by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Steve Cook headed home late on to rescue a third round replay with Wigan Athletic, after the League One side came close to knocking the Cherries out of the FA Cup.
Paul Cook’s side shocked the Vitality Stadium when Will Grigg slotted home after only three minutes, before Nick Powell’s free kick took a wicked deflection to plunge the Cherries into further trouble before half time.
But Bournemouth improved drastically after the interval, and Lys Mousset halved the deficit with a thunderous effort before Cook nodded home Marc Pugh’s delivery deep into stoppage time.
Eddie Howe made eight changes after the stalemate with Brighton on New Year’s Day. Connor Mahoney was handed his debut, and Brad Smith started after his return from a hip injury sustained in September.
Emerson Hyndman earned his second Cherries start, while Artur Boruc was recalled between the sticks. Lys Mousset, Ryan Fraser, Nathan Ake and Andrew Surman all returned to the starting line-up, with the latter being handed the captain’s armband.
But amid the many changes, Bournemouth got off to the worst possible start. Michael Jacobs’ delivery was nodded down by Powell inside the penalty area, and Grigg was on hand to bury his effort past Boruc after only three minutes.
The Cherries created a guilt-edged chance to equalise moments later. Connor Mahoney swung in a free-kick on the right of the penalty area, and picked out Lys Mousset unmarked at the back post. The Frenchman forced Christian Walton into a superb reflex save, before putting the rebound narrowly wide.
Powell then lifted an audacious chip well over the crossbar, after Boruc’s poor clearance fell kindly for the ex-Manchester United man.
Bournemouth then carved out another opportunity to level, when Mahoney drove a low cross into the box that Walton palmed away. From the follow-up Mousset fired towards goal, but the Wigan goalkeeper was once again quick to get down and smothered with his legs.
Ryan Fraser then whipped a corner towards the penalty spot, and Nathan Ake glanced a header narrowly wide of the far post.
The Cherries continued to press, but the League One outfit posed a threat on the counter-attack. Surman was dispossessed just outside the penalty area, and Powell flashed an effort just wide of the target.
Wigan had threatened to score a second, and doubled their advantage through a fortuitous deflection after 29 minutes. Powell bent in a free-kick from 25 yards which looped off Hyndman and dropped into the far corner, the finish being awarded as an own-goal for the youngster.
Fraser attempted to drag the home side back into the game single-handedly after taking down a clearance from Dan Burn, but the Scot spurned his shot into the stand.
The skipper Surman was also presented with a chance to halve the deficit, but couldn’t divert the ball towards goal when a corner fell invitingly towards the back post.
Mahoney threatened to find the back of the net on the stroke of the interval, but his left-footed effort was comfortably held by Walton at the near post before boos from the home crowd greeted the referee’s whistle for half-time.
Howe introduced Marc Pugh and Jordon Ibe at half time, in place of Mahoney and Brad Smith, the latter struggling upon his return from injury.
Fraser slotted in at left-back for the second half, and provided the first big chance for the Cherries after the break. Ibe’s clever pass found his teammate, who delivered for Afobe into the penalty area. The ex-Wolves man lashed a shot towards goal, but Walton was on hand to palm acrobatically over the bar.
Cook then nodded against the upright from Fraser’s corner, before Walton kept hold of Pugh’s bouncing effort.
But finally, the Cherries’ pressure paid off. Ibe picked out Mousset on the edge of the box, and the towering Frenchman blasted high into the roof of the net to breathe new life into the Vitality crowd.
Mousset almost grabbed his second soon after, but his goal bound effort was superbly thwarted by Burn inside the six-yard box.
Paul Cook introduced Ivan Toney in place of Grigg, and the substitute threatened to score the visitors’ third when his effort drifted narrowly wide of Boruc’s far upright. Jacobs then pulled back for Max Power, but the Wigan midfielder blasted high into the top of the Ted MacDougall stand.
Callum Wilson then replaced the ineffectual Afobe, in Howe’s last roll of the dice.
A well crafted-move, including the former Coventry forward, ended at the feet of the impressive Hyndman who lashed over the crossbar.
Fraser then curled a free-kick towards the top left corner from 20 yards as the Cherries looked to salvage a replay, but Walton diverted the effort out of danger.
With minutes remaining, Wigan will feel aggrieved after a stunning counter-attack. Hyndman gifted the ball to the visitors under pressure, and the League One outfit flooded forward with the pacey Toney. Adam Smith came across and hauled down the Latics’ striker inside the area, but referee Andrew Madley waved for play to continue.
As frustration boiled over inside an animated Wigan technical area, assistant Leam Richardson was sent to the stands.
And to add insult to injury for the visitors, Cook rose highest to head home Pugh’s delivery and rescued the Cherries from an unlikely third-round exit, securing a place in Monday’s 4th Round draw.
Fraser created an opportunity to win the game for the Dorset club, but drilled a thumping effort narrowly wide.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Christian Walton
Bournemouth: Boruc, A. Smith, S. Cook, Ake, B. Smith, Fraser, Hyndman, Surman, Mahoney, Mousset, Afobe
Subs: Federici, Gosling, Pugh, Wilson, Ibe, Butcher, Simpson
Wigan: Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, James, Morsey, Power, Massey, Powell, Jacobs, Grigg
Subs: Sarkic, Elder, Perkins, Toney, MacDonald, Roberts, Hunt
Referee: Andrew Madley