BOSS Eddie Howe saw Cherries maintain their bid for a place in the play-offs and then praised his players for their execution of a meticulous game plan.

Goals from Tommy Elphick and Lewis Grabban earned Cherries a 2-1 win over Championship high-fliers QPR as Howe’s men remained in the hunt for a top-six finish.

Cherries registered a seventh victory in nine games despite being forced to play the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Harry Arter had been sent off for a foul on Junior Hoilett.

The midfielder received a straight red card from referee Jon Moss and will serve an automatic three-match suspension, starting with the visit of Reading tomorrow.

Howe immediately sacrificed striker Yann Kermorgant and replaced him with Eunan O’Kane, the tactical switch paying dividends as Cherries held on for victory.

“We work quite a lot in training on 10 versus 11 drills so it was an easy process for us,” said Howe.

“We had worked on it in the week so it was an easy substitution to make to get another midfielder on.

"We work on different game scenarios and how to manage them because whether we have the extra man or a man less, these are events which can happen in games and you need to be prepared for them.

“I was pleased with how the lads carried out the game plan and how they adapted to the different challenges put in front of them.

They blocked holes, dropped off and were hard to beat and hard to play through. They carried it out brilliantly. We were up against a top side and the players adapted to every demand placed on them.”

Although Howe felt Arter had been unfortunate to have been sent off, he told the Daily Echo it would be unlikely the club would appeal the red card. He also said he felt referee Jon Moss had been “inconsistent” with some of his decisions.

Asked for his opinion on Arter’s challenge, Howe replied: “I didn’t think it was a sending off and it was right in front of me.

"I didn’t think it was a tackle Harry needed to make but, in saying that, I didn’t think he went in two- footed. He went in with his usual determination but I didn’t think it was malicious in any way and I thought the red card was very harsh.

If that was a red card then Richard Dunne, in my opinion, should have gone for his tackle on Ryan Fraser towards the end of the game because that was a lot more cynical.”

Howe added: “It was a game that had everything. I didn’t think we started particularly well by our high standards.

"But once we got our belief and started to play as we normally do, we had a good spell and scored on half-time. We went in feeling good about ourselves and confident we could we could carry it on.”

Asked about Cherries’ play-off chances, Howe replied: “It is a possibility and I can’t deny there is a chance. It is still very difficult and the gap is still as big as it was so Tuesday is going to be a very special game for us.

“The atmosphere at the end was as good as I have ever known it here and I would like to thank the supporters for what they did. I would love to see it the same again on Tuesday and, hopefully, we can give a similar performance.”