Matt Ritchie blasts Bournemouth to brink of EPL

BOURNEMOUTH will play in the Premier League next season for the first time in their 116-year history after cruising past ten-man Bolton 3-0 in front of a disbelieving Dean Court.

Matt Ritchie netted the second goal. Picture: Getty

Eddie Howe’s men were cut adrift at the foot of the Football League in 2009 but only a virtually impossible swing in goal difference on the final day would stop the Dorset-born manager from clinching the third promotion of his managerial career with the Cherries.

A thumping finish by midfielder Marc Pugh set them on course for the promised land before Scotland winger Matt Ritchie’s snapshot gave them a comfortable cushion at the break.

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Dorian Dervite saw red for a foul on Callum Wilson, who then added the gloss to the most famous night in the club’s history in the 79th minute.

Having shown signs of nerves in a forgettable first half against Sheffield Wednesday last time out, Bournemouth wasted no time in attempting to break down their visitors.

Wilson weaved his way into the box inside the opening two minutes only for the legs of Adam Bogdan to deny him and the Hungarian goalkeeper then made a smart save from Ritchie.

Bolton were seeing plenty of the ball with Emile Heskey linking up well with strike partner Adam Le Fondre. The pair both had sniffs of goal inside the first 25 minutes but could not could not find a way past Artur Boruc.

His opposite number then made two terrific saves in quick succession to deny the Cherries a 29th-minute opener. First he managed to get a hand to the ball as Wilson went to round him and then when the former Coventry forward pulled the ball back to Ritchie, Bogdan made a smart one-handed save low to his right.

Bournemouth’s top-flight dreams moved a step closer to reality with an opener six minutes before the break, and it was a goal to remember for the disbelieving fans who had to be held back by the stewards after Pugh dragged Ritchie’s cross to his left-hand side at the back post before smashing it across goal and into the top corner.

Premier League supporters tuning in to see what the fuss is all about ahead of August will have witnessed a 44th-minute goal that sums up what Bournemouth are all about. Wilson clipped a cross to the back post which Kermorgant knocked down for Ritchie to drive, first time, into the corner.

With 20 minutes to go, Dervite saw red for hauling down Wilson inside the box . Kermorgant smashed the spot-kick into the stands but Wilson got the goal his display deserved with 11 minutes to go. Andrew Surman’s driving run ended with a cutback which Wilson converted.


Bournemouth: Boruc, Smith, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Fraser 83), Surman, Arter, Pugh (Gosling 89), Kermorgant (Pitman 80), Wilson. Subs not used: Camp, Harte, Ward, Jones.

Bolton: Bogdan, Dervite, Ream, Moxey, Feeney (Threlkeld 63), M Davies (Gudjohnsen 63), Danns, Bannan, Walker, Le Fondre (Woolery 79), Heskey. Subs not used: Lonergan, Twardzik, Taylor, Coke.