DARREN Anderton capped his swansong with a fairytale winner as Cherries chalked up a 1-0 victory over 10-man Chester City.
The former England star raised the roof at Dean Court when he netted with a stunning volley to seal the points just two minutes from time.
It was a fitting send-off for Anderton who this week announced his decision to hang up his boots after an illustrious 18-year career.
Anderton’s memorable clincher came just minutes after City had been reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Tony Dinning.
Retiring Anderton was again forced to settle for a place on the bench as Jimmy Quinn named an unchanged starting line-up following Cherries’ 3-3 draw at Luton.
A largely uneventful start saw the two sides trade a solitary shot apiece during the opening 12 minutes, with efforts from Ryan Lowe and Lee Bradbury both flashing wide.
Sean Kelly’s timely interception denied Matt Tubbs an opening after Bradbury had flicked on Jason Pearce’s 18th-minute cross. Proceedings almost burst to life when Josh McQuoid unleashed a fierce
right-foot drive, only for his piledriver to be charged down by City defender Paul Linwood.
James Vaughan then had his name taken for a foul on Tubbs before Cherries went mightily close to opening the scoring from the resultant free kick.
Delivered into the danger zone by Danny Hollands, Bradbury nodded a gilt-edged opportunity over the crossbar after Pearce had provided the assist.
And as City looked for a riposte, Anthony Barry’s low drive was comfortably saved by Shwan Jalal, the Cherries goalkeeper tested for the first time midway through the opening period.
John Danby, Jalal’s opposite number, was almost wrong footed after Danny Hollands’s speculative 25-yarder had taken a wicked deflection.
But the alert Chester goalkeeper managed to right himself at the last second, saving with his outstretched leg as he dived the opposite way.
As an instantly forgettable first 45 minutes drew to a close, Danby plucked Shaun Cooper’s clipped effort from beneath the crossbar.
Mark Hughes hooked the first chance of the second half wide after Lowe’s free kick had only been half cleared by the Cherries defence.
City looked far from convincing as Cherries forced a flurry of corners, the third of which saw Pearce head over from McQuoid’s delivery.
The loudest cheer of the day greeted the arrival of Anderton, the former England international replacing Joel Ward just 11 minutes after the break.
Anderton, however, was unable to immediately stamp his class on proceedings as the contest continued to provide little in the way of entertainment.
And the visitors went close to profiting after Anderton’s 64th-minute pass had been cut out, with Lowe firing narrowly wide following a swift counter attack.
Anderton then provided fellow substitute Brett Pitman with an assist, the young striker’s firm header at the far post hacked away by Linwood.
Pitman’s appeal for a penalty then fell on deaf ears after he had taken a tumble under a challenge from the impressive Linwood 15 minutes from time.
Jalal smothered a Kevin Roberts header before the visitors were reduced to 10 men when substitute Tony Dinning received a straight red card for elbowing Hollands.
And from the resultant free kick, Anderton’s venomous strike whistled inches past the upright, with some Cherries supporters convinced the ball had squeezed inside the post.
There was little doubt just minutes later though when Anderton’s class told as Cherries finally broke the deadlock in the closing stages.
The 36-year-old was on hand to dispatch a stunning volley past Danby from around 20 yards after Mark Molesley’s cross had found him lurking just outside the 18-yard box.
Cherries (4-1-4-1): Jalal; Ward (Anderton, 56), Guyett, Pearce, Garry; Cooper; Tubbs (Pitman, 71), Hollands, McQuoid, Molesley; Bradbury (Symes, 79).
Unused subs: Cummings, Pryce (g/k).
Booked: Cooper, Pitman.
Chester City (4-4-2): Danby; J Vaughan, Kelly, Linwood, Roberts; Rule (Dinning, 64), Barry, Hughes, Wilson; Lowe, McManus (Partridge, 55).
Unused subs: Rutherford, Mitchell, Platt.
Booked: Vaughan, Wilson.
Sent off: Dinning.
Referee: James Linnington (Newport, Isle of Wight).