Bournemouth 3 Bolton 0 (Half-time 2-0)
Bournemouth effectively joined Watford as the two automatically promoted teams from the Championship last night. Mathematically speaking they can still be caught by Middlesbrough, but their goal difference is streets ahead of the side lying third in the table. Eddie Howe's side blitzed Bolton 3-0 at the Goldsands Stadium to cement their place in the top two, as the Championship enters the final week of fixtures.
After both Middlesbrough and Norwich City had faltered at the weekend, the Cherries knew that victory against Bolton would all but seal their promotion to the #Premier League. It would put them three points ahead of Boro with just one game remaining. With a goal difference that was already 16 better than their closest rivals, it was worth an extra point to the south-coast side.
Bournemouth left little to chance against Bolton. They were the better side throughout, ably showing why they deserve to be in with the big boys next season. Bolton's defence didn't know which way to turn as the league's most potent attack ripped into them.
It was 2-0 by half-time and would have been more but for some tremendous goalkeeping by Hungarian Adam Bogdan. Even he was powerless though to prevent a neat swivel and shot by Marc Pugh on 39 minutes putting the home side deservedly ahead. The game was done and dusted when Matt Ritchie added the second just before the interval.
Home fans celebrated throughout the second-half, as they understood the comfortable position they were in. Bogdan continued to do his best to keep his side in the match with a string of fine saves. His Bolton teammates offered little threat at the other end though.
The home side expected a third goal from the penalty spot 20 minutes from time. Dorian Dervite was sent off for Bolton as he pulled down Callum Wilson in the area. The usually precise Yann Kermorgant fired the spot kick high over the bar though. It mattered not, as the ten men did go three behind on 78 minutes. Wilson cleverly spun and shot in one movement to leave Bogdan with no chance.
The fans can now look forward to mixing with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and the rest next season. An estimated £100 million windfall from their promotion looks likely. It is all a far cry from just seven years ago, when the club almost went out of business. The fans have much to thank 37-year-old Howe for in their transition to where they are now. However, they should also pat themselves on the back, after providing much needed funds themselves to keep the club afloat. #FootballBarring the unthinkable, Middlesbrough and Norwich will enter the lottery of the play-offs. As things stand their likely opponents make interesting reading. Boro may have to play a two-legged tie against Derby County. Current Derby manager Steve McClaren started his managerial career at the Boro. Norwich could face two potentially explosive matches against their arch East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town. The regular season is not quite yet over though, but surely a 20-goal turnaround is impossible…or is it?