disastrous decisions by a truly appalling referee completely upended a very promising, progressive start from a Town team finally allowed expression away from the comforts of home.
As the visitors took the game to the Cherries, excellent build up play was blighted by the now chronic lack of potency in front of goal. A good effort by Van La Parra was saved well, Malone bumbled through on the right before toe poking just wide and Bournemouth blocked out more attempts as Town took control.
The harsh reality, however, is that being on top without translating superiority in to goals renders it pointless, and you become vulnerable to those moments in a game which can determine outcomes.
When it came, the decisive moment was hugely unfair, on several levels, for the Terriers.
Firstly, a dangerous lunge on Hadergjonaj which left the Swiss rolling was deemed fair by Lee Probert and his better positioned assistant.
This left the left wing open for the home side and though Cranie snuffed out the danger he conceded a corner which would have to be defended with one man short.
It also left Mooy to mark the six yard box where Hadergjonaj would have been and neither he nor Lössl covered themselves in glory with their defending of a ball converted by Wilson.
1 down after dominating, a double injustice was to visit Town just minutes later as a decent Mooy tackle – he clearly got the ball – was deemed a foul.
Holding a high line as effectively as they normally do, the linesman’s flag stayed defiantly down as two offside home players attacked the ball with Wilson winning the race to put the home side 2 up with a smart finish.
The assistant – who had already missed a couple of pretty obvious offside calls – may have been distracted by a Bournemouth player being deliberately 5 yards offside who then stepped back so as not to be involved in play, but that hardly excuses another woeful piece of officiating.
Recovering from being just one down has been a struggle since Wagner arrived, so the second blow felt terminal for the visitors.
Unsurprisingly, the Cherries became much livelier after the gifts had been bestowed upon them and their ascendency threatened to overwhelm their opponents, though Town finished the half strongly and had an apparent lifeline thrown at them.
Simon Francis had already been booked for a foul on the lively Van La Parra and when the Dutchman took a ball on the halfway line and threatened an under strength home defence, the full back took him out with a late, ill timed challenge.
Remarkably, but in keeping with his overall incompetence, Probert appeared to play on before his torpor was disturbed (presumably by the fourth official rather than the idiot with the apparently heavy flag) and a free kick and second yellow was signaled.
As West Brom found last week, playing against 10 men – particularly at this level – is not quite the advantage it appears.
Well drilled teams can easily create a defensive block as we did and the extra man can be negated.
To take advantage requires patience and guile but Town possessed little of either in a second half where overwhelming possession created fewer opportunities than in the first half and they compounded their inability to trouble the home defence with complacency at the back leading to 2 further Bournemouth goals and a score line which was cruel but hopefully educational.
Malone, who had shone going forward in the first half, attempted one too many mazy dribbles and in a dangerous area, allowing Arter to dispossess him, turn defenders and produce a finish of some quality.
The relish with which Arter pounced and his conviction that he was going to score sharply contrasted with Town’s uncertainties and propensity to freeze when opportunity knocks.
Town’s desperation for a first away goal since August was an ugly mess and the home side merely had to wait patiently for the chance to break (again, like us last week).
Ake was immense for the home side and looked every inch a £20M defender but Town facilitated his performance with high long balls once Mounié had joined Depoitre to little effect.
If the third goal had been the final nail in the coffin, the fourth shoveled on the dirt.
The excellent Wilson – playing his first game since a long injury – bagged his hat trick with a good finish as Town’s depleted defence crumbled for a final time. Bournemouth should have scored a 5th too as the visitors melted.
It is difficult not to be angry about the appalling decisions which turned the game in the home side’s favour, but the injustices gloss over the major failing of creating too few chances and converting even fewer.
The problem away from home is acute, but despite some good victories on home soil, it would be naive to believe the lack of goals isn’t systemic – relying on opposition errors or wonder goals isn’t sustainable.
Palmer’s return may be the key since it will push Ince right and free up the increasingly effective Van La Parra, but this does place a burden on relatively inexperienced shoulders. It may be a little harsh, but the demotion of Kachunga, sadly out of his depth, cannot arrive quickly enough.
With 3 very difficult games on the horizon – two of which seem wholly insurmountable challenges – a slow descent to a more realistic league position seems inevitable, though the breathing space already achieved should leave us above water as more winnable games reappear.
The traveling support continues to back the team in adversity and instinctively recognizes that Town are falling foul of circumstances away from home, but their patience is not endless and a goal on a foreign field would be welcome.