CHERRIES eased into the third round of the League Cup for the first time in 10 years after finally breaking their Northampton Town jinx in a 3-0 win at Dean Court tonight.
Eddie Howe’s men made light work of seeing off the League Two outfit who had pulled off the shock of the first round by dumping out Wolves.
First-half goals from Dan Gosling and Brett Pitman, coupled with substitute Callum Wilson’s header 11 minutes from time, ensured there would be no repeat for the Cobblers.
Victory was Cherries’ first over Northampton since 2002, with Town winning five of the previous seven meetings – including doing the double over Howe’s promotion winners in 2009-10.
Gosling, who scored during Cherries’ first-round triumph at Exeter, paved the way for the win when he swept home the opener after 21 minutes of a first half dominated by the hosts.
Pitman, who made his debut in the competition in 2005, the season after Cherries had progressed to the last 32 following a penalty shootout win at Premier League Blackburn, doubled the lead following a mistake by Ricky Ravenhill.
And Wilson came off the bench to seal Cherries’ place in Thursday’s third-round draw when he headed his fourth goal since his summer move from Coventry.
Cherries made their intentions clear from the first whistle when an attack started by Tokelo Rantie finished with Marc Pugh firing wide from a tight angle after just 43 seconds.
Rantie’s teasing cross from the right was taken off Pugh’s head when Cobblers defender Ben Tozer nodded clear before Eunan O’Kane saw his 20-yarder flash past the post.
O’Kane went mightily close to breaking the deadlock after seven minutes when his thunderous volley from 25 yards came crashing back off the underside of the crossbar.
Northampton also had a chance to open the scoring when Lee Collins headed narrowly past the upright after Joel Byrom’s corner had picked him out at the far post.
Ryan Fraser, named in the latest Scotland under-21 squad, wriggled free and lifted his shot over the crossbar before Rantie dragged an effort wide after seizing on a mistake by Collins.
As chances came thick and fast for Cherries, Steve Cook nodded an Ian Harte corner past the near post before teenage defender Baily Cargill also got in on the act when his crisply-hit strike from the edge of the box was parried past the upright by Archer.
Cherries were rewarded for their supremacy when they made the breakthrough after 21 minutes, with Gosling on hand to sweep home the opener.
The former Newcastle and Everton man picked his spot, adroitly side-footing the ball into the bottom corner after fastening on to Adam Smith’s driven cross.
Cherries were gifted an opportunity to double their lead after 30 minutes when Ravenhill’s wayward pass inadvertently gave Pitman a free run on goal.
And the club’s master marksman – Cherries’ fifth highest all-time leading league goalscorer – accepted the present, coolly rounding Archer and tapping into an empty net.
Such was Cherries’ first-half domination that some Northampton supporters were reduced to cheering sarcastically when their team managed to gain possession, with one wag urging the hosts to “give us back the ball”.
The visiting contingent were briefly roused as Marc Richards prepared to meet a deep cross from Kaid Mohamed, only for the striker to fluff his lines by thumping a free header over the top in first-half stoppage time.
Cobblers defender Collins could count himself fortunate to escape with a yellow card after clattering Pitman with an over-the-top challenge early in the second half.
Rantie stole a yard on his marker with a sharp turn of pace before sending a low drive towards goal, his effort blocked by the legs of Northampton’s on-loan goalkeeper Archer.
Cargill’s timely tackle prevented Mohamed going clear on goal, the youngster again distinguishing himself with another accomplished performance.
Archer got down smartly at his near post to save from Callum Wilson after he had latched on to fellow substitute Matt Ritchie’s cross, with Pitman blazing the follow-up into the North Stand.
Fraser’s effort from the edge of the box curled inches past the upright before Archer was forced to beat away Harte’s stinging drive with Wilson dragging his shot wide from the rebound.
Wilson, however, made no mistake when he headed home the third, the striker well placed after Archer had only been able to parry Gosling’s piledriver straight to him.
Cherries: Camp, Smith, Cook, Cargill, Harte, Fraser, Gosling, O’Kane, Pugh (Wilson, 69), Rantie (Ritchie, 69), Pitman (Stanislas, 82). Unused subs: Elphick, Daniels, Kermorgant, Flahavan (g/k).
Cobblers: Archer, Tozer, Collins, Diamond, Robertson, D’Ath (Nicholls, 75), Byrom, Ravenhill (O’Toole, 57), Mohamed, Sinclair (Moyo, 71), Richards. Unused subs: Hackett, Warburton, Jackson, Duke (g/k).
Booked: Collins, Diamond.
Referee: Carl Berry (Surrey).
Attendance: 5,250 (including 332 away supporters).