Late Cherries leveller forces replay
- Andy Madley
A last-minute Steve Cook header ensured the Cherries remain in the FA Cup, after coming from two goals down to secure a replay with Wigan Athletic.
Finishing 2-2, Eddie Howe named a much changed line-up from Monday’s game at Brighton, with nine new faces introduced to the starting XI. Brad Smith returned from injury, whilst Andrew Surman and Ryan Fraser were both back following short spells on the sidelines.
The tie got off to a flying start, with the visitors taking advantage of their first chance, Will Grigg firing home from close range two minutes in, after Gavin Massey had headed down a ball from the right.
However, the Cherries were almost back on level terms moments later, as Connor Mahoney’s free-kick found Lys Mousset, who saw his header saved onto the bar by Latic’s ‘keeper Christian Walton.
It was soon Howe’s side on the attack again, with Mousset getting in down the right, but failing to find fellow forward Benik Afobe in the box.
Shortly after, Mousset was involved once more, almost netting with a low volley from Mahoney’s cross, only to see the powerful strike blocked on the line by none other than Afobe.
With 25 minutes gone, the Latics had their second big chance of the game. Nick Powell won the ball in midfield and drove a shot narrowly wide of Artur Boruc’s post from 30 yards.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before the midfielder’s long-range efforts paid off, as he slotted home a free-kick from just outside the area, despite a heavy deflection, no more than five minutes later.
With the Cherries continuously surging forward following the goal, it wasn’t long before the first booking of the game, with Gavin Massey shown the opening yellow of the game after bringing down a rapid Ryan Fraser.
And before the half was over, the hosts almost got one back via Mahoney, with the youngster cutting inside and forcing a good save from Walton.
Following the break, Jordon Ibe and Marc Pugh were both introduced to the fray, replacing Mahoney and Brad Smith respectively.
The first chance of the half fell to the Cherries following some good link-up play between Ibe and Fraser, the latter of which pulled back his cross for Afobe, who again called Walton into action.
Minutes later, Cook headed onto the crossbar from Fraser’s corner as Howe’s side grew closer to reducing the deficit.
And the Cherries were duly rewarded thanks to Lys Mousset, who was played in by Ibe and saw his powerful shot fly beyond Walton with over half an hour remaining.
The hosts continued to press, with it being one-way traffic for the next spell of play, Howe’s side coming closest through Cook’s low drive from outside the area.
Wigan soon turned to their bench, bringing on Ivan Toney for goalscorer Grigg, the 21-year-old having an immediate impact with a shot just wide of Boruc’s post from inside the box.
A string of corners for the visitors lead to nothing, before Callum Wilson was introduced as the Cherries’ final substitution with 20 minutes to go.
Good work from Fraser on the right saw his cross find Mousset, who wrapped his foot around the ball only for it to be deflected on it’s route to goal.
Adam Smith then produced a superb ball from the opposite side, which bobbled around in the box and fell to the Cherries’ goalscorer, but he couldn’t prod home at the far post.
It was then substitute Wilson to try his luck at Walton, unleashing a shot from inside the box and producing another fine save.
With Andrew Surman then fouled on the edge of the Cherries box just five minutes from time, it was then up to Fraser to deliver the goods. Once again, however, Walton punched over an excellent effort from the Scotsman.
Up the other end of the pitch, a quick counter-attack from Wigan saw Toney go to ground in the Cherries area, but claims for a penalty were swiftly waved away by Andy Madley.
And with three minutes of added time shown by the fourth official, there was still time for one more chance for Howe’s side.
A sublime ball in from Adam Smith was met with intent by Cook, who headed home from close range to send Vitality Stadium into ruptures.