AFC Bournemouth are all but in the Barclays Premier League following a convincing 3-0 victory against 10-man Bolton Wanderers at Dean Court on Monday night.
While Eddie Howe’s have not officially been promoted just yet, their superior goal difference compared to Middlesbrough means it would take an hugely unlikely set of events on the last day of the season to prevent them from joining Watford in England’s top division next season.
Goals from Marc Pugh and Matt Ritchie and Callum Wilson sealed an emphatic win meaning the next fixture at the Goldsands Stadium is likely to be in the Premier League.
The home side came into the game knowing that a win would be enough to take them to within touching distance of promotion and they started the game like a runaway train, going close to an opener after just two minutes. Wilson managed to shrug off a tame challenge but was denied by a terrific save from Adam Bogdan.
The Bolton stopper them proceeded to make three further top class saves to keep the scores level, with the best coming from Ritchie’s effort. The Bournemouth star shot from the edge of the box but the Hungarian managed to get a hand to it despite initially going in the other direction.
Still, the hosts always score at home and six minutes before the break Pugh broke the deadlock with a stunning finish as he found space at the back post and crashed an effort off the post and into the net.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Ritchie rounded off a neat passing move to send the home fans into delirium. The Cherries fans were clear that their team was on the verge of promotion – their attacking prowess over the course of the season means superior their goal difference effectively counts as an extra point margin over Middlesbrough.
Yann Kermorgant could afford to spurn a great chance to make it 3-0 in the second half after Trotters defender Dorian Dervite conceded a penalty for a foul on Wilson. Dervite was shown a red card, but French midfielder Kermorgant could only blaze the effort from 12 yards well over the bar.
A few minutes later it was three. Wilson got on the scoresheet with his 20th league goal of the season, brilliantly rolling his marker before slotting the ball past Bogdan to round off an impressive evening for the home side.
The Poppies saw out the remaining minutes with relative ease and will travel to the Valley on Saturday for a clash against Charlton Athletic, knowing they will clinch the Championship title should they better Watford’s result against Sheffield Wednesday.