Sidelined with a hamstring injury for the past two months, Malone came on midway through the second half and within four minutes of his arrival on the left flank created the opening goal for debutant Matt Tubbs. Six minutes later, he wrapped up the points for the Cherries with a well-taken second.
Until Malone’s arrival, Bournemouth had struggled to impose themselves against a resolute Exeter side, who had looked the better team for a goalless opening hour. Indeed, the visitors almost scored their first goal in four games soon after the break, with Darryl Flahavan back-pedalling to make a fine save from Richard Logan’s glancing header.
But when former Wolves man Malone emerged from the bench, the game changed. He played a neat one-two with Wes Thomas and picked out the unmarked Tubbs, who celebrated his debut by scoring a 72nd-minute opener from six yards.
Malone started and finished Bournemouth’s second goal six minutes later, breaking from an Exeter corner and surging through the middle before sweeping a pass wide to Tubbs on the right.
The record £850,000 signing picked out Malone at the far post to clinch the win for Bournemouth, who are now two points off the play-off places.