The Cherries lined up with Artur Boruc having recovered from a recent illness and Charlie Daniels, Marc Pugh and Yann Kermorgant in for Ian Harte, Junior Stanislas and Eunan O’Kane.
AFCB’s on-loan Polish international keeper was called into action after only 10 seconds when Craig Davies latched onto Jermaine Beckford’s knock-down to shoot straight at Boruc. Apart from a Yann Kermorgant shot from distance being fisted away by Andy Lonergan, a rejuvenated Bolton side buoyed by a noisy crowd and the recent departure of Dougie Freedman continued to surge forward and pose problems for a sometimes nervy Cherries defence. It was left to Boruc to save again from Craig Davies and Steve Cook to make an excellent last-ditch tackle just as Davies was about to pull the trigger.
After weathering a Bolton storm for the first 15 minutes or so, Bournemouth started to get a foothold on the game with a typically fierce shot from Matt Ritchie forcing Lonergan into a smart save. A few minutes later, Kermorgant’s shot is thwarted by a timely interception then Marc Pugh blazed over after getting into a decent position. On the half hour mark, Bournemouth appealed for a penalty after Callum Wilson raced past a couple of defenders before being pushed over by former Cherries loanee Matt Mills just inside the penalty area. Much to Bournemouth’s annoyance, Andre Marriner awarded a free-kick instead. After some delay Yann Kermorgant stepped up and saw his impressive effort headed off the line. More controversy followed a few minutes later when Yann Kermorgant received a red card for a high boot on Mark Davies who made a rapid recovery once the Frenchman was given his marching orders. For the second time in two matches, the Cherries were down to 10 men and were immediately forced onto the back foot after looking increasingly comfortable prior to Kermorgant’s early bath. Bolton sensed blood and went for the jugular with Craig Davies’ angled shot skidding agonisingly wide. An eventful first half ended with Matt Ritchie’s effort being turned around the post by Lonergan and Jermaine Beckford getting the better of his marker and unleashing a fierce shot into the side netting. HT 0-0. Deep inside the bowels of the Franking Sense South Stand at half-time, I hoped that our numerical disadvantage and denial of a blatant penalty would be compensated by the referee and/or the Championship’s second leakiest defence bearing unexpected gifts in the second half.
Within a minute of the restart, my prayers had been answered when Bournemouth pressed forward with Simon Francis getting to the by-line and cutting the ball back to Callum Wilson. Bournemouth’s goal machine still had plenty to do but managed to weave past a couple of defenders and calmly slot the ball past Lonergan to send the 390 Cherries diehards into raptures. ‘We’ve only got 10 men’ chanted the away fans. Matt Ritchie found himself in a similar position to Wilson a few minutes later but shot wide. Just as I naively started to dream of our first ever win at the Reebok/Macron Stadium, Bolton drew level courtesy of Jay Spearing creating space on the edge of the area and sending his deflected long range shot over the head of Boruc. A few minutes later, Craig Davies was unlucky not to give Bolton the lead when his shot was deflected onto the bar. Another effort from Davies was spilled by Boruc only for Beckford to pick up the loose ball and shoot straight at the keeper before being flagged for offside. Bournemouth were living dangerously with Boruc called into action to divert Lee Chung-Yong’s shot around the post.
After 68 minutes, however, Bolton were dealt a killer blow when in almost the blink of an eye the predatory Callum Wilson chested down Harry Arter’s lofted pass, let the ball bounce then fired past Lonergan to put the Cherries ahead once more. The caretaker management duo of Andy Hughes and Lee Turner brought on former Cherries transfer target Joe Mason then Max Clayton to shake things up in attack but with little effect as Bournemouth slowed the game down and passed the ball around with relative ease. Three minutes of added time passed without incident and Bournemouth recorded their first away win since the opening day of the season whilst the home fans called for the head of their chairman. Trouble at mill for Bolton but sheer joy at Bournemouth’s gutsy yet cultured performance after being reduced to 10 men so early on.
Callum Wilson – a close decision given the heroics performed by the team as a whole (particularly Cook and Boruc) but the former Coventry man was a constant menace and took his goals exceptionally well.
AFCB: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh, Wilson, Kermorgant
Subs: Flahavan, Gosling, Harte, Fraser, Rantie, Smith (for Ritchie, 88 mins), Pitman (for Wilson, 92 mins)
Jon Blake, South Shields