Burton Albion's hopes of a famous fourth round clash with Premiership giants Liverpool were dashed on the south coast as Eddie Howe's AFC Bournemouth side showed all of the Championship class to run out 4-1 winners in the rearranged third round encounter at the Goldsands Stadium.
Albion were up against it when Brett Pitman scored the first of his two goals in only the fifth minute snapping up a close range chance at the far post but Jimmy Phillips deflected equaliser on 35 minutes gave Albion renewed hope of causing an upset. Who knows how different it might have been had Albion got to half time on level terms but Tommy Elphick's tap in sent the Cherries into the break in front. Despite coming under heavy pressure during the second half Albion were still in it until Ryan Fraser's composed 85th minute finish with Pitman's second, from the penalty spot, confirming an ultimately comfortable victory for the hosts.
Burton boss Gary Rowett resisted the temptation to make too many changes to the side that won against Cheltenham on Saturday. Whilst the back five remained the same there was a debut for on loan Wigan man Adam Buxton on the right side of midfield with Lee Bell returning to the side to partner Matty Palmer in the middle. Jimmy Phillips kept his place on the left with Adam McGurk playing a slightly more withdrawn role behind main striker Billy Kee. Robbie Weir and Alex MacDonald dropped to the bench ready to provide fresh legs if needed later in the game.
On a greasy, slippery pitch, not helped by pre-match rain an early slip from Zander Diamond allowed Tokelo Rantie to burst into the box. His pull back to the edge of the box found Matt Ritchie but some desperate defending blocked out his effort and when Bournemouth recovered possession and attacked again it was Marc Pugh who drilled a low shot wide of the upright from a similar position.
However Bournemouth did not have to wait long to break Albion's resistance. Just over four minutes were on the clock when a long ball out of defence gave Rantie another chance to drive into the box and he was able to get the ball to Ritchie again. The winger had time to look up and pick out Brett PITMAN at the far post and he was able to slide in and find the back of Lyness' net.
The Brewers did not have long to wait for a good chance of their own. Billy Kee found space to feed the ball through for Buxton who was in an advanced position and he was only denied by the legs of keeper Ryan Allsop who made a good save.
Bournemouth's patient passing was causing Albion problems and it almost led to a second goal on 17 minutes. The attack again came down the Bournemouth left and when a neat backheel had the ball at the feet of Rantie he looked a good bet to score until he screwed his shot wide of the far post.
Rantie was proving to be a real handful and a 22 yard shot on 26 minutes needed Dean Lyness to get down to his left and beat the ball away as Bournemouth again had Albion pegged back deep in their own half.
The livewire striker was in need of treatment moments later as he took a knock in the middle of the park and as soon as he returned to the action he was unceremoniously brought down by a challenge from Phil Edwards that earned the Brewers defender the first yellow card of the game. Showing no effects of his knock the striker was soon racing through onto a long ball over the top with Lyness having to be smart off his line to clear the danger a split second before he could get to the ball.
Pitman then won and took a free kick just outside the box but his low struck hit the wall. With Albion struggling to get out Bournemouth kept on pressing and Matt Ritchie's shot into the ground bounced up and just over Lyness' crossbar on 33 minutes.
From nowhere though Albion were level on 35 minutes. Bournemouth failed to clear a routine cross from the left effectively and the ball came nicely for Jimmy PHILLIPS. The winger, now pushed inside as part of a 4-5-1 formation stepped inside and hit a shot that was aimed for the top left hand corner of Allsop's net but which got a big deflection to beat the keeper and put Albion back on terms.
Bournemouth quickly went in search of a second goal to restore their lead and but for an excellent save for Lyness they woiuld have had it on 38 minutes. Charlie Daniels, this time, raided down the left and his cross looked perfect for Pitman who took a touch and strode forward before sidefooting an effort that was just at a good height for Lyness to put out a hand and push the ball away from danger.
As half time approached Bournemouth upped the ante and a spell of heavy pressure eventually paid off. Lyness had already made an excellent save at his near post to deny the Cherries the lead again but when the home side kept the pressure on from the resulting corner the chance came for Tommy ELPHICK to glance home a close range chance and Albionw ere behind again. It was a cruel blow for Albion to concede on the stroke of half time but nobody could really deny that the hosts deserved to be ahead.
Half time: AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Burton Albion
With conditions not getting any easier as the second half began Albion knew that they needed to stay in the game but they were almost undone again on 49 minutes as the Cherries struck the woodwork. Simon Francis strode forwards down the right and pulled back a low cross that Pitman met with a crisp shot that struck the outside of the post and bounced out.
Ritchie then incurred the ire of referee Williamson for a foul on Damien McCrory that the official deemed bad enough to produce a yellow card.
Phillips curled a shot wide of the upright as Albion sought a second equaliser before Bournemouth made the first change with matt Ritchie replaced by Ryan Fraser.
As Albion attacked at one end from a rare corner Bournemouth showed their rapid counter attacking qualities as Rantie seized on a wayward pass from McGurk and when Pitman latched onto hhis eventual pass down the centre he was denied once again by Lyness who got a strong hand to beat the ball away.
With Bournemouth pressing Albion further and further back a change was needed and Gary Rowett went with Alex MacDonald on 63 minutes as he replaced debutant Buxton slotting straight in on the right side of midfield. The substitute quickly had a chance to make an impact when left back Daniels slipped over but his cross eluded everyone. Moments later, McGurk from the opposite worked space for a superb cross that was just too good for everyone inside the box, the home side eventually getting the ball clear.
A double change on 72 minutes saw Andrew Surman introduced for the hosts in place of Marc Pugh and Albion's change saw Chris Hussey come on for skipper Lee Bell. The former Coventry man slotted in on the left with Adam McGurk pushing into a more central role.
Albion needed a goal from somewhere and with ten minutes to play Rowett called on Saturday's two goal hero Dominic Knowles. The young striker was brought on in place of Billy Kee who had ploughed a lone furrow in attack for most of the evening. Bournemouth also made an attacking change late on with Lewis Grabban replacing the ever dangerous Rantie.
Victory was eventually sealed for the Cherries and with it that fourth round tie against Liverpool when another swift counter broke Albion's stubborn resistance. From a Burton throw on the right the home side seized possession and Grabban spread play to his left before a quick switch pass found FRASER in space to chip a delightful effort over Lyness and into the net. Albion's disappointment was compounded quickly after when Edwards felled Harry Arter in the box as he went to cross in and PITMAN comprehensively beat Lyness from the spot. Grabban still had time to hit the post as Eddie Howe's men went in search of a fifth but their place was already well and truly confirmed and Albion must wait another season, at least, for another shot at a Premiership big hitter.