Cherries exit FA Cup at Wigan
- Stuart Attwell
AFC Bournemouth exited the Emirates FA Cup at the third round stage after a 3-0 replay defeat at Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night.
The League One leaders secured their place in the next stage with goals from captain Sam Morsy, Dan Burn and Callum Elder at the DW Stadium.
Captain Morsy got the ball rolling in the ninth minute, calmly planting home a first-time finish after Artur Boruc had saved from Will Grigg.
The Cherries had chances to get back on terms, with the likes of Ryan Fraser, Lys Mousset and Benik Afobe all threatening.
But they failed to put them away and were made to pay as Wigan scored twice in three second half minutes.
First, substitute Burn struck from close range, before left-back Elder produced an outstanding header to put the result beyond any doubt.
It was a first defeat in six matches for AFC Bournemouth, who will look to bounce back to winning ways on Saturday at West Ham in the Premier League.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe made eight changes to his starting line-up from Sunday’s historic victory over Arsenal, with only Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels and Ryan Fraser keeping their places.
But despite those alterations, the visitors made a bright start and within the opening two minutes had created a chance.
Alex Bruce’s misplaced pass was seized upon by Harry Arter, who drove at the Latics’ backline and played in Lys Mousset, only for the French forward to be denied by a timely challenge.
However, it was Wigan who broke the deadlock in the ninth minute through Morsy.
Ryan Colclough raced down the left, avoided the challenge of Ryan Fraser and squared for Grigg.
The Northern Ireland international saw his shot well-saved by the leg of Boruc, but Morsy was on hand to place the loose ball into the corner of the net from 12 yards.
AFC Bournemouth attempted a response and Fraser curled a 25-yard free-kick comfortably over the bar, before Mousset saw an effort deflected behind for a corner.
Benik Afobe was next to try his luck just past the half-hour mark, connecting with Fraser’s inswinging delivery but seeing his glancing header comfortably saved by Jamie Jones in the Wigan goal.
Soon after, the Cherries had a penalty shout when Marc Pugh went to ground in a crowded box but referee Stuart Attwell was unmoved by the appeals.
The first half ended with Afobe looping a header into Jones’ arms from a Connor Mahoney cross, and the second period begun in a similar vein – this time Jones doing well to turn behind Fraser’s low strike.
At the other end, Wigan forward Gary Roberts flashed a left-footed long-ranger wide, minutes before Colclough went even closer with an angled drive that was narrowly off target.
But the visitors were soon back on the front foot. Mousset was unable to hit the target with a header, while Afobe’s heavy touch denied the front man a one-on-one opportunity which surely would have led to an equaliser.
Afobe was inches away form levelling on 68 minutes, receiving substitute Jordon Ibe’s through ball but shooting agonisingly the wrong side of the upright.
Despite all their second half pressure, though, Wigan doubled their advantage in the 73rd minute.
Max Power’s corner was only half-cleared by the Cherries defence, and when the ball found its way back to the same player wide on the right, his wicked cross was turned home off the crossbar by substitute Burn.
And less than three minutes later it was 3-0. This time full-back Callum Elder got in on the act, arriving at the back post to plant a header low into the far corner past the despairing dive of Boruc.
With time running out, AFC Bournemouth continued to press for a consolation and Mousset found the side netting, rather than the back of it, from Ibe’s cut-back.
Kyle Taylor came off the bench for the final four minutes, to make his professional debut, but that was the only bright spot on a disappointing night for the Cherries.