YOU just can’t keep Ched Evans out of the headlines, with the striker being involved in both goals as Sheffield United, watched by several Santas in the crowd, won on the South Coast.
In terms of reputation and prestige, today’s final League One fixture before Christmas appeared something of a mismatch.
But despite the volume of recognisable talent at his disposal, United manager Danny Wilson spent the build-up warning a trip here was anything but routine.
A clinically constructed move involving Quinn and Williamson nearly carved apart the hosts’ defence as early as the second minute.
But, barely three minutes later, Wilson’s appeared to have got his prediction wildly wrong when United swept into a fifth minute lead.
They remained in front at the interval and, barring some brief flashes of promise from Sheringham, Symes and Pugh, seemed pretty much in control.
Bournemouth might have started the game languishing in mid-table but Sheffield Wednesday, Preston North End and most recently Huddersfield Town are among the notable scalps they have collected since hostilities resumed in August.
Indeed, influential defender Adam Barrett told the local newspaper last night that Lee Bradbury’s men are capable of mounting a promotion challenge if they can improve results on home soil.
Russ Wilcox, previously Brian Laws’ assistant at Hillsborough, has joined Bournemouth’s backroom staff in an effort to help them do exactly that.
The early breakthrough, combined with an enforced substitution barely seconds later, knocked the wind out of their sails.
Evans was sent scampering down the flank following a lovely exchange of passes between McDonald, Williamson and Quinn and when his low drive across the touch ricocheted off BARRETT, Bournemouth goalkeeper Flahavan was powerless to prevent the ball flying into the roof of the net.In truth it seemed a definite og.
Quinn and Williamson were drifting across the pitch at will while the confidence coursing through Evans’ veins was evident when he attempted a shot on the turn despite having two markers positioned directly behind him.
Bournemouth 0 United 1
Referee East, who had also booked Cook and Maguire moments before the break, angered the home crowd by stopping play to enable McDonald to receive treatment soon after getting the match back underway.
Evans and Cresswell, who again dovetailed well in attack, both found themselves in promising positions during the opening five minutes of the second period but failed to apply the finishing touches.
Bournemouth, though, won two early corners with both being hacked away at the third or fourth attempt.
McDonald required work from the physiotherapist again in the 56th minute following Molesley’s challenge with Ertl replacing him in midfield 60 seconds later.
The Austrian’s introduction changed the dynamics of United’s performance in that central area.
Industrious rather than inventive, Ertl immediately made his presence felt by heading away another Bournemouth centre.
The hosts were now shading the match for the first time.
With 16 minutes remaining, the decisive moment came. Evans again darted down the flank and dispatched a low cross into the area.
This time COOK was responsible for bundling the ball into his own net as Cresswell stood ready to pounce behind him.
Bournemouth responded by sending on Taylor for Fogden with Porter replacing the irrepressible Cresswell in the 81st minute. F
or a full report, plus match pix, see the Green’Un