The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Robert Do­man

ED­DIE Howe claimed his Bournemouth side had been de­nied the League One ti­tle in the cru­ellest pos­si­ble way as their goal­less draw at Tran­mere meant Don­caster’s late win­ner saw them pinch the sil­ver­ware.

Howe’s men dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings against a Pren­ton Park side who had lost their last five games, but failed to put the ball thanks in great part to the per­for­mance of Tran­mere goal­keeper Ja­son Mooney.

But de­spite al­ready hav­ing se­cured pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship in their pre­vi­ous game, Howe said his play­ers were crest­fallen at miss­ing out on the ti­tle they had been so des­per­ate to win.

“The lads played some ex­cel­lent football and to miss out on the ti­tle in this way is the cru­ellest way it could pos­si­bly have hap­pened,” said Howe.

“It al­most feels like we have failed but we didn’t have that lucky break.

“We feel like we have lost and there is a neg­a­tive feel­ing around the dress­ing room.

“The play­ers are crest­fallen but this club has come so far from a few months ago. We have achieved pro­mo­tion and we need to keep our per­spec­tive on that but we were des­per­ate to take the ti­tle.

“But I want us to cel­e­brate their achieve­ment be­cause when we look back on this we can be absolutely de­lighted.”

Tran­mere debu­tant Mooney made a smart dou­ble save to deny first Harry Arter then Shaun Mac­Don­ald on the re­bound seven min­utes in.

Arter dragged the ball wide fol­low­ing a surg­ing run from mid­field and Ash Tay­lor then sent an am­bi­tious ef­fort way over the bar for Rovers as he tried his luck from range.

Bournemouth started the sec­ond half brightly and al­most took the lead when Arter let fly with a stun­ning vol­ley that fell just wide of the up­right.

Brett Pit­man headed straight at Mooney from Marc Pugh’s cross be­fore Si­mon Fran­cis rat­tled the stan­chion with a thun­der­bolt on the hour.

Matt Ritchie then pulled a ful­l­length stop from Mooney as the Cher­ries turned the screw but JeanLouis Akpa-Akpro fired into the arms of Ryan All­sop in a rare Tran­mere at­tack.

Mooney made a won­der­ful save to parry Pit­man’s curl­ing strike but the south coast side couldn’t muster a win­ner which would have gifted them the League One crown.

Re­flec­tive Tran­mere man­ager Ron­nie Moore said: “The last eight weeks have been a night­mare.

“But we have been run­ning on empty and that is what hap­pens when you don’t have the strength in depth.

“Our move­ment up front wasn’t good enough and that has been a prob­lem for us re­cently.

“We lost sev­eral key play­ers at the half-way stage of the sea­son and we couldn’t af­ford to strengthen.

“That was a mas­sive blow to our hopes but to get 67 points is fan­tas­tic for us re­ally.”

DE­LIGHT: Bournemouth fans cel­e­brate pro­mo­tion


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