AFC Bournemouth: Cherries beat 10-man Wigan in stormy clash (with Eddie Howe video) (From Bournemouth Echo)
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AFC Bournemouth: Cherries 1 Wigan 0 (with Eddie Howe video)
IN-form striker Lewis Grabban sealed a memorable victory for Cherries as FA Cup holders Wigan were beaten in a fiery clash at Dean Court this afternoon.
Grabban netted his fourth goal of the Championship season when he capitalised on a defensive error to slot home in the 43rd minute.
Brett Pitman missed a glorious opportunity to double the lead when Scott Carson produced an excellent penalty save to deny the Cherries frontman.
But much-fancied Wigan rarely threatened as an attacking force and their chances were hit when substitute Callum McManaman controversially saw red for his challenge on Pitman.
And despite pushing forward in search of an equaliser, Wigan rarely threatened as Cherries held on with ease for a fine win, providing the perfect response to last week’s 6-1 hammering at Watford.
Cherries manager Eddie Howe made two changes to the team which suffered that heavy loss at Vicarage Road last time out. Veteran left-back Ian Harte came in for injured Charlie Daniels (heel), with fit-again striker Pitman promoted from the bench in favour of midfielder Andrew Surman.
Wigan, relegated from the Premier League during their FA Cup-winning campaign last term, named a side packed with big-money signings, top-flight experience and international players.
But despite kicking off as underdogs, Cherries could have been ahead inside the first minute. Released by a pinpoint Ryan Fraser through ball, Grabban got in behind the visiting defence for a glorious opportunity, only for ex-England keeper Carson to block his left-foot shot.
As rain continued to pour on a dank day at Dean Court, Ryan Allsop was forced to tip over a dipping drive when Wigan midfielder James McCarthy tried his luck from distance.
With the conditions deteriorating, the two teams, renowned for their footballing style, both struggled to find a rhythm as a combination of stray passes and constant pressing made for an untidy opening.
Despite Wigan attempting to dictate possession by utilising their extra man in the centre of the park, Cherries steadily worked their way into the match.
And the hosts were unfortunate not to make a breakthrough with a delightful piece of interplay on 24 minutes. Carson showed fine anticipation – then bravery – to claim at the feet of Grabban after a lovely exchange with Pitman had unlocked the Wigan backline.
Harry Arter then attempted to break the deadlock from 25 yards but, under pressure from McCarthy, his ambitious effort sailed over the top of the Ted MacDougall Stand.
Ben Watson, Wigan’s match winner in the FA Cup final, was not as accurate with his head as he had been at Wembley as he nodded over after being found by James McArthur’s mis-hit volley.
With the tempo building, Fraser opted not to shoot after a James Perch slip had left him with a clear run on the right, but his cross for the awaiting Grabban was cut out by Leon Barnett at full stretch.
Cherries continued to grow into the game and the club’s trademark corner routine almost did the trick when Harte’s delivery found Pitman via a stepover, but his ferocious drive was blocked in a crowded penalty area.
But two minutes before the break, Cherries got the goal their improvement had merited. It owed much to an error from Wigan defender Perch, whose backpass served only as a perfect ball for Grabban to seize on, the striker rounding a helpless Carson before coolly rolling into an empty net.
Cherries continued on the front foot after the interval and spurned the chance to double their advantage when Pitman was denied from the spot.
After Harte’s powerful volley had forced Carson to parry, Jean Beausejour was deemed to have felled Pitman, with referee Graham Scott having no hesitation in awarding the penalty. But Carson, having played some mind games by hopping up and down his goal-line, leapt to his left to produce an excellent save.
Wigan boss Coyle called on James McClean and McManaman as he looked to his bench for a route back into the contest.
However, McManaman was on the field little more than three minutes as he was sent off in a controversial flashpoint soon after his introduction. The talented winger threw himself into a tackle on Pitman and with Cherries’ players and staff protesting furiously, referee Scott showed the Wigan substitute a red card. That sparked angry scenes on the touchline as Coyle pointed the finger at Cherries defender Harte.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Wigan piled forward in search of an equaliser and Cherries were grateful to Marc Pugh for clearing Barnett’s header off the line.
Pitman’s quick-thinking free-kick was wonderfully inventive but Carson produced a tremendous back-tracking save to keep the Latics in the match.
But that was the last of the goalmouth action as Cherries comfortably saw out time.
Cherries: (4-4-2) Allsop; Francis, Cook, Ward, Harte; Fraser (Thomas, 78), Arter, MacDonald, Pugh (Elphick, 90); Pitman, Grabban. Unused subs: O’Kane, Stockley, McDermott, Surman, Flahavan (g/k).
Booked: Harte, Allsop, Pitman
Wigan: (4-1-4-1) Carson; Boyce, Barnett, Perch, Crainey; McCarthy; Maloney, Watson, McArthur (McManaman, 56), Beausejour (McClean, 56); Holt (Fortune, 65). Unused subs: McCann, Gomez, Espinoza, Nicholls (g/k).
Booked: Beausejour, McClean
Sent off: McManaman
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
Attendance: 9,097 (including 689 away supporters)
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