Callum Wilson’s eleventh goal of the season secured a late 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion last night, sending AFC Bournemouth through to their first ever League Cup quarter final.
Eunan O’Kane’s second half opener for Bournemouth looked to have been squandered after substitute Georgios Samaras’ eighty-fifth minute shot was deflected off Tommy Elphick into his own net.
However, less than a minute later, top scorer Wilson ran clear to reinstate the Cherries lead, with a composed right-foot finish past Boaz Myhill.
Eddie Howe’s side faced a raft of late scares from the visitors, but held on to eliminate the Premier League side and record their fifth straight win in all competitions.
The victory was the second time in four days that the side created history, following a record-breaking 8-0 away win at Birmingham on Saturday, and wrapped up a week to remember for the Cherries.
With both teams making ten changes to their starting line-ups, the opening minutes failed to produce many clear-cut chances, with only Yann Kermorgant posing a threat to either of the goalkeepers.
But despite the lack of chances, Bournemouth asserted their dominance on the game as they settled into a well-structured system, with wingers Ryan Fraser and Junior Stanislas giving the Baggies defender’s problems.
Yousouff Mulumbu dictated all of West Brom’s play effectively, linking up well with his teammates in both defence and attack. Mulumbu also came close to opening a lead after sixteen minutes as his volley was well saved by Lee Camp.
With the scores level at the interval, it was Bournemouth who broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half with O’Kane slotting the ball home after a surging run from the impressive Stanislas.
Albion felt they should have had a penalty after Elphick seemingly handled the ball in the Bournemouth area, but the appeals were of no interest to referee Paul Tierney.
Alan Irvine turned to substitutes Samaras and Stephane Sessegnon for inspiration in the final third, and it almost proved immediately effective as the latter dragged a long-range effort just wide of Camp’s post.
Both managers then refreshed their attacking options, with Rantie and Sebastien Blanco being replaced by Wilson and Saido Berahino for the home and away side respectively, with Wilson showing his attacking prowess from the start, contributing to several attacks at Myhill’s goal.
For all of their hard work, Bournemouth looked as though they would have to resolve the game in extra time as West Brom equalised against the run of play after Samaras’ shot took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Elphick, looping over the helpless Camp.
But the Cherries responded immediately from the restart, as Wilson darted down the right before neatly finishing to the bottom left of Myhill’s goal, less than a minute after the Baggies had equalised.
The final minutes of the game saw Albion produce their best attacking spell as Chris Baird fired a free header over the crossbar from a well directed Berahino cross, while Camp was forced to fingertip a corner away to safety.
But the blowing of the final whistle brought a rapturous ovation from the packed Goldsands stadium, with the attention now falling upon the quarter final and the prospects of Wembley drifting closer.