Hayter double leaves Bury bereft

AFC Bournemouth 3 Bury 1 <i>Bournemouth win 3-1 on agg</i>
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The Independent Football

With Southampton due to contest Saturday's FA Cup final and Portsmouth promoted as champions to the Premiership it has already been a good season in this corner of the south coast.

With Southampton due to contest Saturday's FA Cup final and Portsmouth promoted as champions to the Premiership it has already been a good season in this corner of the south coast.

Bournemouth – relegated from the Second Division last term – enhanced their dream of making a swift return via the play-offs by sweeping aside Bury with great vigour in this semi-final, second leg last night.

The home side, whose neat passing contrasted with Bury's more direct approach, twice went close before Garreth O'Connor put the Cherries on top with a powerful shot from 15 yards after Steve Fletcher's initial effort was charged down.

Bury struggled to get out of their own half as Bournemouth went in search of a second. The pressure paid off eight minutes before the break when the dangerous Wade Elliott whipped over a cross from the right flank, which James Hayter converted.

"Must do better" would have been the gist of Bury's half-time talk, and their player-manager, Andy Preece, brought himself on in a bid to shake things up.

His powerful presence up front gave the visitors fresh impetus and Neil Moss had to be sharp off his line to deny Colin Cramb after a Preece through ball.

With the visitors' renewed sense of purpose, and Bournemouth pushing full throttle for a third to kill the game, the match took on all the blood and thunder of a crucial cup tie. Which to all intents and purposes it was.

Bournemouth have played under the cloud of threatened financial meltdown over recent seasons, but a silver lining appeared on the hour when Hayter grabbed his second of the evening, spinning free on the left edge of penalty area before planting a firm shot past Glynn Garner.

The game was safe and the home fans started to celebrate. Or so they thought.

But Bury – and Preece – had other ideas. Twice they had beaten Bournemouth in the league during the regular season, and they weren't about to let the chance of a trip to the Millennium Stadium disappear without a fight.

It was the 35-year-old Preece, a veteran of top flight football with Crystal Palace in the mid-1990s, who gave his side a glimmer of hope five minutes later when he pulled wide on the right to receive the ball and roll a shot calmly into the Bournemouth net.

AFC Bournemouth: Moss; Young, Purches, C Fletcher, S Fletcher, Hayter, Elliott (Stock, 89), Cummings, Browning, Gulliver, O'Connor. Substitutes not used: Stewart, Thomas, McDonald, Holmes.

Bury: Garner; Connell, Woodthorpe, Nelson, Redmond (Preece, 45), Swailes, Forrest (Nugent, 45), Billy, Newby, Cramb, Clegg. Substitutes not used: Dunfield, Unsworth, O'Shaughnessy.

Referee: M Fletcher (Worcestershire).

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