After the Championship fixtures were released on Friday, we look at the five teams we’ve waited the longest to face again in league competition.
While we’ve already taken on plenty of the sides in the Premier League in recent seasons, and most of the our other 2020/21 competitors during our most recent Championship season, you have to turn the calendar back nearly a decade and half since our last league match with Bristol City.
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Below we’ve detailed the five sides we’ll be taking on in the upcoming campaign who we’ve waited the longest to renew acquaintances with.
26/12/06 Bristol City 2-2 AFC Bournemouth League One
The last time the two teams locked horns they were fighting battles at different ends of the third-tier table, though it was the relegation-threatened Cherries who seemed to have set up a crucial Boxing Day win on the road.
Brett Pitman’s early goal was added to by Marcus Browning just after the break with the third-bottom Cherries holding their crucial advantage over the third-top Robins going into the closing stages.
However, goals inside the final 16 minutes from Scott Murray and Lee Johnson – the latter manager at Ashton Gate until last month – saw the game end in a stalemate that helped neither side greatly ahead of the turn of the new year.
Both clubs had achieved their objective by season’s end though, Bournemouth ultimately reaching safety with five points to spare while City won promotion with a second-place finish.
27/1/09 AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Luton Town League Two
The Cherries and the Hatters were docked 17 and 30 points respectively at the start of the 2008/09 season, and while both teams had hauled themselves back to positive points by this late January fixture, they still remained ten and 19 points apiece adrift of the rest of the division.
On the day Danny Hollands took centre stage in front of 5,230 at Dean Court, first diverting Sam Parkin's header into his own net to give Luton the lead, then equalising himself on the half hour with a 20-yard strike.
Alan Connell hooked a late Kevin Gallen effort off the line to confirm the point for the Cherries, and with Eddie Howe installed as manager earlier in the month the Greatest Escape was on and by May would be achieved against the odds.
Most recently the two sides met again in January in the FA Cup, a 4-0 win for Bournemouth, but ahead of the next league clash differing fortunes saw the Hatters drop down out of the Football League before an impressive climb, while the Cherries rocketed in the opposite direction and five seasons in the Premier League.
2/1/12 AFC Bournemouth 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers League One
The Cherries started the new year in style and moved up to tenth in the League One table with a straightforward home win over the Chairboys.
Wes Thomas was in the headlines before and during the game as he celebrated the opener having made his loan move from Crawley Town permanent the day before the fixture.
The forward made the most of a defensive mix-up in the first half, with strike partner Michael Symes heading home a second just after the restart following a Marc Pugh corner.
Contending with a busy festive fixture list, manager Lee Bradbury’s chief concern post-match went beyond picking up the win on the day, saying: "For me the most disappointing thing is not winning the game 4-0. We had the chances to do so and we have got to kill teams off."
PRESTON NORTH END
16/2/13 Preston North End 2-0 AFC Bournemouth League One
In great form and top of the table as they ventured north to Deepdale with just one loss in the preceding 21 games.
That said, the Cherries and the odds were upset as North End, under the guidance of caretaker John Dreyer after Graham Westley’s midweek dismissal, claimed a 2-0 home win on a bobbly pitch.
Stuart Beavon and Bailey Wright scored in the first half as the hosts secured their first home win since September.
Disappointment for Eddie Howe’s Cherries and coming into the game off the back of five straight wins, the side was suddenly plunged into an unexpected slump that they struggled to get out of.
26/2/13 AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Coventry City League One
After their Deepdale defeat, Bournemouth were next pipped narrowly at home by Sheffield United before welcoming the Sky Blues the following Tuesday and suffering a similar fate.
Leon Best scored at the end of the first half and Carl Baker added a second late in the second as Bournemouth lost a third straight League One game, a slow spell that would soon stretch to five.
From holding a place at the summit, the Cherries were suddenly down in seventh, but the fifth loss, coming against Doncaster, was to be the side’s final defeat of the season.
Eight consecutive wins from then on re-energised the promotion push and it would finish with the Cherries’ elation to the Championship for just the second time come May.