Report: Morecambe 1-2 AFC Bournemouth
- Peter Bankes
Goals from Max Gradel and Marc Wilson see the Cherries progress to the second round of the EFL Cup.
293 Cherries fans made the 600 mile round trip and were rewarded as goals from Max Gradel and a wonder strike from Marc Wilson, on his full debut since resigning for the club, earned Eddie Howe’s men passage into the third round.
Simon Francis was the only player who started at West Ham United on Sunday to be involved, while new signings Brad Smith and Marc Wilson handed their first starts since joining the club this summer.
The Cherries were superior in the opening exchanges and got the opener after just eight minutes. A lovely move saw Francis - from right-back - feed Gradel who took a touch and lashed a precise effort off the left hand post and in from the edge of the box.
But just eight minutes later, the hosts found themselves an equaliser when a long throw was glanced into the path of Stockton, who poked a composed finished past Adam Federici into the bottom right corner from six yards.
Despite being drawn level, the Cherries' dominance continued as Lewis Grabban glanced a header narrowly wide and Barry Roche had to be alert to make an excellent double save to deny Benik Afobe’s low effort, before getting to his feet to deny Gradel the rebound.
With seconds remaining before the break though, the Cherries survived a scare as Tom Barkhuizen rattled the inside of the post from in the area.
But eight minutes after the interval, the visitors regained the lead when a corner was cleared and the ball fell to Marc Wilson, who received the ball 25 yards out and rifled a low drive which flew into the bottom corner.
The defender’s sumptuous strike - his first goal since October 2012 – silenced the home support but they were on their feet for the final 20 minutes as Jim Bentley's side put in a spirited display in an attempt to notch an equaliser.
Marc Pugh came on for Junior Stanislas on the hour mark, the latter's first action since last season, before Lys Mousset made his full Cherries debut, replacing Lewis Grabban.
Afobe could have given the Cherries a third goal, as he latched onto a stray back pass, but the striker tried to round goalkeeper Roche and the stopper stood firm to get a strong palm to the ball to clear the danger.
But into added time, the Cherries were close to going to extra time twice, as first Ryan Edwards' header from ten-yards nicked the top of the crossbar, before the defender forced a wonderful save from Federici with a strike from distance.
That was the final action though as the visitors earned their spot in the fourth round with a well earned victory.