STEVE Fletcher’s goal against Grimsby Town will forever be remembered as the moment which sealed Cherries' ‘Greatest Escape’.

But without the platform set in earlier weeks by strike partner Brett Pitman, that moment may never have been possible.

Struggling to find the net under previous boss Jimmy Quinn and having been sent off in an infamous FA Cup defeat at Blyth Spartans, just three minutes after coming on as a substitute, Pitman found a new lease of life under rookie boss Eddie Howe.

Pitman managed just four goals in 24 appearances between August and Howe’s arrival in late December.

From the turn of the year onwards, the Jersey-born forward embarked on a scintillating run of 13 goals in his remaining 21 games.

That included a 21st-birthday brace at Lincoln in late January, a home hat-trick against Rochdale in April and a crucial strike in the 2-0 success at Chester just a week before the Grimsby clash.

Cherries are releasing a documentary later this week to mark a decade since the 2-1 win over the Mariners which sealed League Two safety, despite starting the campaign on minus 17 points.

And Pitman reflected on the achievement.

He told the Daily Echo: “It could’ve been so different. You look at the club now and where it is – the Premier League, building a new training ground etcetera. Without that day against Grimsby, you just don’t know what would’ve happened.

“Obviously it was a massive day.

“I think we were going into the game confident because we had been in pretty good form. We beat Chester the week before.

“I don’t really remember much of the Grimsby game to be honest. We went one goal down and then Feeno (Liam Feeney) scored and then obviously Fletch scored, which he likes telling everyone about.

“We had another game after that, so I think we would’ve stayed up anyway without that goal!

“I’ve seen it (back) a lot of times from him (Fletcher). But you couldn’t really write it.

“It was probably made for him to score that goal.”

While Fletcher ended up taking the glory, the 2008/09 campaign is one Pitman still looks back on fondly.

The striker played in Leagues Two, One and the Championship during two spells with Cherries, helping them to promotion from the fourth tier just 12 months on from narrowly avoiding the drop, scoring 26 league goals in the process. That remains his most prolific campaign to date.

A graduate of Cherries' academy who made his senior debut in 2005, aged just 17, Pitman is now plying his trade with Portsmouth.

But the striker, who still lives in Dorset, says the initial 18-month spell under Howe remains among his career highlights.

“Especially from Christmas (2008) onwards when Eddie took over and obviously the following season when we got promoted, were two of my best seasons," he added.

“I really enjoyed playing and we had a great group of lads.

“The first half of that season wasn’t easy with everything going on.

“But as soon as Eddie took over, I know we lost the first couple of games, but you could tell something was going to happen.”