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Cherries: Howe's men third after MK win (with video)
CHERRIES moved into third place in the League One standings after a simple 3-0 win at MK Dons this afternoon.
Lewis Grabban’s ninth-minute strike set Eddie Howe’s men on their way, before Marc Pugh made it 2-0 following Ryan Lowe’s sending-off for a horror tackle on Tommy Elphick.
Harry Arter completed a superb second-half performance with a sweet drive from distance on 84 minutes.
Howe named an unchanged line-up from the 3-1 win over Crewe at Dean Court last weekend, with new signing Matt Ritchie having to settle for a place on the bench.
Cherries made a bright start, livening the lack of atmosphere at a soulless stadium:mk.
Brett Pitman fired over from a good position inside the 18-yard box after two minutes, the Channel Islander having latched on to Steve Cook’s long throw.
And Cherries took a deserved lead after just nine minutes when Grabban took advantage of a poor back pass from Jon Otsemobor to round goalkeeper David Martin and slot home with a cool finish from an acute angle.
Just two minutes later, Grabban went close to doubling Cherries’ lead when his left-foot curler from 18 yards flew narrowly wide.
And although Simon Francis’s mistake moments later let in Ryan Harley, his woeful effort from distance only troubled the corner flag.
Shwan Jalal punched clear under pressure from Lowe on the half-hour as the Dons began to come into the clash, before Pugh fired straight at Martin after neat build-up work between Pitman and Grabban.
Jalal then beat away Lowe’s right-foot shot moments before the break after the former Bury man had beaten the offside trap to close in on the Cherries goalkeeper.
But referee Scott Mathieson had no option but to show Lowe a straight red card for a horrendous challenge on Elphick in first-half stoppage time.
The pair had squared up earlier in the first half, after Elphick had appeared to accuse Lowe of a stamp, and the striker’s poor tackle on the Cherries captain sparked ugly scenes, with Francis and assistant boss Jason Tindall incandescent with rage.
Elphick limped off to be replaced by Ritchie, but as the winger was waiting to come on, Pugh made it 2-0.
Martin saved well with his legs from Grabban’s initial effort, but Pugh burst in from the left channel to blast an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Ritchie slotted in at left-back, with Dan Seaborne taking Elphick’s place at centre-half after the restart, while Steve Cook wore the captain’s armband.
Both Josh McQuoid and Izale McLeod, a half-time substitute, blazed over at each end as the second half started in the same sluggish fashion as the first.
Pitman, meanwhile, should have done better when he headed Ritchie’s cross from the left right into Martin’s hands when unmarked deep inside the 18-yard box.
Some neat work between Pitman and Eunan O’Kane just after the hour saw Pitman fire narrowly over the crossbar, before a patient and meticulous build-up saw Grabban denied by Martin from close range.
McLeod’s blushes were spared moments later when he shot wide from all of two yards after Shaun Williams’s curler had come back off the post during a rare Dons foray into the final third. The referee’s assistant held aloft his flag as the groans rang out from the home support.
McLeod failed to find the target again when he scuffed his effort wide as the clash entered the final 10 minutes but, at the other end, Cherries were in cruise control.
And Arter’s sublime left-foot strike from around 20 yards, which nestled in the top corner after Pitman’s short free kick, put the icing on the cake for Howe’s men six minutes from time.
As the home supporters departed in their droves, Pitman’s left-foot strike came back off the crossbar. The travelling support simply chanted ‘We want more’.
Cherries: (4-4-2) Jalal; Francis, Elphick (Ritchie, 45), Cook, Seaborne; McQuoid (Hughes, 79), Arter, O’Kane, Pugh; Grabban (Tubbs, 86), Pitman.
Unused subs: Partington, Fletcher, Fogden, Allsop (g/k).
Dons: (4-2-3-1) Martin; Otsemobor, Doumbe (Smith, 63), Williams, Lewington; Potter, Lines (Ismail, 79); Bowditch, Harley, Chicksen (McLeod, h-t); Lowe.
Unused subs: Flanagan, Baldock, Alli.
Sent off: Lowe.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).