Bournemouth on brink of Pre­mier League pro­mo­tion

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Bournemouth are on the verge of seal­ing pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier League for the first time in the club’s his­tory af­ter Mon­day’s 3-0 victory over Bolton.

Ed­die Howe’s side brushed aside Wan­der­ers thanks to goals from Marc Pugh, Matt Ritchie and Cal­lum Wil­son at Dean Court and they now sit three points clear of third-placed Mid­dles­brough with only one game to play.

The Cher­ries will be guar­an­teed of a place in the English top-flight if they take at least one point from their trip to Charl­ton on Satur­day or if Mid­dles­brough fail to beat Brighton.

Even if Bournemouth lose and Mid­dles­brough win it would still take an ex­tra­or­di­nary se­quence of events for the team from the south-coast to be de­nied pro­mo­tion as they have a vastly su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence of +50 against Mid­dles­brough’s +31.

Bournemouth could also fin­ish as the win­ners of the Cham­pi­onship if they bet­ter the re­sult of al­ready-pro­moted lead­ers Wat­ford, who hold a one-point ad­van­tage over the Cher­ries and host Sh­effield Wed­nes­day on Satur­day.

“I’m an eter­nal pes­simist but it would take some blow up from this po­si­tion not to make it. We have one more game and we want to fin­ish on a high,” Howe said.

“This

club was head­ing nowhere, it was head­ing out of busi­ness and to make such a quick turn­around is im­pres­sive.

“You don’t achieve any­thing on your own. It has taken a mon­u­men­tal ef­fort from the play­ers and coach­ing staff.”

Re­gard­less of whether they fin­ish with sil­ver­ware or not, pro­mo­tion from the sec­ond tier will still be a re­mark­able achieve­ment for Bournemouth, who came close to go­ing into liq­ui­da­tion on three oc­ca­sions in six months only seven years ago.

With a crowd ca­pac­ity of only 11,700, Bournemouth, whose pre­vi­ous high­est ever fin­ish was 10th in the sec­ond tier last sea­son, would rank as by far the small­est club in the Pre­mier League next sea­son.

But their rise from ob­scu­rity to the brink of rub­bing shoul­ders with the likes of Chelsea and Manch­ester United sug­gests it would be un­wise to bet against them find­ing a way to sur­vive among the elite.

They started the 2008-09 sea­son in the fourth tier with a 17-point penalty, yet through the as­tute man­age­ment of the long-serv­ing Howe and the sub­se­quent in­vest­ment of Rus­sian bene­fac­tor Maxim Demin, who has bankrolled the club since 2011, Bournemouth have de­fied the odds to put the Pre­mier League’s riches within touch­ing dis­tance

Howe, who first joined Bournemouth as a 10-year-old and was al­ready re­garded as a club leg­end for his time as a suc­cess­ful player there, is in his sec­ond spell as manager af­ter first tak­ing charge aged 31 and sav­ing the Cher­ries’ Foot­ball League sta­tus be­fore lead­ing them to pro­mo­tion in 2010 and then re­turn­ing from a brief spell at Burn­ley to se­cure pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship in 2013.

His be­lief in eye-catch­ing at­tack­ing foot­ball has led Bournemouth to top the Cham­pi­onship goal-scor­ing charts this sea­son and the hosts tore into Bolton in typ­i­cally swash­buck­ling style.

They took the lead in the 39th minute when Pugh fired home from Ritchie’s cross and added a su­perb sec­ond three min­utes later.

Wil­son picked out Yann Ker­mor­gant and his pass was met by Ritchie with a pre­cise first-time fin­ish into the bot­tom cor­ner.

That was enough to get the party in full swing and not even Ker­mor­gant blaz­ing a 70th penalty over the bar af­ter Bolton’s Do­rian Dervite was sent off for foul­ing Wil­son could si­lence the home fans.

Fit­tingly, Wil­son, Bournemouth’s lead­ing scorer, net­ted his 23rd goal of the sea­son in the 78th minute and it wasn’t long be­fore he and his team­mates were mobbed by the ju­bi­lant home fans.

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