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First Team

Wilshere & King ensure FA Cup progress


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth beat Crawley Town 2-1 in the Emirates FA Cup to confirm their place in the fifth round for the fifth time in their history.

After a dominant opening in which Philip Billing struck the upright, the Cherries had the goal their play deserved when Jack Wilshere swept home following a flowing move, his first goal for the club coming in his first game in the competition since his winning role in the 2015 final at Wembley. 

Chances for a second came without being taken ahead of the break, Wilshere denied only by a terrific close-range Glenn Morris save after the sides had changed ends.

Tom Nichols pulled the visitors level against the run of play when he put the ball home from six yards, though parity didn't last long with Joshua King striking low to restore the hosts' advantage.

Bournemouth were unable to turn their pressure into further goals but saw the game out to confirm their place in the fifth round and a trip to Premier League Burnley.  

Manager Jason Tindall named starting line-up, Wilshere in from the off for the first time since signing for the Cherries earlier this month.

The tie got started at Vitality Stadium under the torrential rainstorm that had washed over the town throughout Tuesday and leading to a heavier pitch than normal - though the Cherries still started on the front foot.

An Arnaut Danjuma dribble won the hosts a corner that Steve Cook contorted to meet but headed over, the thrust continuing with two Billing efforts that were both blocked by defenders.

Moments later, a third chance then arrived for the Dane from a corner, the midfielder's header this time repelled only by the post, with 'keeper Morris beaten.

At the other end, Asmir Begovic's attention was tested at the end of Crawley's first forward foray, the Bosnian down sharply to save well from Ashley Nadesan's powered strike from an angle.

Lewis Cook fired off target from range, Danjuma soon laying a pass through for Diego Rico, who hit the side netting, the Cherries continuing to suggest the opener could be incoming, a scenario suggested at again when David Brooks bent a shot just the wrong side of the upright.

The opener did finally arrive midway through the half, Wilshere finishing with class for his first goal in Bournemouth colours in his 29th appearance.

Danjuma drove into space towards the left side of the area, playing low into King who intelligently flicked first time to Wilshere. Without taking a touch the midfielder swished the ball confidently home from 19 yards, the shot swerving away from the 'keeper.

David Brooks had two bites at the cherry but was unable to find a second, Danjuma and King exchanging intimate passes in the area, the Norwegian's low centre desperately cut out as the home side target a second ahead of the interval.

The rain still heavy for the restart, there were no changes for Tindall's side who soon re-engaged with their goal hunt.

Steve Cook headed goalwards from a set piece, the ball ricocheting to Wilshere whose point-blank strike was brilliantly parried by Morris, the Crawley 'keeper up quickly to push away King's follow up and keep his side within touching distance in the tie.

King expertly turned and drove in a low shot that Morris dived to gather, though there was a moment of worry in defence when Begovic atoned for his own error by blocking from Nichols.

The same Crawley man was at the heart of the action again as he tumbled under Lloyd Kelly's attentions in the box, referee Andre Mariner booking Nichols for attempting to win the spot kick.

Seconds later Nichols did have a decisive say as he pounced unmarked at the back post to convert Josh Wright's flick on and give his side an equaliser that had seemed unlikely.

Wilshere had a shot at a second when he took aim from Billing's squared ball, his attempt too close to Morris.

The home pressure told and the Cherries re-established their lead when Danjuma drifted across the face of the area and King ploughed home into the bottom corner from the Dutchman's pass, the striker registering his third goal in the Emirates FA Cup already this season.

Adam Smith and Dominic Solanke were introduced from the bench and the full-back soon tested Morris when he ran onto a loose ball and tried his luck.

A rapid counter allowed King to slide in a low shot that Morris sprawled to save, the same player next turning astutely and forcing the 'keeper into yet more action, though the sealing third goal still wouldn't arrive.

It was a similar story when Steve Cook leaped and seemed certain to register when up for a corner, his header instead wide of the target inside the final ten minutes.

Begovic caught a goalbound header as Crawley looked to take the game into extra time, but at the end of six minutes of added time the Cherries had their win to enable them to begin planning their fixture at Turf Moor in the next round.

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