Bournemouth 1-0 Nottingham Forest (EFL Championship) 03.05.22
A dominant second half performance by AFC Bournemouth ensured that it was they, not Nottingham Forest who gain automatic promotion to the Premier League, the Reds falling to a late winner by substitute Kiefer Moore, will now have to go through the painful route of playoffs if they are to second chance their long-awaited return to the promised land.
Whilst the home side had the lions share of possession in the first half without ever really breaching the yellow and orange wall of McKenna, Cook and Worrall in front of Goalkeeper Brice Samba, the big moments came from Forest as first Sam Surridge hit the bar on nine minutes when put through by Djed Spence. Surridge in the win at Swansea on Saturday scored from exactly the same position but this time, instead of curling with his right foot towards the far corner of the net, the former Cherries frontman hit left footed and onto the bar through the hands of Travers in the host’s goal.
Brennan Johnson was a thorn in the side of Bournemouth and he had a couple of opportunities to put Forest in the lead, the best of those saw his low shot on target cleared off the line before a few minutes later curling straight into the hands of Travers after good work by Spence.
Forest might even have had a penalty just four minutes before the break but as Surridge was brought down trying to round the goalkeeper, he was adjudged wrongly, by the assistant referee, to be offside.
Scott Parker’s men started the second half very much on the front foot and had their first big opportunity of the game five minutes in, Dominic Solanke shot low into the side netting to the relief of the diving Samba in Forest’s goal.
Continued pressure from the home side resulted in a couple of opportunities off target as Scott Parker threw on striker Kiefer Moore in place of Jefferson Lerma who looked to have tweaked his hamstring.
On 65 Sam Billing then got the better of Ryan Yates to chase down a ball before Samba came to the rescue. Moore than shot over the bar after cutting inside faced up against Joe Worrall.
As Bournemouth peppered and continued to press, Moore than played in Anthony who’s shot was palmed away by Samba for a corner, the home side edging nearer to a goal during a dominant period of the game that stretched Forest to some desperate defending.
Forest did have a half chance when Garner played into Yates inside the area who couldn’t take the ball in his stride but that was the only real threat of a poor second half going forward, Bournemouth eventually taking the lead when Zemura was fouled on the edge of the area by McKenna and Billing faked to shoot the resulting free kick over the wall, instead playing the ball to Kiefer Moore who fired home from inside the area unmarked.
Late drama would see Forest press and in the closing seconds Surridge sent a low ball across the face of the goal, brilliantly cleared under his posts by Lloyd Kelly. Brice Samba, up from the resulting corner then flicked his heal at the inswinging cross but over the bar, before the whistle went and the Vitality Stadium erupted.
Still opportunity for Forest to quickly get over their disappointment and focus for their playoff matches ahead, fingers crossed the Reds could still be playing the Cherries in the league next season. The better team on the night won, not a great performance by Forest, but the strides taken by the club under Steve Cooper are still humungous, Forest will be the side nobody wants, when it comes to the playoff draw.
The small matter of Hull City away on Saturday lies next, then even more drama and agony lies potentially ahead.
Bournemouth: Travers, Smith, Phillips, Kelly, Zemura, Lerma (Moore 59), Cook, Christie (Pearson 88), Billing, Anthony (Mepham 89), Solanke.
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Worrall, Cook (Lolley 84), McKenna, Spence, Garner, Yates, Colback (Laryea 84), Zinckernagel (Mighten 84), Johnson, Surridge.
Venue: Vitality Stadium (10,563)
*Main image @NFFC Philip Zinckernagel in action couldn’t save Forest from defeat.