It was Crewe, however, who had the better of the opening exchanges and were unfortunate not to take an early lead after 9 minutes when a couple of botched clearances allowed Calvin Zola to collect the ball from inside the area, turn and elude his marker and then slot the ball past Jalal low into the far corner. Crewe's celebrations, however, were short-lived as the linesman flagged for Elding being offside and AFCB's record of not conceding a goal at home remained intact. The away fans were clearly aggrieved and blamed the Cherries for their team's failure to follow the basic laws of association football by chanting 'Same old Bournemouth, always cheating'. These chants became even louder midway through the first half as one of Crewe's best players, Clayton Donaldson, hobbled off after tackling Mark Molesley for a 50:50 ball. Either side of this incident, Brett Pitman had a couple of chances to put AFCB into the lead. Firstly, after 15 minutes, AFCB's No 9 chested a long ball from defence, turned and ran into space before unleashing a blistering long-range shot that clipped the crossbar. Secondly, after 32 minutes, the Channel Islander latched onto a defence-splitting pass from Bradbury and shot towards goal. The keeper did well to parry the ball to his left and a defender was on hand to clear the ball away. There was little else to report for the remainder of the half as both teams cancelled each other out, although, in added time, Elding's fierce drive from the edge of the area forced Jalal to tip the ball over the bar.
Crewe started the second half quite brightly forcing Jalal into a smart save early on. However, just as Crewe began to move the ball around and look threatening, Liam Feeney broke the deadlock after 51 minutes. Feeney was fed the ball on the right after some clever work from Bradbury. The ex-Salisbury man embarked on a mazy run dancing past a couple of Railwaymen before hammering the ball home to the goalie's right. A moment of genius worthy of winning any match! The Cherries were now in the ascendancy and could have extended their lead on a number of occasions. After 66 minutes, Pitman was put through on goal with only the keeper to beat but was caught narrowly offside. Feeney was placed in a similar situation nine minutes later but shot wide. As is always the case when AFCB try to defend a lead, the closing stages of the game were particularly nerve-wracking. The Cherries seemed content to sit back and soak up the pressure. Zola went close with a near-post header from a corner and Moore shot at Jalal from close range before Robinson cleared to safety. AFCB had the chance to put the game to bed with a couple of minutes remaining but Feeney failed to capitalise on a swift counter-attack that saw the Cherries outnumber the Crewe defence. Another shot wide when a pass to Pitman looked the better option. The agonising wait for the final whistle was prolonged by 5 minutes of added time but thankfully the Cherries defence held firm despite the referee losing the plot at times and the heady heights of third in the table were reached after another hard-fought victory.
AFCB: Jalal, Robinson, Garry, Pearce, Cummings, Feeney, Molesley, Partington, Igoe, Bradbury, Pitman
Subs: Pryce, Webb, Connell, Bartley (for Partington, 80 mins), Guyett (for Igoe, 85 mins), McQuoid (for Pitman, 95 mins)
Jon Blake, South Shields