Irons' goal came at the start of a second half which was largely dominated by the Terriers. Andy Booth turned goal-maker with a clever reverse pass for Chris Hay.
The Scot chased upfield and delivered a great cross from the left side of the area and the Town midfielder responded with a rasping volley past the right hand of Stewart which was reminiscent of his winner against Chelsea in the Worthington Cup over a year ago.
The strike set the scene for a decent second half for the Terriers who had looked under threat of going a goal behind after an all too brief burst of skill at the start.
Town had initially sat deep and invited attacks from Bournemouth who inevitably started to get more adventurous after a cautious start.
Wade Elliott was exploiting space down the right for the Cherries and half time couldn't come soon enough for Town towards the end of the first period.
Everything came together in the second half after Irons' goal and Booth and Hay began to pose questions for the Cherries' 3 man back line.
Opportunities to finish off the visitors came and went, the best going to Chris Hay who had already rounded the 'keeper after being put through by Craig Armstrong but somehow missed the target with the goal at his mercy.
As the game drew to a close, thoughts returned to the old Town failings - letting in easy goals towards the end of games - and the game became that much more intense for the spectators.
The Terriers had to sit through a tense 8 minutes of added time in which Bournemouth threw everything at Martyn Margetson in an effort to score the equaliser.
James Haytor, Warren Feeney and Jason Tindall tested the Welshman in the second half but he stood firm and held his nerve as did Town.
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Town (4-4-2): Margetson, Jenkins, Evans, Lucketti, Gray, Irons, Beech (Thorington 77), Armstrong, Holland, Hay (Schofield 83), Booth
Subs not used: P Senior, Heary, Moses
Booked: Beech 25, Gray 62
Scorer: Irons 50
Bournemouth (5-3-2): Stewart, Broadhurst (Foyewa 75), Howe, Tindall, Elliott, Fletcher, Hughes, Purches, Hayter (O'Connor 81), Feeney, Eribenne
Subs not used: Menetrier, Smith, Birmingham
Booked: Fletcher 12, Hughes 69, Howe 84, Elliott 90
Referee: Andrew Hall (Birmingham)
Attendance: 10,137 (549 away)