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First team

A magnificent seven for Woodgate's class of 2021

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Jonathan Woodgate became only the third man to lead the Cherries to seven successive league wins following their 4-1 victory at Millwall on Wednesday.

Head coach Woodgate joined John Bond and Eddie Howe as the class of 2021 moved a step closer to penning a new chapter in the club’s record books.

Bond’s team’s seven on the trot came at the start of the 1970/71 season when the Cherries sealed their first promotion since joining the Football League in 1923.

Howe’s heroes of 2012/13 went one better when eight consecutive wins towards the end of the season saw them promoted to the Championship.

Ahead of Woodgate’s men bidding to match the current record when they host Brentford on Saturday, afcb.co.uk looks back on the three magnificent sevens.

1970/71

Seven consecutive wins at the start of the season paved the way for the Cherries’ first promotion since they joined the Football League in 1923.

Having been relegated the previous season, chairman Harold Walker dismissed manager Freddie Cox and replaced him with John Bond.

Bond, who had worked wonders to keep Gillingham up at the expense of the Cherries in 1969/70, made some shrewd signings.

He brought in goalkeeper Fred Davies from Cardiff, paid £10,000 to West Ham for Keith Miller and signed winger Tony Scott for a bargain £4,000 from Torquay.

Denis Allen, whose son Martin and nephews Bradley, Clive and Paul would all go on to play professionally, joined from Reading.

The quartet all started as the Cherries opened their Division Four campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Aldershot at the Recreation Ground.

However, Allen opened his goal account for the club in a 2-1 win over Grimsby Town at Dean Court, adding to an own goal from Mariners’ defender Dave Worthington, brother of Frank Worthington.

Allen and Ted MacDougall were on target in a 2-0 victory at Newport County before SuperMac bagged the only goal to see off Peterborough at Dean Court.

MacDougall’s double, including a penalty, saw the Cherries make it four wins on the trot as Stockport were beaten 2-0 before John Sainty and Terry Gulliver scored in a 2-1 victory at Southend.

A sixth successive victory was recorded after MacDougall had put Colchester to the sword by plundering all four goals in a 4-1 win at Dean Court.

And a new club record was set when MacDougall bagged the only goal to see off Workington, a match which was marred by John Meredith breaking his leg, an injury which ended his playing career.

MacDougall finished the season as the country’s leading goalscorer with 49 as Bond’s team were promoted as runners-up to Notts County.

2012/13

The achievements of Bond’s class of 1971 were eclipsed when Eddie Howe’s troops set a new club record of eight successive league wins on their way to securing promotion to the Championship.

A poor start to what turned out to be a tumultuous campaign in the club’s history saw the Cherries in the League One relegation zone when Howe returned from Burnley in October 2012.

However, a 15-match unbeaten run in the league propelled Howe’s team to the fringes of the play-off places before five wins on the bounce took them to the top of the table in early February.

But the alarm bells sounded when five defeats on the spin – against Preston, Sheffield United, Coventry, Leyton Orient and Doncaster – saw the Cherries slip to seventh place, ten points off top spot.

The tide turned in no uncertain terms when the Cherries stopped the rot thanks to Brett Pitman’s first-half penalty against Stevenage.

Pitman’s spot-kick earned the visitors to Broadhall Way a 1-0 win in a match which saw Boro defender Darius Charles sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a challenge on Harry Arter, the incident sparking confrontations on the pitch and touchline.

The Cherries made it back-to-back 1-0 wins when Pitman netted to sink Oldham with Ryan Allsop saving Jose Baxter’s tame penalty at Boundary Park.

Arter, Matt Ritchie and Matt Tubbs joined Pitman on the scoresheet in a 4-1 victory over Bury before the Channel Islander notched the only goal to see off both Colchester and Scunthorpe.

Ritchie’s double and another effort from Pitman saw the Cherries chalk up a 3-1 home win over Notts County before the previous record was matched thanks to a 3-0 triumph over Shrewsbury.

In scoring twice against the Shrews, Pitman netted in seven games in succession, a tally which quickly became eight as the Cherries sealed promotion after defeating Carlisle 3-1.

A first Cherries goal for Steve Cook was added to by Arter and Pitman’s 19th of the season as Howe’s team went on to finish as runners-up to Doncaster.

2020/21

After letting slip the lead and losing 3-2 at home to Barnsley, the Cherries found themselves outside the top six and five points adrift of the play-off places with ten games remaining.

And with third-placed Swansea City the next visitors to Vitality Stadium, it looked like it could take something special to reignite their promotion push – step forward Phil Billing.

The Danish midfielder’s stunning strike, which was nominated for the Championship goal of the month for March, paved the way for an emphatic 3-0 victory over the Swans.

Billing’s memorable ninth-minute opener was added to when Dominic Solanke’s header struck Joel Latibeaudiere who was credited with an own goal to make it 2-0 at the break.

Arnaut Danjuma, who had netted three goals in the four previous games, maintained his rich vein of form to complete the scoring as the Cherries made ground on the top six.

Although exiting the FA Cup to Southampton in the quarter-final was a disappointment, the Cherries bounced back immediately by registering a convincing 3-1 win over Middlesbrough in their next game.

Billing again drew first blood for the hosts and was joined on the scoresheet by Jefferson Lerma and Solanke as the Cherries triumphed against head coach Jonathan Woodgate’s hometown club.

Goals from Billing and Danjuma against Blackburn saw the Cherries make it back-to-back wins over Easter as they closed the gap on sixth-placed Reading to just one point with a game in hand.

And although Danjuma’s lightning strike after 23 seconds was quickly pegged back by Matty James, further goals from the Dutchman, David Brooks and Solanke saw the Cherries ease home against Coventry.

A dominant first-half showing against Huddersfield saw the Cherries reach the break leading thanks to goals from Billing and Solanke with Jonathan Hogg’s header proving a consolation as Woodgate’s team ran out 2-1 victors.

Leaders Norwich became the Cherries’ sixth victims after they had taken the lead through Emi Buendia and had defender Dimitrios Giannoulis sent off in the first 17 minutes at Carrow Road.

Woodgate’s men were in seventh heaven when first-half goals from Billing, Danjuma and Brooks had given them a 3-0 half-time lead at Millwall.

Solanke added to his two assists when he joined Danjuma on 15 goals for the season by completing the scoring as the visitors triumphed 4-1 at The Den.

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