Travers the hero as the Cherries progress
- Dean Whitestone
Mark Travers was the hero as the Cherries booked their place in the third round of the Carabao Cup following a penalty shootout victory over Forest Green Rovers.
The Irishman pulled off three excellent saves to keep out spot-kicks from Joseph Mills, Kevin Dawson and James Morton as the hosts triumphed 3-0.
And although Jordon Ibe was foiled by Joseph Wollacott, successful conversions from Joshua King, Dominic Solanke and Phil Billing saw the Cherries prevail after the tie had ended deadlocked at 0-0.
Travers dived to his left to thwart Mills and Dawson before throwing himself full-length to his right to deny Morton.
Both King and Solanke sent Wollacott the wrong way before Billing rifled his penalty into the roof of the net to see off the League Two high-fliers.
Teenage midfielder Gavin Kilkenny was handed his first competitive start as Cherries manager Eddie Howe made no fewer than nine changes to his starting line-up.
Kilkenny, who scored during the pre-season friendly win over Lyon earlier this month, was also today named for the first time in the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad.
Summer recruit Jack Stacey from Luton also started as did Liverpool loan star Harry Wilson who netted a stunning free-kick in Sunday’s defeat by Manchester City.
Chris Mepham and Callum Wilson were the only survivors from the starting line-up against City, while youngsters Nnamdi Ofoborh and Alex Dobre were named among the Cherries substitutes.
Callum Wilson fashioned the first shooting chance after exchanging passes with Dominic Solanke, the striker firing narrowly wide from just inside the 18-yard box.
Rovers goalkeeper Joseph Wollacott saved comfortably after Jordon Ibe had met Harry Wilson’s cross with a flicked header before Kevin Dawson’s effort for the visitors went well wide.
Harry Wilson, bidding for a repeat of his free-kick against Manchester City, went mightily close when his strike from 30 yards flew inches over the crossbar in the 12th minute.
And it was Harry Wilson again who went close to breaking the deadlock with Wollacott sticking out his right hand to push away the Welshman’s low shot from close range.
Andrew Surman’s shot from the edge of the box flashed past the upright after the midfielder had traded passes with Ibe to create the opening.
Ibe drew a fine save from Wollacott, the Rovers goalkeeper quickly down at his near post to beat away the winger’s blistering strike after 29 minutes.
Udoka Godwin-Malife was stopped in his tracks by Jack Simpson’s block tackle before Solanke was foiled as he attempted to take aim having been put through by Kilkenny’s clever pass.
Surman was well placed to prevent Rovers from taking the lead after a Dayle Grubb corner had been nodded back across goal by Farrend Rawson to Matty Stevens whose glancing header was blocked on the line by the Cherries midfielder.
Ibe blazed high into the Steve Fletcher Stand early in the second half before a double substitution on the hour saw Harry Wilson and Callum Wilson replaced by Joshua King and Ryan Fraser.
Rovers substitute Ebrima Adams tried his luck with a speculative 30-yarder which sailed over the crossbar before a shot from Taylor Allen was deflected for a corner.
King raced down the right flank, only for his low cross to cannon of a defender and into the arms of Wollacott as Solanke waited to pounce in the box.
Stacey went close to drawing first blood for the Cherries when his ferocious effort struck the base of the post and rolled across the line after 74 minutes.
Wollacott dived to his right to thwart King, the Cherries striker controlling Fraser’s precision pass and letting fly with a low left-footed strike which the Rovers goalkeeper did well to smother.
Mepham was in the right place at the right time to cut out a dangerous cross from Joseph Mills, the Cherries defender’s intervention leading to a corner.
And after Liam Kitching had met James Morton’s delivery, the Cherries were relieved to see his fierce drive fly past the post.
In the closing stages, Wollacott distinguished himself with a top-drawer save to keep out King’s bullet header after Fraser’s hanging cross had picked him out at the far post.
Phil Billing, on as a replacement for Kilkenny, saw his effort slip past the post in stoppage-time before Allen curled a shot narrowly wide at the opposite end.
Cherries’ appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears after King had gone to ground under a challenge before referee Dean Whitestone sounded the final whistle and the tie was settled on penalties.