Joyous scenes as Bournemouth braced for Premier League
Published 27/04/2015 | 21:54
Bournemouth will play in the Premier League next season for the first time in their 116-year history after cruising past 10-man Bolton 3-0 in front of a disbelieving Dean Court.
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 deny the Dorset-born manager from clinching the third promotion of his managerial career with the Cherries.
A thumping finish from midfielder Marc Pugh set them on course for the promised land before winger Matt Ritchie's snapshot gave them a comfortable cushion at the break.
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 to spark wild scenes on the south coast.
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 to deny Ritchie from an angle.
Bolton, whose disgruntled fans who were quick to sing of their frustration at being forced to make the cross-country trip on a Monday night, were seeing plenty of the ball with Emile Heskey linking up well with in-form strike partner Adam Le Fondre. The pair both had sniffs of goal inside the first 25 minutes but could not only fire at 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.
Yann Kermorgant and Tommy Elphick both missed chances before 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 supporters 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 for his ninth of the campaign.
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 when Bournemouth are all about. Wilson clipped a cross to the back post which Kermorgant effortlessly knocked down for Ritchie to drive, first time, into the bottom corner.
Their ecstatic fans were singing the Match of the Day theme tune and they were almost celebrating a goal fit to grace the show's goal of the season highlight reels when Kermorgant noticed Bogdan off his line 35 yards from goal but the keeper managed to tip the Frenchman's effort over.
Any hopes of a Bolton comeback were then put to bed with 20 minutes to go when Dervite saw red for hauling down Wilson inside the box as Bournemouth won their 16th spot kick of the season.
Fellow forward Kermorgant stepped up and smashed the resulting spot-kick into the stands but Wilson would get the goal his display deserved with 11 minutes to go. Andrew Surman's driving run ended with a cut back which Wilson gleefully converted to complete their stunning climb from the bottom of League Two to the Premier League.