BUT for a couple of penalty kicks, it could have been a very different weekend for Lee Bradbury.

On Saturday, the former Cherries boss sampled the delights of a soggy Tatnam where he presided over a 3-1 win for Havant & Waterlooville against Poole Town in National South.

Then, on Sunday, he turned on his television to watch Cherries crash to a 4-1 defeat against Huddersfield in the Premier League – at a venue he knows only too well.

A little over three months after he had been appointed permanently at Dean Court, Bradbury took the reins in the League One play-off semi-final.

At 35, his first taste of management was sweet.

Having replaced Burnley-bound Eddie Howe in January 2011, initially on a caretaker basis, Bradbury oversaw a 10-game unbeaten run, which included six wins.

And although a wobble left their play-off place in the balance, Cherries held on to sixth by a solitary point from Orient and Exeter.

A 1-1 draw against Huddersfield in the first leg at Dean Court left the tie delicately-poised for the return in west Yorkshire four days later.

And after twice coming from behind to level in 90 minutes, the promotion dream was very much alive when Danny Ings gave Cherries the lead in extra-time.

However, a breathtaking and incident-packed second leg was taken to penalties by Antony Kay’s leveller, with Cherries skipper Jason Pearce controversially sent off late on.

And the night ended in despair for Cherries when Liam Feeney and Anton Robinson both missed their spot-kicks, a season’s efforts undone in a matter of seconds.

Bradbury’s eventful 14-month tenure in the hot-seat came to an end following a 1-0 defeat at Oldham in March 2012, a reverse which left Cherries 13th in League One and 10 points behind the play-off chasers.

Patrolling the streets of Northern Ireland as an infantryman in his formative years in the Army hardened Bradbury for a career in the brutal world of football management.

“Sometimes, you need a bit of luck,” said Bradbury, in an interview with the Daily Echo following the Poole game.

“You need decisions to go for you. We had a sending off and missed a couple of penalties that night at Huddersfield.

“It could have been different. We could have won the play-offs and then, all of a sudden, you are a Championship manager.

“Sometimes, it goes that way but it wasn’t to be. I am back in the roots of non-league football and trying to build my way back up again.”

A popular figure during four years as a player with Cherries, Bradbury’s time at the helm coincided with one of the most tumultuous periods in the club’s recent history.

The dismantling of his play-off squad over the summer of 2011 was followed by the arrival of new owner Maxim Demin just months later.

Some high-profile occurrences off the pitch did little to help Bradbury’s cause, not least the wife of Demin giving part of a team talk during a 1-0 defeat by MK Dons in February 2012 and chairman Eddie Mitchell being cut off BBC Radio 5 Live's 606 programme after swearing on air as he discussed the incident with presenter Mark Chapman.

In a follow-up interview with the Daily Echo, Mitchell said Mrs Demin’s address had not implied any lack of confidence in Bradbury.

A few weeks later, the Echo was informed its reporters and photographers were no longer welcome at Seward Stadium, the move coming just days before Bradbury parted company with the club.

“It was a difficult spell,” recalled Bradbury. “We lost a lot of players from the play-off squad and I understood why because the club had to survive. At that stage, the state the club was in, it was vital that happened.

“As a manager, you want to keep your best players and the togetherness in the group. That dwindled pretty quickly and we had to rebuild. We didn’t start well the following season and, before you know it, confidence is low. I became a victim of that in the end.

“A lot of the time, you learn more from the bad things than you do from the good.

“I learned a lot, definitely.

“A lot of things happened to me in the 14 months I was manager. I learned a massive amount and think me and my teams going forward will benefit from that.”

Bradbury shows no signs of the scars and is not the type to hold grudges. He said an action against the club over claims of wrongful dismissal had been settled to his satisfaction.

His rehabilitation as a manager is gathering pace at Havant & Waterlooville with the club third in National South, three points behind the leaders but with three games in hand.

Relegated from the division in 2016, the Hawks won the Isthmian League last season with Bradbury named manager of the year.

“I have aspirations to get back in the league,” said the 42-year-old, who will face his former club in the semi-final of the Hampshire Senior Cup next month.

“What happened at Bournemouth has made me more determined. When certain things happen to you, you think ‘I’m not going to let that happen again’. You learn from your mistakes in any walk of life.

“At the moment, I am fully concentrated on trying to get Havant & Waterlooville promoted into the National League but there is a long way to go.

“I have great affinity for Bournemouth, both as a player and manager. It will always be close to my heart. I had some good times. It was a shame it came to an end but these things happen.”