CHERRIES slumped to their first defeat in four as an impressive Wigan side ran out 3-0 winners at the DW Stadium this afternoon.
Uwe Rosler’s side dominated the first half and Cherries were fortunate to go into the break only 1-0 behind, Marc-Antoine Fortune’s strike after five minutes handing the hosts a deserved lead.
But despite settling into the clash after a torrid opening 25 minutes, Elliott Ward’s own goal just before the hour and substitute Jordi Gomez’s long-range effort in stoppage time at the end of the clash saw Eddie Howe’s men return to Dorset empty-handed.
Howe made one change from the side that drew 1-1 against Brighton on New Year’s Day, with Marc Pugh dropping to the bench and Ryan Fraser starting on the left of midfield. Steve Cook returned to the bench following a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Nick Powell fashioned the first chance of the game for the home side after four minutes when he shook off Simon Francis and bent a right-foot shot towards goal, but Cherries keeper Lee Camp saved.
And a minute later the Latics were in front when Fortune turned and blasted an unstoppable drive past Camp following good work down the left between Powell and Chris McCann.
As Rosler’s men began to dominate, James McArthur skewed a right-foot shot from distance horribly wide, before Camp made himself big to superbly deny Callum McManaman.
Powell arguably should have made it 2-0 after 13 minutes but somehow managed to turn Fortune’s cross from the left over the crossbar when well-placed inside the six-yard box.
Camp then saved well as the impressive Powell unleashed a dipping drive from around 25 yards. Cherries were barely able to venture into Latics territory such was the home side’s dominance.
Matt Ritchie cut inside from the left on 25 minutes having been played in by Harry Arter, but his shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Ali Al Habsi. At the other end, Camp pouched a long-range effort from McArthur.
Lewis Grabban beat the offside trap to pick up Charlie Daniels’s long ball 10 minutes before half-time, but the Cherries striker let the ball run too far in front of him and Al Habsi collected.
Camp saved well from Ben Watson’s 25-yard free kick on 36 minutes after Ritchie had felled Powell, while McAthur fired straight at the Cherries keeper having run from deep inside his own half.
In first-half stoppage time, Grabban turned Francis’s cross wide of the target.
The home side’s appeals for a penalty after Eunan O’Kane had appeared to handle in the box were waved away by referee Geoff Eltringham shortly after the restart, before McArthur blazed wide from 20 yards. Half-time sub Ty Browning headed wide from Watson’s corner.
Grabban’s shot flashed across goal at the other end after good work from Arter and Ritchie, but, like the opening period, Cherries were still struggling to put together a meaningful spell of possession.
And the hosts made them pay when Fortune’s shot from inside the box after 57 minutes was turned past Camp by Ward.
McCann should have put the game well out of reach on 10 minutes later but his weak shot from inside the six-yard box following a pin-point cross from Jean Beausejour was snaffled by Camp.
Ritchie, having a quiet game by his standards, saw his shot 18 minutes from time deflected out for a corner, while Camp was equal to McArthur’s drive two minutes later.
Substitute Tokelo Rantie should have given Howe’s men a glimmer of hope on 76 minutes but, despite having space just inside the box, the South African fired wide after Daniels and substitute Pugh had linked well down the left. Pugh then shot straight at Al Habsi moments later.
Al Habsi was then on hand to deny Rantie eight minutes from time, smothering the Cherries man as he looked to pull the trigger having been played in by Pugh. Ward scooped a shot over the bar moments later after Brett Pitman’s neat header had set up the centre-half.
But the hosts saved the best until last, Gomez curling home a stunning left-foot shot from around 25 yards in second-half stoppage time, although there was still time for Al Habsi to save well from both Grabban and Rantie.
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