CHERRIES will face Brentford in the play-off semi-finals, after a toothless display against Stoke saw Jonathan Woodgate's men beaten for the third match in succession.

The loss, combined with a draw for Barnsley, saw Cherries slip down to sixth on the final day of the regulation season.

The Potters ran out relatively comfortable 2-0 winners at Vitality Stadium, thanks to goals either side of half-time from defenders Will Forrester and Tommy Smith.

Cherries will host third-placed Brentford in the play-off semi-finals on Monday, May 17, before the return leg on Saturday, May 22. The other tie sees Swansea City take on Barnsley.

Having made wholesale changes for last weekend’s trip to Wycombe Wanderers, Woodgate switched back to his tried and tested side, with seven changes in all.

Arnaut Danjuma, Dominic Solanke, Jefferson Lerma, Adam Smith and Philip Billing all returned having been unused subs at Adams Park, as did fit-again duo Steve Cook and Lloyd Kelly. Junior Stanislas was absent from the squad due to a hamstring injury.

Mid-table Stoke made three changes from their loss to QPR last time out with Nick Powell, Steven Fletcher and Harry Souttar all injured, while teenager Forrester was called in for his debut. Cherries academy graduate Sam Vokes was named among the substitutes.

Stoke made a bright start with shots from Rabbi Matondo and Tommy Smith blocked, before Cherries skipper Cook went into the book for an early foul on the halfway line.

But Cherries created two good chances of their own. Danjuma teed up Billing on the edge of the box, whose goalbound shot was deflected behind off Danny Batth, before Lerma nodded just wide from a David Brooks corner.

But chances soon dried up for the hosts as they struggled to impose themselves on the Potters.

At the other end, Matondo was comfortably denied by Begovic, before Michael O’Neill’s men did break the deadlock before half-time.

An outswinging corner from Jordan Thompson was sliced by Lerma as he attempted to clear, allowing Forrester to sweetly volley the loose ball into the bottom corner.

Solanke then fired over for Cherries, before Stoke almost doubled their tally. A swift break down the right from Matondo opened up a two-on-one. The Wales international clipped a cross to the back post for strike partner Jacob Brown, whose header was denied by a vital Cameron Carter-Vickers block.

Forrester went close from another corner, with his header cleared away by Lerma, as Stoke held a narrow advantage going into the break.

And that lead was quickly doubled after the restart. Sam Clucas slipped a neat ball down the right for the marauding Smith, who expertly fired into the bottom corner for just his second goal of the campaign.

Woodgate instantly turned to his bench, bringing Rodrigo Riquelme into the action in place of Ben Pearson. Brooks shifted infield with the Spaniard taking up a spot on the right wing.

The change appeared to do the trick as Cherries got themselves on the front foot. Moments after Solanke’s strong run almost found an opening, the striker got on the end of a pinpoint Kelly cross. However, his shot was brilliantly saved by the legs of goalkeeper Adam Davies.

With the clock ticking down, Woodgate again freshened up his side with Chris Mepham, Jack Stacey and Shane Long all introduced.

But Cherries never really looked like scoring as they end the campaign in sixth place on 77 points.

Cherries: Begovic; A Smith (Stacey, 75), Carter-Vickers, Cook (Mepham, 69), Kelly; Pearson (Riquelme, 55), Lerma; Brooks, Billing (Long, 75), Danjuma; Solanke.

Unused subs: Rico, Wilshere, Anthony, Surridge, Travers (g/k).

Booked: Cook, Billing.

Stoke: Davies; Forrester, Batth, Norrington-Davies; T Smith, Clucas, Mikel, Thompson, Tymon; Matondo (Norton, 90+4), Brown (Vokes, 90+4).

Unused subs: Sparrow, Coates, Malone, Taylor, Jones, Macari, Bursik (g/k).

Booked: Batth.

Referee: David Webb.