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AFC Bournemouth: Grabban penalty earns Cherries victory
A SECOND-HALF penalty from Lewis Grabban earned Cherries a 1-0 win at struggling Blackpool this afternoon.
Grabban’s coolly-taken spot kick three minutes after the break proved the difference after the front man had been brought down by keeper Matt Gilks.
It was Cherries’ second victory in a row in the Championship following last weekend’s 5-0 thrashing of Doncaster.
Visiting boss Eddie Howe made two enforced changes to the starting XI with injured duo Yann Kermorgant and Harry Arter - who between them scored all five goals the previous Saturday against Doncaster - dropping out of the squad altogether.
Brett Pitman was handed his first start since January 14 while Eunan O’Kane returned to the first XI after being an unused substitute against Donny. Richard Hughes and Shaun MacDonald were promoted to the bench.
The hosts made a positive start and had the first meaningful attempt at goal when Stephen Dobbie let fly from the left corner of the box, only to see his effort parried to safety by Lee Camp.
It did not take Cherries long to create a chance of their own, as Grabban broke from the middle of the park before teeing up Matt Ritchie, who fired a daisy-cutter into the arms of Gilks from around 25 yards.
The same man had a better attempt a matter of moments later from a more central position, but again Gilks was swiftly down to an effort which bounced just in front of him.
Grabban volleyed off-target and at the other end Simon Francis survived loud handball appeals right on the corner of his own penalty area.
Dobbie flashed across goal but did not find a team-mate for a simple tap-in, before David Perkins’ foul on the motoring Ryan Fraser afforded Ian Harte a prime shooting opportunity, but the Irishman's free kick bounced clear from a melee of bodies.
Cherries got off to the perfect start to the second half as the off-limits Gilks scythed down Grabban on the left corner of the area with less than two minutes played.
Gilks escaped with only a yellow card, but Grabban made him pay with a crisply-struck spot kick low into the left corner, which the keeper could not quite get his hand to.
Ricardo Fuller headed wide for the Tangerines and referee Gavin Ward then waved away Fraser’s appeals for another spot kick after the Scot went down in the box.
Blackpool’s misery was just about summed up when Chris Basham tried an audacious effort from the right flank after Camp was caught out of goal, but the ball went out for a Cherries thrown-in on the opposite side.
Andy Halliday sliced wide a similarly poor effort from 20 yards and Pitman’s radar was off as he smashed over a free kick from a fraction outside the area.
The game became more stretched in the final 20 minutes and it appeared to play into the visitors' hands as they enjoyed more space going forward.
Pitman flew forward and laid into the path of Pugh, but the substitute’s shot was weak and easily gathered by Gilks.
Dobbie’s shot deflected into Camp's grateful hands and skipper Gary Mackenzie nodded clear of the crossbar in the dying stages.
Cherries: Camp; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Harte; Ritchie, O'Kane, Surman, Fraser (Pugh, 58); Pitman, Grabban.
Unused subs: Allsop, Smith, Hughes, MacDonald, Coulibaly, Rantie.
Blackpool: Gilks; Foley (Cathcart, 79), Mackenzie, Broadfoot, Halliday; Osbourne; Basham (Haroun, 73), Perkins, Dobbie; Fuller, Keogh (Davies, 64).
Unused subs: Bishop, Goodwillie, Martinez, Grandin.
Booked: Perkins, Gilks, Broadfoot.
Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)
Attendance: 13,043 (612 away)
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