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AFC Bournemouth: Last-day defeat for Cherries at Millwall
MARTYN Woolford’s first-half header condemned Cherries to a last-day defeat at Millwall as victory helped preserve the Lions’ Championship status.
Woolford netted the only goal after 29 minutes, with Doncaster, who pipped Cherries to the title 12 months ago, returning to League One following one season in the second flight.
Lee Camp was forced to make a smart save after Millwall had created the first chance in the sixth minute, the Cherries goalkeeper diving to his left to keep out Martyn Woolford’s effort.
Referee Michael Naylor opted to show Lions defender Mark Beevers a yellow card after he had felled Ryan Fraser as the Scotsman went through on goal after 11 minutes.
And from the resultant free kick, Yann Kermorgant’s low strike from 20 yards was pushed around the post by Millwall goalkeeper David Forde.
Cherries had an escape midway through the first half when Steve Morison’s hooked effort from close range came back off the crossbar with Camp beaten.
Stefan Maierhofer was spared by a linesman’s flag, the Austrian striker missing an open goal, only to have been deemed to have been in an offside position after Camp had fumbled Woolford’s shot.
Forde then unconvincingly saved from Rantie after the striker had let fly from just inside the 18-yard box before Smith’s left-foot drive flashed past the post.
Millwall opened the scoring after 29 minutes when Woolford glanced a header past Camp after being picked out by Owen Garvan’s teasing centre.
A heated conclusion to the first period saw Nicky Bailey booked for a foul on Smith before the Cherries man was also cautioned for charging into Alan Dunne.
Smith and Eunan O’Kane both made way at the interval with Simon Francis and Shaun MacDonald coming off the bench.
Andrew Surman’s angled shot was deflected for a corner at the start of the second half before Forde saved one handed after MacDonald had met Steve Cook’s cross with a firm header.
Lions substitute Simeon Jackson, once a transfer target for Cherries, seized on a slip by Tommy Elphick, only to drag his shot wide with just Camp to beat.
Scott Malone saw his 20-yarder tipped over the crossbar by Camp before Jackson again failed to hit the target, clipping his shot past the post with only Camp between him and goal.
Surman was denied by Forde after Brett Pitman had put him in, the midfielder seeing his low shot saved by the goalkeeper’s outstretched right leg.
Garvan’s free kick nine minutes from time eluded everyone in the penalty area and struck the outside of the post before Forde saved from Rantie after he had taken aim from six yards. In the dying seconds, Pitman screwed his shot wide from near the touchline.
Cherries: Camp, Smith (Francis, h-t), Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Ritchie, Surman, O’Kane (MacDonald, h-t), Fraser (Pitman, 72), Rantie, Kermorgant.
Unused subs: Pugh, Harte, Coulibaly, Allsop (g/k).
Booked: Smith, Ritchie.
Lions: Forde, Edwards, Dunne, Beevers (Robinson, 34), Malone (Fredericks, 86), Morison, Williams, Bailey, Garvan, Woolford, Maierhofer (Jackson, 64).
Unused subs: Easter, Abdou, McDonald, Bywater (g/k).
Booked: Beevers, Bailey, Woolford.
Referee: Michael Naylor.
Attendance: 15,779 (inc 1,351 away supporters).
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