The Cherries came from a goal behind to storm into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 5-1 rout at Rotherham.
Goals from Shaun MacDonald, Junior Stanislas, Ryan Fraser and a brace from Yann Kermorgant cancelled out Richard Brindley’s early strike, and booked the Cherries a place in the hat for Monday’s fourth round draw.
Eddie Howe rung the changes to the side that beat Millwall 2-0, with eight new faces in the starting line-up. Kermorgant was elected to lead the line alone, with a midfield five including Eunan O’Kane, Dan Gosling and MacDonald, who made his first start since September. There was space on a strong bench for 19-year-old Harry Cornick, who would make his Cherries debut late-on.
After a scrappy opening ten minutes, in which the the whistle seemed glued to referee Neil Swarbrick’s lips, the game exploded into life when Fraser was upended on the edge of the Millers box. Stanislas and Ian Harte stood over the free-kick, but it was the Irishman who curled a delightful strike into the angle of the upright, which cannoned the ball into the line and away. Harte was joined by a number of his teammates in claiming that the ball had crossed the line and Rotherham were quick to capitalise on the momentary lapse in concentration. In a matter of seconds the Millers completed their counter attack when full back Brindley struck a long range effort that deflected past Lee Camp and into the Cherries net.
With a one goal advantage, the hosts began to play with the wind in their sales, dominating long periods against a new-look Cherries side. Captain Steve Cook did well to block a dangerous one-two at the feet of Jordan Bowery, whilst his strike partner Jonson Clarke-Harris saw a long range effort go well wide.
Stanislas spurned a glorious opportunity to level proceedings mid-way through the half when a fine tackle from MacDonald allowed Kermorgant to slip the winger through. Bearing down on goal with only Adam Collin to beat, the former Burnley man seemed in two minds about how to find the net and ended up scuffing his effort well wide.
The visiting supporters had to wait until the 40th minute for the Cherries to begin serving up the type of football they’ve become so accustomed to this season. Something seemed to click in the Cherries midfield and possession football suddenly came easy. For three or four straight minutes the hosts failed to clear their lines again and again, and the Cherries played keep ball on the edge of the box. Fraser and Stanislas’ through balls weren’t met cleanly, but finally the Cherries made it count. Kermorgant slipped one into the path of Macdonald, who side footed cooly passed Collin.
Camp was on hand to keep the scores level early in the second half, palming a shot from Lee Frecklington over the bar and diving bravely at the feet of Bowery. Collin was doing his best at the other end, and managed to pull off one exceptional save to deny Adam Smith, before the floodgates opened.
Stanislas was first to find the net, and put any memories of his first half miss behind him, when he latched onto Gosling’s through ball and this time decided to round the ‘keeper and finish into an empty net.
Fraser put the Cherries two clear five minutes later when he showed extreme composure to squeeze the ball past Collin from a tight angle, after being put through by a Kermorgant back-heel.
The Breton got in on the goal fest moments later when he controlled Stanislas’ low cross inside the six yard box and sold Collin a dummy with his first touch. The Millers stopper took the bait and committed himself, allowing Kermorgant time to bury his effort from three yards.
The former Charlton hero completed the rout and notched the Cherries’ fourth goal in 14 minutes when he popped up at the far post to guide the ball home after Cook’s fine header had been parried by Collin.
Rotherham United: Collin, Brindley, Arnason, Morgan, James, Green, Frecklington, Smallwood, Pringle (Skarz 62), Bowery, Clarke-Harris (Derbyshire 62).
Subs: Loach, Skarz, Wood, Richardson, Newton, Derbyshire, Yates.
Bookings: Pringle, Frecklington.
Goals: Brindley 10.
Cherries: Camp, Smith, Cargill, Cook, Harte, Fraser (Ritchie 82), MacDonald (Pitman 82), Gosling, O'Kane, Stanislas (Cornick 71), Kermorgant.
Subs: Flahavan, Francis, Surman, Cornick, Ritchie, Wilson.
Goals: MacDonald 44, Stanislas 58, Fraser 63, Kermorgant 67 & 71.
Attendance: 5,875 (556 away)