DEFEAT to Harry Rednapp’s Bournemouth at Dean Court put an end to Town’s play-off hopes for another year.
With a Holmes and a Watson in their team, it was not surprising that AFC Bournemouth’s route to victory would be elementary, and so it proved as the home side capitalised on a series of defensive blunders to win 3-1.
The ever-reliable Kieran O’Regan (now summariser for Radio Leeds) gave Town’s travelling supporters something to cheer when he put away a 39th penalty to reduce the deficit to 2-1 only for Kevin Bond to restore Bournemouth’s two-goal advantage before the break.
All four goals were sandwiched into a 14-minute period, centre-back Alex Watson putting Bournemouth ahead in the 29th minute with a header into the roof of the net.
And Town scarcely had time to draw breath before Luther Blissett increased their lead with a goal which had class stamped all over it.
The former England and AC Milan international turned Peter Jackson, wriggled past Graham Mitchell and stroked the ball under the diving Steve Hardwick to claim his 21st goal of the season.
O’Regan put some fire back into Eoin Hand’s side when he converted his 10th successful penalty of the season when Iffy Onuora had been held back, but more slipshod work at the back allowed Bournemouth to restore their lead when Hardwick (now head groundsman at Drakes Cricket League club Hoylandswaine) flirted with the ball, but failed to make contact and Paul Wood, on loan from Sheffield United, lobbed it back into the six-yard box and full-back Bond headed in.
Town battled bravely on after the break, but their pressure was sporadic rather than concerted and when they did break through they found Eire international Gerry Peyton in fine form.
Blissett thumped an angled drive across the face of goal, while Hardwick pulled off an excellent save to deny Bournemouth a fourth goal.
Town: Hardwick, Trevitt, Wright, Marsden, Mitchell, Jackson, O’Regan, Kelly (Onuora 45), Roberts, Quinlan, Ireland.