Baffins Milton Rovers edged a thrilling FA Vase encounter at the PMC stadium which saw 5 goals and a red card. The Portsmouth based side reversed a two-goal deficit to eventually win 3-2 and dump Bournemouth out of the cup in the second round.
The encounter was billed up to be an exciting tie with both teams similarly placed in the league table, but it was Bournemouth who started the better side and signalled their intent with a speculative shot coming straight from the kick off by the captain Ron Frost.
Bournemouth Poppies started to apply some early pressure with Mickey Finch almost latching on to some loose passes from the Baffins back line as they looked to assert an early dominance on the game.
An exciting start to the game was momentarily halted when the Baffins left back had to receive treatment from an innocuous injury after he bombed down the left wing, eventually forcing him off after just 7 minutes.
Nevertheless, The Poppies remained the better side in the opening 15 minutes with a succession of signature long throw ins from Frost causing havoc, with the first real chance of the game dropping to Stepan Neronski who fired just over from a 20-yard volley after Baffins failed to clear.
Another chance came for the away side just moments later as Neronski drew a foul on the edge of the area, with the resulting delivery being deflected narrowly behind for a corner, which Frost glanced just wide as Bournemouth showed their areal dominance.
Baffins quickly responded with a rapid counter attack that saw Jason Parish brought down in the box in the 19th minute, and after some deliberation with the linesman the referee eventually pointed to the spot. Ashton Leigh stepped up and dragged his left footed penalty onto the outside of the Bournemouth post as the Poppies escaped with the 0-0 score line intact.
Tackles started to come thick and fast with Poppies defender Harvey Elsom receiving a talking too for a strong challenge in the centre of the pitch as the game started to open up after the 20-minute mark, with both teams enjoyed some freedom down the left flank.
Bournemouth again threatened from a set-piece when Fawzi Saadi’s floated delivery was met by a looping header from Steve Flynn which dipped just over the bar on the 24th minute. Flynn had another chance to give Bournemouth the lead just moment later as he tried to direct a wayward drive into the net from 8 yards, but just got his angles wrong at the crucial moment.
More Poppies pressure was eventually rewarded when Frost released Neronski down the left wing with a fine pass, with the latter powering into the box and sliding a composed finish under the Baffins keeper from 8-yards with his left boot to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
A lovely bit of link up play between the two Bournemouth forwards almost doubled their lead after Flynn broke free down the right wing on the 32nd minute and delivered an in-swinging cross which strike partner Finch could only direct at the keeper from 10 yards.
Bournemouth were starting to turn the screw, and on the 35th minute Charlie Langston drew a foul on the left wing 25 yards from goal which Frost curled narrowly over from an acute angle. Another chance came just a minute later as Neronski almost turned provider, delivering a fizzing cross from the left that just evaded the in-form Flynn at the far post.
Neronski finally made Baffins pay a second time as he collected a loose clearance before cutting in on his right foot and angling a right footed shot across the keeper and into the bottom left hand corner in emphatic style to make it 2-0 after 37 minutes.
Baffins were offered a lifeline back into the game on the 42nd minute as Shane Cornish was brought down in the box and the home side were rewarded their second penalty of the match. Cornish dusted himself off and took responsibilities this time, making no mistake with a side foot penalty past the keeper high into the left corner to bring the score line back to 2-1.
The referee put the whistle to his lips with no added time was played as a frantic first period ended with the score line at 2-1 in favour of the visitors at the PMC stadium.
The second half started at a darkening PMC stadium and Baffins came out with a renewed impetus after their late consolation in the first-half, and their fast start was rewarded with a classy goal as a beautifully floated cross from Robbie Taw was met at the far-left post with a cushioned left footed volley by Callum Dart to level the scores at 2-2 on the 49th minute.
Baffins pushed for another as they put Bournemouth on the back foot, with Taw this time trying to bend a left footed shot into the far corner only to see it blocked on the edge of the penalty area.
The contest started to heat up, and after just 8 minutes of the second half the referee had to warn both players and coaches about their complaints from the side line.
Bournemouth almost retook the lead as they finally grew back into the game, captain Frost drilled a fierce shot just past the right post following a free-kick from the left-hand side.
More fine work from Frost drew a free kick in a dangerous position on the left-flank with some good footwork, which Saadi turned just over the Baffins bar on the hour mark as the Poppies regained a grip on the game.
Bournemouth again threated when Finch beat the offside trap and drilled a bobbling low cross along the 6-yard box which was missed by everyone but the Baffins right-back who eventually scrambled clear.
Predictably, Jason Parish made The Poppies pay for their missed opportunities on the 68th minute as he latched on to a long through-ball and smashed past keeper Sam Jones with his right boot to give the home side the lead at 3-2 for the first time in the match, sending the home fans into wild celebration on the side lines.
Parish threatened again as another perfectly weighted delivery from Taw found him six yards out, however this time he was less clinical, only directing his header into the keeper’s gloves.
Bournemouth pushed for an equaliser with just 10 minutes left on the clock and the lively Finch almost found one as he swivelled in the box and struck a firm left footed drive into the keeper’s midriff.
The Poppies chances of drawing level were dealt a huge blow when key man Frost kicked out at Callum Dart following an off the ball altercation that saw him receive his marching orders with just 7 minutes left to play.
A last gasp half chance fell the way of Bournemouth as Finch again showed electric pace to latch on to a lobbed through ball in the 90th minute, but he could only scuff his left footed effort agonisingly wide.
A late booking for a frustrated Steve Flynn was momentarily confused for the final whistle which did eventually come after four minutes of added time and some more resolute defending from the home side.
Soon after the referee blew the full-time whistle and it saw Bournemouth Poppies crashing out of the FA Vase in the second round proper to Baffin Milton Rovers, who did look like they deserved to go through.