Report from Tom Crocker
Brett Pitman fired a fifteen minute hat-trick as Bournemouth issued a warning to the rest of League 1, with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over promotion hopefuls Peterborough at Dean Court.
Michael Symes was brought into the Cherries starting line-up to make his competitive home debut after returning from injury with Marc Pugh the other home debutant, in a 4-4-2 formation. Ryan Garry took up a place on the bench after picking up a minor injury against Southampton in midweek whilst Danny Hollands was given a rest. The fitness of Aaron McLean was the biggest pre-match talking point for the visitors but he managed to shake off a knock he received in the Carling Cup first round win over Rotherham on Tuesday.
The Cherries looked up for the challenge from the very start and were rewarded with an opening goal after just nine minutes. Liam Feeney was giving left back Ofori-Twunasi all sorts of problems with his pace and trickery, and he was the man to provide the assist for the first goal of the match. It was a pinpoint cross to the back post where Marc Pugh came steaming in to head home from close range and send the home crowd into raptures. It was the first Cherries goal of the season, little did anyone know that there would be four more this afternoon.
Bournemouth came close to doubling their lead when Symes and Bartley tried to convert a Rhoys Wiggins corner but both efforts were scrambled clear to give the visitors some respite. However, only three minutes later the score was 2-0. Michael Symes held the ball and waited for the right moment to slide it into the path of the on-rushing Anton Robinson who coolly slotted the ball into the far corner and out of the reach of Posh 'keeper Joe Lewis.
Despite the two goal lead, Peterborough were looking dangerous on the counter attack and, as Eddie Howe said after the game, despite the score being 2-0 the game was still "on a knife edge" and that the "next goal was crucial". A corner taken by McCann was headed goal-wards by Aaron McLean but Shwan Jalal, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, held the ball well to preserve the clean sheet. Both sides had half chances to score before the break but the best one fell to Peterborough forward McLean. He did well to get away from Stephen Purches and lined up a shot low to Jalal's right. However the 'keeper, who was playing against his former employers, got down well to ensure the Cherries retained the two goal advantage going into the break.
The visitors made two changes at half time to try and get back into the game but it had the opposite effect when the hosts scored a third just four minutes into the second half. A fantastic run down the left flank by home debutant Marc Pugh ended with a cut back to Brett Pitman. Bournemouth's top scorer last season opened his account for the 2010/11 campaign with a left footed shot which just beat Joe Lewis.
Just five minutes later came a sequence of events which ultimately decided the fate of this football match. Peterborough earned a corner which was swung in by Posh skipper Grant McCann and headed goal-wards by centre half Kelvin Langmead. Anton Robinson did well to keep the ball out with a traditional clearance off the line, but the next stop was far from traditional. George Boyd pounced on the rebound and it looked certain that he would be wheeling off to celebrate scoring for the third successive match but Robinson had other ideas. From his position on the post he leapt across the face of the goal to head the ball off of the goal-line before it was smashed clear. It was just a glimpse of the spirit and desire that these Bournemouth players showed today. Just two minutes later, almost the complete opposite from Peterborough gifted the Cherries a fourth goal. A lapse in concentration from Charlie Lee led to his pass back to the keeper being intercepted by Brett Pitman. The rest was merely a formality for the Bournemouth striker as he rounded Lewis before making it 4-0.
Brett Pitman makes it 4-0
Peterborough did pull a goal back after a corner was bundled in by Kelvin Langmead but unfortunately for him a number of the visiting fans had already left the ground after seeing their side concede the fourth. Soon after it was five completing a quarter of an hour hat-trick for Brett Pitman. Good work from the new boys Symes and Pugh led to the ball reaching Pitman on the edge of the area. He got it out of feet before curling a fine effort into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Frustrations understandably began to show after that with McCann and Boyd both picking up yellow cards for cynical trips on Bartley and Feeney as they were breaking forward looking for more goals. Both teams had one more real chance to score each and Bournemouth's fell to Josh McQuoid. The Northern Irish winger had only been on the pitch for three minutes when man of the match Pitman picked him out unmarked in the penalty area. However the youngster leant back and fired his shot way over the bar. The final Peterborough chance provided more of a test for the goal keeper. Craig Mackail-Smith was determined to add to his goal against Rotherham but a smart low save denied him and the Posh from taking any further consolation from this match.
The last time the two sides met goalkeeping coach Neil Moss and the manager Eddie Howe were in the starting line-up in a 1-0 defeat but this was Bournemouth's day and, as Howe commented after the game, "we were outstanding".
Next up for Bournemouth is a tricky trip to Tranmere next Saturday, a place where the Cherries have struggled in the past.
AFC Bournemouth: Jalal; Purches, Cooper, Pearce (c), Wiggins; Feeney (Arter 82), Robinson, Bartley, Pugh (Cummings 86); Symes (McQuoid 77), Pitman
Subs not used: Thomas, Garry, Bradbury, Stockley
Goals: Pugh (10), Robinson (20), Pitman x3 (50,56,65)
Peterborough United: Lewis; Little, Langmead, Bennett (Hibbert 65), Ofori-Twunasi (Lee 45); Wesolowski, McCann (c), Mendez-Laing (Rowe 45); Mackail-Smith, Boyd, McLean
Subs not used: Collis, Piergianni, Davies, Tomlin
Goal: Langmead (61)