The game started brightly enough with the Cherries winning a corner after just 30 seconds, which fell to Harry Arter who blasted the ball over the cross bar. Crewe responded with a corner of their own, which was equally harmless.
The Cherries, for their part, went down the other end, building down the left hand side, which emabled Pugh to burst in to the penalty area, who was upended, with the ref having no choice but award a penalty. Up stepped Pitman to slot the ball home off a post in the 8th minute to give the Cherries an early lead.
For some reason, the Cherries seemed to loose themselves, failing to play the neat fluent football we've to enjoy in recent times. Not helped with some poor passing - not least of all from Arter ability to distribute the ball was well below par (that's the polite version too!). That said Crewe didn't too many testing chances, even if they did have the better possession during the remainder of the half. Any Crewe chances were easy for Jalal to deal with. At the same time, Phillips in the Alex goal wasn't tested either!
Eddie Howe must have had a stern word at the break as the Cherries came out in a more determined frame of mind as they set about doubling their lead, but for some reason or another there were moments when you were left thinking that some of the players were on DAB, others on FM and the remainder on short wave! There was just something missing at times ....... we needed a touch of pure quality to unlock the Alex defence.
McQuoid was clearly one who received a rocket at half time, a charge down the wing found Pitman, who somehow managed to blast over from close range. Not to be out done, Crewe went down the other end to miss in the exact same way Pitman had moments earlier.
The Crewe keeper was finally requried to make a save when O'Kane released McQuoid down the right, his cross founf Pitman, whose header needed to be saved to prevent a certain goal.
Grabban forced the Crewe keeper in to making a save with his legs, when a goal seemed likely (66th minute).
The moment of pure quality we were waiting for came in the 67th minute when a fantastic ball down the channel from O'Kane (who had his back to where he placed the ball) found Arter. He created enough space for himself to get a shot away, which was parried by the keeper, but poached by McQuoid, who in turn crossed for Pitman to slot home. A simply superb incisive move - and not before time!
Crewe reduced the arrears in the 76th minute when Francis was caught out of possession, allowing Colclough to slot home. Any thoughts of Crewe nicking a point were snuffed out when substitute Wes Fogden came on to cause all sorts of problems for the Alex defence as Osman fould Foggy to concede a second penalty. Needless to say Pitman stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way again to bag a hat trick and the match ball.
All in all the Cherries just about deserved the win, given the second half performance, but if we can win when not at our best, then all well and good.
Jalal - Didn't have a great deal to do to be honest.
Francis - Competent at the back, but was caught out gifting Crewe their goal
Elphick - Superb at the back
Cook - Always a joy to watch
Seabourne - Had a quiet home debut, but did everything asked of him
McQuoid - Had an excellent match this afternoon. Ran his socks off down the right wing.
Arter - I despair at times! Can be brilliant, but too often this afternoon his range of passing was well below par and what we've come to expect.
O'Kane - Has come on in leaps and bounds just recently. Hold the key to unlock defences with that crucial pass of quality. My man of the match.
Pugh - Sides have done their home work on Pugh I think by getting 2-3 players round him to stop him playing. Missed his left wing partner in crime - Daniels - this afternoon.
Grabban - Runs his socks off up front.
Pitman - Great to see Brett bag a hat trick.
Fogden - A brilliant impact sub with a low centre of gravity making him difficult to play against.
Hughes - Did well when he came on.
Tubbs - Didn't have long enough to make an impact.
AFCB: Jalal, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Seabourne, McQuoid, Arter, O'Kane, Pugh, Grabban, Pitman
Subs: Allsopp, Partington, McDermott, Fletcher, Fogden (for McQuoid, 80 mins), Hughes (for Pitman, 83 mins), Tubbs (for Grabban, 88 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth