Brett Pitman scored a hat-trick, two via the penalty spot as Crewe Alexandra were beaten 3-1 at Dean Court this afternoon. In between his two penalties, he showed his goal poaching talent when tucking home a cross from Josh McQuoid in the second period to make it 2-0.
For much of it, Crewe had been in the game, and substitute Ryan Colclough gave us a real chance of leaving the south coast with something when he slid home a cross from Mathias Pogba with a little over 15 minutes left.
A second penalty award for Abdul Osman’s apparent challenge on Bournemouth’s sub Wes Fogden sealed the points for the Cherries, but the Alex team and management were clearly not too impressed with the officials, as the Bournemouth player seemed to fall into Osman more than anything. Pitman drilled it home for leave with the matchball.
Due to an illness to regular full-back Matt Tootle and an untimely ankle injury to his possible stand-in Gregor Robertson, there was a first full start for Jon Guthrie at left-back. Guthrie’ s only other appearance for the former Pewsey Vale youngster was a brief outing as a late substitute against Swindon Town.
With Alan Martin struggling with a foot injury, there was a recall to the substitutes’ bench for young Ben Garratt as deputy for the senior Steve Phillips.
Due to a potential clash of colours, Crewe Alexandra had to wear an all-white strip for the trip to the South Coast.
The home side forced a corner in the opening seconds of the game but Harry Arter couldn’t keep his shot down as Brett Pitman’s cross dropped invitingly to him inside the box.
Crewe began to settle into the game and were producing some good delivery into the Bournemouth penalty area. One cross from Byron Moore nearly dropped to Brad Inman at the far post and Max Clayton had a flick header deflected behind for a corner.
Eddie Howe’s side took the lead on seven minutes via the penalty spot after Adam Dugdale was dubiously adjudged to have tripped Marc Pugh as he tried to make his way into the box. The Bournemouth players didn’t exactly appeal for any offence and the play continued, only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside. Crewe prepared to take a free-kick but referee Iain Williamson overruled his assistant and awarded a penalty. Cue the Crewe protests, who clearly felt there had been no contact from Dugdale or anyone else.
After a short delay, Pitman stepped up to send Steve Phillips the wrong way, as it clipped the post on its way in.
After the initial set-back, Crewe continued to try and play their football in the Bournemouth half of the pitch and Moore clipped an inch perfect cross that Clayton headed straight at Shwan Jalal on 13 minutes. Inman also dragged a shot wide of the mark from the edge of the box. Pogba likewise with his shot deflected behind for a corner.
At the other end, Crewe escaped a chance at the far post for Josh McQuoid, who couldn’t quite his header on target to really test Phillips.
A short corner routine from the Alex on 26 minutes created a bit of space for Max Clayton but his powerful shot was blocked. If it had managed to get through, it would have certainly forced Jalal into his first meaningful save of the afternoon.
Five minutes later, a flowing passing move from Bournemouth saw them work some space for full-back Simon Francis down the Crewe left hand side. His clever pass inside into McQuoid allowed him to quickly whip in a cross and after Pitman had stolen a yard on Harry Davis, his flick header just cleared Phillips’ far post.
A forceful run across the edge of the Bournemouth penalty area from Pogba, allowed him to set-up Murphy for a shot, but he dragged it a yard wide of the left hand post.
At the other end, another promising run from Moore presented Clayton with a half chance, but once again the Bournemouth defenders got to him quickly to apply a block.
In the final minute of the first half, Guthrie’s little flick over Harry Arter invited a sliding challenge and the Bournemouth player accepted his booking.
Bournemouth understandably thought they would be going in at the interval 2-0 ahead when Pugh sent Lewis Grabban through on goal, but after half rounding Phillips, he somehow screwed his shot into the side netting. The majority of the Stadium thought it was in.
The second half started with Grabban cutting a low cross behind everyone and then Kelvin Mellor heading another of his crosses away from danger. In attack, a searching cross looking for the run of Pogba was just a little long.
Pitman had another presentable chance to double the home side’s advantage but he curled his effort well wide.
On 52 minutes, Crewe broke up the Bournemouth play to mount a swift counter attack. Moore intelligently released Inman to allow him to carry the ball into the opposition box but he couldn’t keep his curling effort down enough. Moments later, the Bournemouth goalkeeper had a heart in the mouth moment when he seemed to slip under foot with Pogba hovering.
A mistake from Osman then allowed O’Kane to rob possession from him to lay on another shooting chance for Pitman but again he couldn’t keep his shot down. Play was pulled back and Osman was booked for the initial foul on O’Kane.
Just before the hour mark, a run in behind from Clayton resulted in a corner for the Alex. At the far post, Pogba perhaps should have gone directly for goal with his head but elected instead to head across the six-yard box and look for his team-mate Osman, but he couldn’t get enough on it to register an effort on goal.
At the other end, a Francis cross was headed into the gloves of Phillips by the lively Pitman.
Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis made a double change on 63 minutes with the fresher legs of Ryan Colclough and AJ Leitch-Smith replacing Inman and Clayton.
The pace of Grabban again tested the Crewe back-line but on this occasion, Phillips did well to stand firm and save with his legs. The second goal duly arrived though on 66 minutes, when McQuoid pinched possession from the boot of Guthrie to lay on a simply tap-in for Pitman.
Pitman soon had a chance of a hat-trick but on this occasion, he tamely shot straight at Phillips; mid-drift. A good passing move from the Railwaymen involving Mellor and Pogba gave substitute Colclough a sight at goal, but he could only drag his shot across goal.
Bournemouth should really have ended the match as a contest on 71 minutes when Phillips could only palm a cross from Simon Francis into the air and the diving Harry Arter should really have placed his header into the unguarded net. He didn’t need telling that it was a chance to make the final 20 minutes a lot more comfortable.
That was made even more uncomfortable just a couple of minutes later when Colclough slid in at the far post to turn in a cross from Pogba. The powerful striker burst through down the left and his low delivery was just too inviting for Colclough, who just about applied the finishing touch to register his first goal at senior level.
Bournemouth quickly made a substitution of their own with Wes Fogden replacing McQuoid. He was instantly involved in the play when going down under a challenge from Osman and Bournemouth had their second penalty of the afternoon. Pitman stepped up again to drill home his hat-trick. Crewe had been clearly unhappy with the officials all afternoon.
It was to be his last contribution of the afternoon as he was replaced at the restart for Richard Hughes. In the dying minutes, Grabban once forced a good save from the buiser Phillips and in stoppage time, Dan Seabourne did well to take a header away from the well placed Pogba.