Doukara, Bellusci and Antenucci on target in 3-1 win...
BOURNEMOUTH 1 (Surman 6), UNITED 3 (Doukara 67, Bellusci 82, Antenucci 90).
Bournemouth: Camp, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Harte (Smith 87), Ritchie, Arter (Pitman 87), Surman, Fraser (Stanislas 70), Wilson, Kermorgant. Subs. Flahavan, Daniels, O'Kane, Pugh.
United: Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Pearce, Warnock (Cooper 76), Cook, Austin, Bianchi, Doukara, Sharp (Byram 76), Antenucci. Subs. S Taylor, Wootton, Tonge, Sloth, Adryan.
Referee: A D'Urso
Booked: Arter (Bournemouth), Bellusci (United)
Att: 9,307 (1,390 United)
Neil Redfearn remained in caretaker charge for the midweek trip to Bournemouth and he made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Birmingham. Saturday’s goal-hero, Alex Mowatt, was ruled out with a toe injury so Rodolph Austin was handed a recall in midfield, while Souleymane Doukara was preferred to Casper Sloth in an attack-minded line-up. Sam Byram returned from his three-game suspension but was made to settle for a place on the bench.
Just two minutes into the tie, it was the who hosts created the first opening as Marco Silvestri was forced into a superb flying save to beat away Ryan Fraser’s strike before Steve Cook could only scramble the resulting corner wide.
Bournemouth continued to press and soon found themselves ahead after six minutes as Andrew Surman collected the ball on the edge of the area and curled a low effort beyond the reach of Silvestri’s outstretched arm.
It was largely one-way traffic in the early stages as Eddie Howe’s side looked to double their lead, but they came up against an inspired Silvestri as the United goalkeeper twice denied Matt Ritchie – the second time being an acrobatic one-handed save to tip a dipping effort over the bar.
However, the resulting corner lead to United’s first opening as Mirco Antenucci picked up the ball inside his own half and began a counter-attack with a surging run down the centre of Bournemouth’s midfield. Antenucci looked to thread the lurking Billy Sharp through on goal, but a combination of defender and goalkeeper saw it behind for a corner.
Doukara then burst into the area and saw a drilled cross blocked as Redfearn’s men started to see more of the ball and show gradual signs of improvement.
Bournemouth remained a threat with their pace in attack, though, and Silvestri was called upon once again with a fine save to smother at the feet of Callum Wilson as he looked to round the Italian stopper following a quick break.
United headed towards the half-time whistle in a relatively positive manner, enjoying a first spell of sustained pressure inside the Bournemouth half, although Lee Camp was yet to be tested between the sticks.
Tommaso Bianchi tried his luck with a speculative effort from range but Camp remained untested as he watched it sail over his crossbar in the final chance of a disappointing opening 45 minutes for the visitors.
Both sides came out unchanged from the break and United started the second half brightly as Austin had their first effort of the evening on target, dragging a low shot from distance into Camp’s arms after powering away from two defenders.
Sharp then darted into the area and saw a strike blocked in front of goal before Lewis Cook could only slice high and wide after the loose ball was cleared into his path.
Redfearn’s half-time team-talk had clearly made an impression as it signalled the start of a good spell for United in the early stages of the second period. Camp was still to be truly tested but the home fans began to grow restless with their side seeing little of the ball and United probing for an equaliser.
Just before the hour mark, Sharp went to ground inside the area under the close watch of Tommy Elphick but referee Andy D’Urso waved away the penalty appeals from white shirts and travelling fans alike.
Silvestri was soon forced back into action at the opposite end though and, once again, the 23-year-old was alert to claw away Fraser’s whipped strike across goal.
But United had been the better side since the restart and they got their reward on 67 minutes. Doukara, whose movement had caused Bournemouth a number of problems, strode into the area with a powerful run to latch onto Bianchi's defence-splitting through ball and fire beyond Camp from a tight angle for his first Championship goal.
Backed by a buoyant away following, United were in the ascendancy and went in search of a second. Sharp came close from a similar position to Doukara’s equaliser almost immediately, but his effort rolled inches wide with Camp beaten.
Harry Arter issued a reminder of Bournemouth's threat in attack with a long-range strike that fizzed over Silvestri’s bar before Redfearn was prompted into making his first changes of the evening, introducing Sam Byram and Liam Cooper in place of Sharp and Stephen Warnock.
With little under 10 minutes remaining on the clock, United were awarded a free-kick from 25 yards out and Giuseppe Bellusci was quick to make it known he had only one thing on his mind as he set his sights firmly on goal.
The defender duly delivered and sent the travelling fans into pandemonium with a wicked dipping strike which left Camp with no chance as it rocketed into the top corner.
Bournemouth pushed to get back on level terms with Silvestri making two smart saves to preserve the lead, but gaps were appearing in the hosts’ defence and Antenucci raced through on goal in the final minute to slot beyond Camp with a composed finish to seal the three points.