NOTTS COUNTY..1 Ten-man County go down

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Nigel Pritchard

BOURNEMOUTH man­ager Ed­die Howe is keep­ing his fin­gers crossed that striker Brett Pit­man can main­tain his pur­ple patch right the way through to the end of the sea­son.

Pit­man net­ted for the sixth game in suc­ces­sion as the Cher­ries came from be­hind to see off ten-man Notts County at Dean Court.

The Jersey­man, a bargain £60,000 buy from Bris­tol City in Jan­uary, plun­dered his 15th goal of the cam­paign to help Bournemouth open a five­point gap in sec­ond place.

Howe said: “Brett is a goalscorer and a scorer of great goals. His strike in this game was ex­cel­lent.

“I have watched him since his time in the youth team here and he has al­ways scored goals. I am de­lighted with him and still think there is more to come. Hopefully, we can keep him scor­ing for the fi­nal three games.”

Pit­man, who ini­tially re­turned to his former club on loan in Novem­ber, fired the hosts in front with a ven­omous drive mid­way through the first half.

His ef­fort helped Bournemouth re­cover from a poor start with County tak­ing the lead through a Jeff Hughes header af­ter just 96 sec­onds.

How­ever, Matt Ritchie re­stored par­ity, mak­ing space for a fe­ro­cious left­footed strike af­ter 17 min­utes be­fore Pit­man made it 2-1 with a some­what con­tro­ver­sial sec­ond.

County ap­pealed in vain for the strike to be chalked off, claim­ing Matt Tubbs had han­dled in the lead up to the goal. Ref­eree David Phillips, how­ever, was un­moved.

The vis­i­tors’ plight wors­ened when mid­fielder An­dre Bou­caud was sent off for col­lect­ing a sec­ond book­ing on the stroke of half-time.

Although County were not with­out their chances in the sec­ond half, Ritchie com­pleted the scor­ing late on to give Bournemouth’s pro­mo­tion push an­other boost.

Howe added: “I was really pleased we came from be­hind to win be­cause it isn’t some­thing we have done par­tic­u­larly well at home this sea­son. Go­ing be­hind so early was a real test for us and, fair play to the play­ers be­cause it was a really good ef­fort. We scored at a really good time to make it 1-1 and we scored some great goals. It will give us huge con­fi­dence go­ing into the re­main­ing three games.

“We ex­pected Notts County to play and they were brave on the ball. Even with 10 men, they were very good. We also ex­pected to cre­ate chances and we did. I would like to have seen the third goal sooner be­cause, at that stage, the game was still very much in the bal­ance.”

County man­ager Chris Ki­womya was crit­i­cal of ref­eree Phillips and said:“I thought it was go­ing to be a good game be­tween two good at­tack­ing teams but the ref­eree spoiled it.

“I was dis­ap­pointed with him. He has got to play his part in the game and we didn’t agree with a lot of his de­ci­sions. On an­other day, and with 11 men, maybe we would gone on to draw or even win the game. The ten men who fin­ished the game were mag­nif­i­cent and gave their all.

“I thought we started well and they got back into the game but even the goals they scored could have been avoided. Even though we had our backs to the wall in the sec­ond half, we cre­ated some good chances and should have scored.

“It was a men­tal bat­tle with ten men.

“If you are not solid and de­ter­mined, you could go down five or six and then heads would have dropped but we stayed in the game.

The third goal killed us off.” KARL Robin­son says his MK Dons team must win all their re­main­ing games if they are to reach the play-offs, fol­low­ing their frus­trat­ing goal­less draw with Craw­ley.

Ryan Lowe had three goals dis­al­lowed for off­side as the Dons failed to con­vert their dom­i­nance into a third straight win.

The Dons are now seven points adrift of the play-off places with five games re­main­ing but Robin­son in­sists they can still sneak in.

He said:“It’s win all-out on Tues­day against Swin­don now. It’s no­holds-barred, we’ve got to win all the games so at least we know where we are.

“We’re far from out of it – if we per­form like that from now un­til the end of the sea­son I think we will win all our games and that will be enough.

“I’ve got a lot of re­spect for Richie Barker and his team but I think we’ve pum­melled them out there.

“We had so many chances, I’m ab­so­lutely shell-shocked we didn’t win.

“But Ryan’s sec­ond goal was def­i­nitely on­side, I’ve seen it again.”

Lowe had a header and a tap-in ruled out and then curled an­other shot just over the cross­bar be­fore his close-range half-vol­ley was bril­liantly saved by Paul Jones.

Dons for­ward Dean Bowditch also blasted a 25yard drive inches wide of the post be­fore cross­ing low for

POW­ER­LESS: Ryan All­sop can do noth­ing to stop Notts County’s early opener but the hosts re­cov­ered



RE­SILIENT: Shaun Wil­liams of MK Dons


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