BOURNEMOUTH head coach Will Croker was left to ponder a bittersweet day at the office as Lions overcame 14-man Exmouth at Chapel Gate.

While the home side eventually cruised to a 28-7 success, they missed out on an all-important four-try bonus point in South West Premier.

Lions led 10-7 at the interval thanks to a converted Alan Manning try and a Grant Hancox penalty.

The Devon-based visitors were dealt a huge blow after the break when lock and captain Jack Fahy was red-carded for a spear tackle.

With the extra man, Bournemouth added to their tally late on thanks to scores from Tom Napier and Pat Fraser.

But without a fourth touchdown, Lions had to settle for victory without claiming the bonus.

Croker told the Daily Echo: “I don’t want to sound too churlish about it. Exmouth were in National Two last year and are a good rugby team. Beating a good team is always a good result.

“But we were a bit frustrated. They probably weren’t the most conditioned team we had played against and we knew if we kept the ball for long periods they would probably break around the 30-minute mark in the first half.

“We thought they would then get a second wind at half-time and we could probably break them again halfway through the second.

“But we didn’t keep the ball long enough to do that and we probably weren’t clever enough in that we didn’t move them around the pitch.

“It wasn’t until the last periods that we had finally worn them down. Bearing in mind they had a player sent off, it was a bit disappointing we didn’t get the bonus point.

“But it’s another win at home and we are ticking games off. Each time we win it puts a little more pressure on the others.”

Giving his thoughts on the red card, Croker added: “It was justified and was the right decision.

“When I was playing back in the early 2000s you would have said it was a penalty and that would have been it.

“But with the rules as they are now, as soon as you take a player through the horizontal and he goes through 90 degrees you have a responsibility to bring him down. The referee didn’t really have an awful lot of choice.

“I felt a bit sorry for their player. It was almost as if he got up to a certain point and just panicked. Rather than driving him into the ground he just let go.“

Bournemouth were also rocked when inside centre Scott Chislett suffered knee ligament damage in the second period.

“We are not too sure of the extent of it yet. He is set to have a scan,” added Croker.

“It’s a real blow because he is such a creative powerhouse for us. To have lost Adam Davies to his hamstring and now Scott is going to test our resources.

“But I am very proud of the depth we have in our squad, the lads are champing at the bit to step up and show what we have got.”

Lions, who are second in the division, have picked up 10 bonus points this season.

Third-place Maidenhead have 17 bonuses to their name and are just three points behind Croker’s men, despite winning two fewer games.

The club’s director of rugby added: “We have to be ready for the fact that if there are any slip-ups from us, teams are going to be ready to pounce.”

Lions: Sutherland, Davis, Kirkpatrick, Chislett, Everett-Bolter, Hancox, Hardcastle, Napier, Manning, Firetto, MacDonald, Hennings, Sharp, Bennett, Rees. Subs: Fraser, Stewart, Treloar.