Malky Mackay gave debuts to Chris Herd, Leon Clarke and Kim Bo-Kyung as the Latics fell once again on home soil, Bournemouth running out winners by three goals to one, though up until the highly controversial opener the home side were very much in the game.
Latics were rocked pre-match by the news that captain James Perch was out with a hamstring strain and midfield man Emyr Huws will be side-lined for the rest of the season with a serious ankle injury, Chris Herd stepped in at right back for Perch, whilst William Kvist picked up the arm band to skipper the side.
The game started brightly with both sides going close, Al Habsi pulled off a good stop from Wilson, whilst at the other end a James McClean free-kick smacked against the crossbar, but Bournemouth aren’t top of the table for no reason, their movement off the ball was a joy to watch and slick inter passing left the Latics chasing shadows at times.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, debutant Kimbo looks a real threat and he was linking up superbly with Leon Clarke, their partnership will surely blossom with more games under their belts.
It was Bournemouth who made the breakthrough with a goal that shouldn’t have stood. In the 37th minute a ball was flicked on to Callum Wilson who was clearly two yards off-side, to everyone’s amazement the assistant kept his flag down, Wilson ran through and calmly slipped the ball past Al Habsi at his near post, 0-1.
Four minutes later Bournemouth double their lead, the Latics looked visibly shocked with the opening goal and there was now a nervousness about their play, Chris McCann dithered with the ball on the edge of the box, Yann Kermorgant simply took the ball off him spun and fired home from 18 yards out, 0-2.
Half-time saw Billy Mckay replace the tiring Kim Bo-Kyung, the South Korean not having much game time this season, the former Inverness striker had an opportunity to grab a headline and put the Latics back in the game, he met a cross from the right at the near post but unfortunately put his first time effort the wrong side of the upright.
Callum Wilson looks a real find for Eddie Howe and he grabbed his second and Bournemouth’s third of the game on 57 minutes, he flicked the ball over Ridgewell’s head, left Barnett in his wake, skipped around the out rushing Al Habsi and stroked home into the empty net, 0-3.
Leon Clarke grabbed a debut goal on the hour mark, good work by James McClean out wide on the left, the Republic of Ireland international crossed the ball from the bye-line and Clarke met it at the far post on the edge of the six yard box to head home, 1-3.
17 year old Sheyi Ojo was given his debut just before Clarke’s goal, the on loan Liverpool player is undoubtedly raw, but he looks to be an exciting prospect and could bring an edge to the Latics attacking play. Chris Herd had a solid debut before having to be replaced with a slight knock, he thunders into challenges and has a real determination about his play, more performances like this and he will become a real fans favourite.
Bournemouth looked a very good side, but I was disappointed by some of their gamesmanship, they are streets ahead of any team that I have seen in the division so far this season and there was no need for the playacting that they doing for most of the game. On the whole a decent, entertaining match, there were signs that we could make a fight of it, whether it will be enough to stave off relegation is doubtful, but at least if we do go down we’ll go down fighting.
Latics – Al Habsi, Taylor, McCann, Herd (Ojo 59), McClean, Kim (Mckay 46), Cowie, Clarke, Barnett, Ridgewell, Kvist (Capt)
Unused subs – Carson, Bong, Pearce, Fortune, Waghorn
AFC Bournemouth – Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Smith 82), Arter, Surman, Pugh (Pitman 90+1), Kermorgant (MacDonald 75), Wilson
Unused subs – Camp, Ward, Fraser, Rantie