Bournemouth 1-0 Nottingham Forest: Cherries will return to the Premier League for the first time in three seasons after sealing automatic promotion thanks to Kieffer Moore’s late goal
- Bournemouth will be playing Premier League football once again next season
- The Cherries beat Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night to confirm their status
- Kieffer Moore curled home an 83rd-minute strike to confirm their passage
- For Nottingham Forest, they’ll have to focus on the play-offs to join Bournemouth
It was the kind of game that needed a moment of genius, something a little above the ordinary.
Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest had been inseparable for 83 minutes, the occasion tense, the contest tight.
It was then that Jordan Zemura was tripped by Scott McKenna right on the edge of the Forest penalty box.
Kieffer Moore was Bournemouth’s hero as his strike sealed their Premier League promotion
Ryan Christie made his bid then stepped away from the dead ball. That left Philip Billing over it and the whole of the Vitality Stadium stood in anticipation of the whipped shot.
Nope. In one of the most lucrative training ground moves of all time, Billing passed the ball to Kieffer Moore, whose golden swing of the right boot delivered Bournemouth back to the Premier League.
You could only admire the inventiveness. Forest’s defenders did, they didn’t read it at all.
A few nail-biting minutes later and Bournemouth were there. Home and dry in the second automatic promotion place, the breathless pursuit of Forest and others over at last.
The stands emptied, the pitch a sea of red and black. The Cherries back in the big time after two seasons away, taken there by Scott Parker’s second promotion in three seasons.
Forest will have to go into the play-offs, their miraculous transformation under Steve Cooper from relegation fodder in August to within touching distance of promotion may yet be completed but it’ll be done the hard way.
Nobody will fancy taking Forest on, that’s for sure. They will rouse themselves from this disappointment. The fans did, singing ‘we’re going to Wembley’ as they watched Bournemouth’s jubilant celebrations.
Everyone at Bournemouth received a huge lift pre-match with the news that David Brooks is cancer free and the Wales international, who was in attendance, hopes to return to action soon. Heartfelt applause spread around the ground in the seventh minute, seven being his shirt number.
There was a cup final feel to the occasion with so much at stake and a suitably boisterous atmosphere. That transmitted into a full-bloodied opening with neither set of players holding back.
Bournemouth captain Lloyd Kelly and Forest starlet Brennan Johnson were soon squaring up, while Steve Cook – who will be granted a testimonial by the Cherries later this year having left for Forest in January – slid in on old team-mate Dominic Solanke.
The hosts carved out the game’s first chance. Solanke broke into the Forest box, the ball popped out to Billing and his cross-cum-shot had to be touched away by Brice Samba.
Forest’s other Bournemouth old boy, Sam Surridge, came even closer on nine minutes. Djed Spence strode forward into space and slotted the perfect through pass into the forward.
Surridge only had Mark Travers to beat but saw his shot crash back off the crossbar.
Cook was in the wars and needed treatment for a head wound following a clash with Billing at a corner. The cut opened up again a few minutes later and Cook was more Vaseline than forehead for the remainder of the game.
Forest started to get on top as the contest settled. Zemura made a crucial block right in front of his goal to deny Johnson’s effort after Philip Zinckernagel crossed.
And 20-year-old Johnson, one of the outstanding players of the Championship season, worked space on the edge of the Bournemouth box but fired straight at Travers.
Bournemouth created the first chance of the second-half, with Solanke latching onto a Christie through pass but firing into the side-netting.
When midfielder Jefferson Lerma pulled a muscle, Parker sought to harness Bournemouth’s second-half impetus by introducing a forward in Moore.
Billing got the better of Ryan Yates and only had to lay the ball back to a team-mate but he hesitated and Samba claimed.
The Forest keeper then swatted away Jaidon Anthony’s strike after more good wing play by Bournemouth.
Forest had faded and Johnson’s frustration boiled over when Kelly won a physical duel and guided the ball out of play. Johnson booted the ball against the advertising boards in annoyance, to ironic cheers.
Forest mounted a late siege. Surridge saw a cross blocked then Samba, forward for a late corner, flicked onto the roof of the net.