After a strong start from the Cherries it was Town who had the first clear cut chance of the clash, when Thomas Dossevi robbed Jason Pearce inside the hosts' half and raced through on goal, but shot tentatively straight at Shwan Jalal, who scooped the ball away with his feet.
If Town fans were in any doubt about how much their side would miss Charlie Austin it was in those 30 seconds, as Dossevi never looked confident when faced with Jalal, and failed to seriously test the 'keeper.
The visitors were made to pay minutes later as the Cherries took the lead in somewhat fortuitous circumstances.
Liam Feeney picked up the ball on right and cut inside before letting fly with a seemingly wayward 25-yard shot which took a wicked deflection off Scott Cuthbert and looped over the helpless Phil Smith and into the net.
The hosts looked well on top thereafter, and could have doubled their lead on two occasions as both Danny Ings and Michael Symes were denied by sharp saves from Phil Smith on 13 and 15 minutes respectively.
However, Town weathered the storm, and found themselves back on level terms after 21 minutes - Paul Caddis collecting Jonathan Douglas' low pass 30 yards from goal, and turning Cherries captain Pearce well before slamming an excellent finish into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
But just as Town were beginning to wrestle the initiative, they found themselves behind again as, after 28 minutes, Michael Symes found space from a corner to head goalwards and though Phil Smith saved well, Danny Ings reacted quickest to poke the loose ball home from two yards out.
The pendulum then swung back in the home side's direction, and though no further chances were forthcoming for either side, Danny Wilson will have been hoping for an improvement from his side going into the second period.
Town started the second half strongly, and got the equaliser their early pressure had deserved on 57 minutes, as Thomas Dossevi's shot rebounded off the post and into the path of Caddis, whose left-footed shot was well blocked on the line by Jalal, but the 'keeper was beaten to the loose ball by Matt Ritchie, who poked it home from a yard out.
Wilson's side were well on top and might have been in front on 62 minutes as Jonathan Douglas broke powerfully and had Jalal scrambling across his goal to palm a 25-yard shot clear of danger.
Town had the ball in the net after 67 minutes when Dossevi rose well to head home a Kevin Amankwaah cross, but he was penalised for a tug on Jason Pearce in the build up, and the goal was disallowed - much to the visitors' consternation.
It was a decision the visitors were ruing shortly after, as, when they failed to deal with a Liam Feeney cross, Danny Hollands unleashed a rasping volley which thundered into the net via the underside of the bar.
The goal was harsh on a Town side that had been on top for the majority of the second period, and it certainly proved to be a game-changing moment.
Where the visitors had looked dangerous going forward before it, they looked short on ideas after it, and the next goal looked likely to make it 4-2 rather than 3-3.
The hosts looked comfortable as the game moved towards full time, and despite a late break and shot from the impressive Caddis, Town failed to threaten Jalal again, and slipped to defeat.