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Report: Millwall 0 AFC Bournemouth 2

28 December 2014

Full-time from The Den

Table-topping AFC Bournemouth showed their promotion credentials as they eased to a comfortable 2-0 win against Millwall.

A 32nd-minute penalty from Yann Kermorgant put The Cherries ahead before Harry Arter fired home a second - his fifth goal in successive games - three minutes before the break.

Any hope The Lions had of repeating the dramatic fightback of last month at the Goldsands Stadium, when late goals from Ed Upson and Magaye Gueye secured a 2-2 draw, disappeared when Shaun Williams was shown a straight red card with 11 minutes remaining for retaliation after being thrown to the ground by Callum Wilson.

Den boss Ian Holloway had demanded a response from his players following the Boxing Day trouncing at Norwich City and handed a Championship debut to 18-year-old defender Sid Nelson, one of seven changes to the side.

Along with Nelson, Andy Wilkinson and Scott Malone returned to a new-look defence with Jimmy Abdou, Scott McDonald, Martyn Woolford and Lee Gregory also in the starting XI.

For centre half Nelson, it was certainly a baptism of fire against a free-scoring Cherries side that have averaged over 2.26 goals per game this season.

Little could Nelson have expected to start the game at centre half, play a chunk of the second-half at right-back before ending up as the lone central defender for the last 11 minutes following Williams' dismissal.

The positive performance of Nelson, who turns 19 on 1st January, was one of the plus points on an afternoon that saw Millwall slide to their fourth successive defeat at The Den, and remain just three points above the dreaded drop zone but having played a game more than Wigan and Brighton.

It was Nelson who had the first half-chance of the game, but he steered Lee Martin's cross from a set-piece wide of the target.

Back came Eddie Howe's side though, and The Cherries - unbeaten in 13 Championship matches - went close to breaking the deadlock when Matt Ritchie crossed for Callum Wilson, who guided his header wide from just six yards out.

However Bournemouth took the lead when Charlie Daniels went to ground under a challenge from Martin right on the edge of the penalty area; referee David Coote deemed that the offence had taken place inside the area and up stepped Kermorgant to convert the spot-kick just beyond the reach of keeper David Forde.

The visitors doubled their tally just before the interval when Wilson, who initially looked offside, picked out Arter with a neat through-ball, and the midfielder made no mistake as he tucked home into the bottom right corner.

Holloway brought on Ricardo Fuller at the start of the second-half and The Lions had a great chance to reduce the deficit 10 minutes after the break when Gregory was a whisker away from connecting with Abdou's deft dinked through ball. A goal then would undoubtedly have breathed some much needed belief into both the team and home supporters, who did their best to get behind the team throughout.

Former Lions loanee Adam Smith could have put Bournemouth 3-0 ahead on 59 minutes, but an excellent block from Nelson averted the danger.

Sub Dan Gosling drilled a 16-yarder wide of the left hand post and Wilson guided a header straight into the hands of keeper Forde as Howe's men continued to ask questions of the home defence.

Despite showing plenty of determination against the south coast outfit that will surely be in the promotion shake-up come May, The Lions hopes of clawing their way back were shattered when Williams was red-carded for his retaliation to Wilson's reaction following his initial foul, which earned the Cherries' striker a yellow card.

There was to be no way back with Millwall's best chance late on when Magaye Gueye and Fuller broke clear, initially in a two on one situation, but the Cherries were so quick to regroup within seconds they had eight men behind the ball and the opportunity was lost.

Millwall: Forde, Wilkinson (Fuller, 46mins), Shittu (Dunne, 67mins), Nelson, Malone, Williams, Woolford, Abdou, McDonald, Martin (Gueye, 56mins), Gregory. Subs not used: King, Beevers, Upson, Easter.
Bookings: Shittu (12mins), Forde (34mins), Wilkinson (45+1min), McDonald (61mins) 
Sending off: Williams (79mins)

AFC Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Fraser, 88mins), Arter, Surman, Smith (Pugh, 69mins), Wilson, Kermorgant (Gosling, 58mins). Subs not used: Camp, Cargill, Pitman, Rantie.
Bookings: Surman (33mins), Smith (51mins), Wilson (79mins) 
Scorers: Kermorgant (32mins, pen), Arter (42mins)

Ref: D Coote
Att: 10,407 (away 1,278)

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