One of the most potentially unlikely stories of 2015 – Bournemouth ascending to the Premier League – looked perfectly feasible yesterday as the Championship leaders extended their unbeaten record to 14 games since September, with an 11th victory in that time.
Riding higher than at any time in their history, a club who were close to the Conference five years ago and in administration the year before now sit four points clear of Ipswich Town, who do not play until tomorrow. They are also the country’s highest scorers, extending that total to 54 with two goals in ten minutes before the interval by Yann Kermogant, from a penalty, and Harry Arter.
It seemed all the less credible that Millwall should have recovered from a 2-0 deficit to draw at Dean Court only last month. The impressive Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said his team had learnt from that and given a convincing performance here “without being at our very best”. Admitting that their current position was beyond expectations, he insisted on not looking any further ahead, while warning off any potential suitors for him . “I’m very happy here and we’re in a great position to challenge,” he said.
The contrast could hardly be greater with Millwall, who, after two wins in 19 games, will be in the bottom three if Wigan beat Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow. Ian Holloway made seven changes to the side beaten 6-1 at Norwich but the visiting goalkeeper Artur Boruc was not required to make a save and the outcome was obvious well before Millwall’s Shaun Williams was sent off ten minutes from the end for stamping on Callum Wilson’s foot.
His bad temper was reflected by that time in the stands. The home crowd had stuck with their team for an hour or so, taking their anger out on the officials, but as the second half wore on the mood turned. “Holloway, call it a day now,” was one of the more polite suggestions.
“We need some new recruits and I’m sure my chairman will help me because we’ve got to stop the rot,” Holloway said.
Lee Martin claimed in vain that his challenge on Charlie Daniels in the 32nd minute had been outside the penalty area, before Kermorgant drove in the penalty. The protests were even more furious before the second goal, but replays proved that Wilson was not offside before crossing for midfielder Arter to turn and score his fifth goal in as many games.
Millwall Forde; Wilkinson, Shittu, Nelson, Malone; Williams, Abdou, Martin, McDonald; Woolford, Gregory. Subs: Fuller (Wilkinson, 45), Gueye (Martin, 56), Dunne (Shittu, 67).
Bournemouth Boruc; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Surman, Arter, Smith; Kermorgant, Wilson. Subs: Gosling (Kermorgant, 58), Pugh (Smith, 69), Fraser (Ritchie, 88).
Referee D Coote (Nottinghamshire).Reuse content