by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Callum Wilson’s last gasp winner secured Cherries a 2-1 victory over Burnley on the final day of the season.
The substitute had been teed up by Jermain Defoe in the final minute of stoppage time, and Wilson converted beyond Nick Pope to seal another late win and ensure Cherries finished 12th in the Premier League standings.
Burnley, who have recently secured Europa League football for next season, took the lead after a fortuitous deflection looped in off Chris Wood before Josh King slammed home the leveller in the second half.
The result means that Cherries finished 11 points above the relegation zone, and also as the highest-placed south coast club for the first time in their league history.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe made four changes to round off the campaign, as Tyrone Mings made his first start since September. Emerson Hyndman was also handed his maiden Premier League start, whilst Jordon Ibe and Andrew Surman were also recalled.
Callum Wilson and Marc Pugh dropped to the bench. Simon Francis and Lewis Cook missed out on the trip to Turf Moor altogether, after the captain was ruled out through illness and the latter was rested.
The home side had already secured seventh place in the top flight before the contest, and named former Cherries youngster Sam Vokes amongst their substitutes.
A sluggish start to the encounter was brought to an end after 15 minutes, when Burnley fashioned the first clear opportunity. Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s race down the flank resulted in the Icelandic international releasing Stephen Ward, whose strike was well blocked by Cherries’ player of the season, Nathan Ake.
Cherries then began to create dangers of their own, Ibe’s pinpoint delivery into the penalty area evading everyone before Burnley cleared.
The ex-Liverpool winger was involved again moments later. Ibe picked out Lys Mousset inside the box, but the Frenchman’s drive was palmed away by Burnley shot stopper Pope, who will be harbouring ambitions of an England call-up for this summer’s World Cup.
Charlie Daniels was the next visitor to test Pope, after racing onto King’s pass on the angle of the penalty area and pulling the trigger first time.
The Clarets had threatened when Jack Cork dragged an effort wide of the post, before Sean Dyche’s team did eventually take a deserved lead on 40 minutes. Ashley Westwood’s strike looked to be heading wide of the target, before the ball rebounded off Wood and looped beyond a despairing Asmir Begovic. It was the New Zealander’s 11th goal of the campaign and spared his blushes after having spurned over another chance four yards out just minutes before, although Aaron Lennon had been flagged offside in the build up.
There was still time before the interval for James Tarkowski to guide a header into the arms of Begovic, as Burnley looked to increase their lead.
But after the break, Cherries emerged on the front foot. Ibe’s looping corner kick picked out King at the far upright, whose close range strike was charged down by Tarkowski. Steve Cook then saw another effort blocked, before Ake’s header was deflected off target, to round off a dominant flurry of chances for the visitors.
Jeff Hendrik then fired a strike towards goal which Begovic grasped onto convincingly.
Cherries boss Howe then rolled the dice, introducing Dan Gosling and Wilson in place of Hyndman and Mousset. In the other dugout, Burnley sent on Vokes in place of goalscorer Wood.
Ibe flashed a low ball across the face of goal as the visitors searched for an equaliser, before Mings’ afternoon was brought to an early end after picking up an untimely knock. The former Ipswich centre-half couldn’t continue, and was replaced by veteran striker Jermain Defoe.
Referee Paul Tierney was then thrust into the action after King appeared to be tripped by Lennon inside the box, but the man-in-the-middle waved away the appeals from the visitors.
However, with 15 minutes remaining, King would pull Cherries level on his 100th Premier League appearance. Defoe’s original effort inside the box was palmed away by Pope, before Daniels recycled possession and picked out King. The Norwegian then drove towards goal and flashed a powerful drive into the far corner.
After the leveller, Cherries went in search of a winner. Wilson had fired narrowly wide in the final quarter of the game, but would soon be the goalscoring hero in another late rally for Howe’s outfit.
A costly slip from Kevin Long after 93 minutes was pounced upon by Defoe, who raced towards goal and squared unselfishly for Wilson to slide a finish into a gaping net, his first goal in the top flight since January.
The winner means that Cherries end the season on 44 points, two shy of the club’s record total in the Premier League, and record their maiden victory at Turf Moor.
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, Lennon (McNeil, 90+4), Gudmundsson (Wells, 80), Wood (Vokes, 61)
Unusued substitutes: Heaton, Bardsley, Nkoudou, Taylor
Cherries: Begovic, Fraser, S. Cook, Mings (Defoe, 66), Ake, Daniels, Surman, Hyndman (Gosling, 59), Mousset (Wilson, 59), Ibe, King
Unused substitutes: Boruc, Taylor, Pugh, B. Smith
Referee: Paul Tierney