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First team

Defeat sets up semi-final with Bees

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Goals from Will Forrester and Tommy Smith condemned AFC Bournemouth to defeat on the last day of the regulation season as the Cherries finished sixth in the Championship.

The Dorset club will now face Brentford in a two-legged play-off semi-final with the first game taking place at Vitality Stadium on Monday 17th May.

Jonathan Woodgate’s team will then head to west London for the second leg on Saturday 22nd May bidding to win a place in the Championship play-off final at Wembley seven days later.

Teenage debutant Forrester drew first blood for the Potters when he hooked home from close range following a corner from Jordan Thompson in the 36th minute.

And the visitors doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half when Smith found the bottom corner with a clinical finish past Asmir Begovic.

The Cherries found goalscoring chances hard to come by against Michael O’Neill’s team with a 21st clean sheet of the season matching a club record for Stoke.

Head coach Woodgate made no fewer than seven changes following the Cherries’ 1-0 defeat by Wycombe Wanderers.

Steve Cook, Lloyd Kelly, Adam Smith, Jefferson Lerma, Phil Billing, Arnaut Danjuma and Dom Solanke all returned to the starting line-up.

As the injury-hit Potters looked to make a fast start, Rabbi Matondo saw his shot from just inside the 18-yard box blocked by Solanke.

Matondo was then stopped in his tracks on the halfway line by Cook, the Cherries skipper collecting the game’s first booking after just five minutes.

A sweeping move in the seventh minute ended with Stoke defender Danny Batth deflecting Billing’s close-range effort around the post following good work by Kelly and Danjuma.

Lerma headed a corner from Brooks narrowly past the upright before the Cherries had a penalty appeal waved away after Danjuma had gone down in the box.
Despite getting in behind the Cherries defence, Stoke striker Jacob Brown was unable to direct his header towards goal after meeting a Sam Clucas cross.

Another penalty claim fell on deaf ears after Solanke’s fierce shot had struck the lower arm of Batth, referee David Webb deeming the handball unintentional.

Asmir Begovic saved comfortably after the lively Matondo had tried his luck from just inside the box, the Potters opening the scoring through Forrester in the 36th minute.
The defender was on hand to hook the ball home from around eight yards after Lerma had scuffed his intended clearance from Jordan Thompson’s corner.

As the Cherries went in search of an immediate response, Solanke fired wide from a tight angle after Adam Smith had picked him out down the left.

Cameron Carter-Vickers superbly blocked at the far post after Brown’s towering header from a Matondo centre had threatened to put the visitors 2-0 ahead on the stroke of half-time.

And from the resultant corner, again delivered by Thompson, Lerma was forced to clear off the line from Forrester’s header.

Batth received a yellow card for fouling Solanke early in the second half before the visitors doubled their lead seven minutes after the break.

Tommy Smith gave Begovic no chance when he drilled a right-foot shot into the bottom corner after fastening on to a slide-rule pass from Clucas.

Woodgate responded immediately by bringing Rodrigo Riquelme off the bench, the Atletico Madrid loan man replacing Ben Pearson.

Adam Davies was called into action in the 60th minute, the Stoke goalkeeper making a fine one-handed reaction save to keep out Solanke’s effort from Kelly’s low cross.

Batth threw himself in front of a Danjuma piledriver and John Obi Mikel blocked Solanke’s thunderous strike from distance.

Carter-Vickers did well to prevent Matondo going clear on goal before Danjuma’s free-kick from 25 yards flashed past the post, as did an effort from substitute Jack Stacey three minutes from time.

AFC Bournemouth: Begovic, A Smith (Stacey, 75), S Cook (Mepham, 69), Carter-Vickers, Kelly, Lerma, Pearson (Riquelme, 54), Danjuma, Billing (Long, 75), Brooks, Solanke.

Unused subs: Wilshere, Surridge, Rico, Anthony, Travers (g/k).

Booked: S Cook, Billing.

Stoke City: Davies, T Smith, Batth, Forrester, Norrington-Davies, Clucas, Obi Mikel, Thompson, Matondo (Norton, 90), Brown (Vokes, 90), Tymon.

Unused subs: Sparrow, Coates, Malone, Taylor, Jones, Macari, Bursik (g/k).

Booked: Batth.

Referee: David Webb.

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