Tranmere knocked out of FA Cup after thriller
A spirited fight back from Tranmere gave the travelling fans something to shout about, but Bournemouth`s strikers were on top form as they outscored the Whites on the day.
The away side endured a nightmare start as they went down 3-0 inside 10 minutes after two goals from Josh McQuoid and a strike from Marc Pugh. But goals from Aaron Cresswell and Ian Goodison towards the end of the second-half gave the Whites a glimmer of hope.
Ian Thomas-Moore`s tap-in completed the comeback at the start of the first-half, but McQuoid scored the Cherries fourth for his hat-trick on 57 minutes with Warren Feeney putting the hosts through to the second round for the fifth season in a row.
Les Parry made just one change to the side that lost at Carlisle in midweek, with keeper Joe Collister coming in for Peter Gulacsi who is ineligible to compete in the FA cup as part of his deal with Liverpool.
Tranmere`s habit of conceding early had crippled their chances of getting results at the start of the season, but after three wins on the trot at the tail-end of October, many thought the demon days were over. Unfortunately, just 40 seconds in, Feeney`s drilled shot took a wicked deflection off Goodison, with the ball passing through Collister`s legs on its way to rolling across the line to the far post and falling to McQuoid for a tap-in.
The misery continued for the Rovers just four minutes later when the Cherries made it 2-0, with McQuoid finding the ball at his feet on the edge of the area and his strike flying past Collister into the right side of the net.
Although the away side needed to regroup fast, Bournemouth were keen to add more, and judging by the Cherries scoring record in the league, it was no surprise that they added a third in as many shots. Marc Pugh, who was a doubt before the game, also seemingly walked into the space outside the area before smashing in a shot into the top right corner on seven minutes.
In need of a spark livewire Dale Jennings skipped past two challenges before speeding into the area to fire a shot into the side netting for Tranmere`s first shot of the game.
Aaron Cresswell had to stretch on the goal line to prevent a fourth from going in when Danny Hollands pounced on Steve Fletchers blocked shot to blast a volley through a packed penalty box. Fortunately for the Whites the left-backs block found safety and the three goal gap remained.
It was Cresswell that kept Rovers in the game at one end and it was the left-back that gave them a glimmer of hope at the other on 26 minutes. Joss Labadie earned the visitors a free-kick 30 yards out which was struck by Cresswell and fumbled by keeper Shwan Jalal into the Cherries net, much to the disapproval of the home crowd.
Buoyed by the freak goal, the Whites piled forward and a string of passes gave Ian Thomas-Moore half a chance to reduce the deficit once more, but the vetaran`s chip was comfortably saved by the nervy looking Jalal. McQuoid`s long range drive flew past Collister at the other end on its way past the post, but Rovers enjoyed a good spell of possession leading up to half-time.
Now looking more than settled, the away side unbelievably pulled another goal back to finish off what had been an excellent 20 minutes for them. With a number of white shirts up front, captain John Welsh hit a ball into the Cherries area which was met by the towering figure of Goodison who leapt to head the ball down and into the top left corner of the goal just three minutes from half-time.
Max Blanchard struck an ambitious looking volley from 25 yards out that swerved to go just inches wide of the target as Rovers capped off what had been a spirited fight back.
Although the home side ended the half on top, manager Parry felt the gap that remained between the sides still needed closing. Defensive midfielder Blanchard was taken off for striker Lucas Akins at half-time as Rovers switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 with Akins and Jennings moving to the wings and Enoch Showunmi and Thomas Moore going into the middle.
The change didn`t have time to make an impact before a Pugh free-kick whizzed over Collister`s bar three minutes from the restart, but Rovers managed to get yet another free-kick inside the Cherries half after a counter. Jalal failed to hold on to Cresswell`s delivery yet again, and his spill fell to the feet of Thomas-Moore who finished from close range on 53 minutes.
Bournemouth`s tendency to bring down Rovers players was costing them dearly, and young Cresswell`s curled free-kick almost gave his side the lead, only for it to fly past the left hand post. However, the optimism soon vanished for the away side on 57 minutes when McQuoid raced onto a through ball and fired past Collister on the edge of the area to restore the hosts lead and complete his hat-trick.
Just four minutes later the home side gave Rovers a mountain to climb when Liam Feeney, who had been giving Cresswell a nightmare all afternoon, forced the left-back to stand-off with some close ball control before curling into the far left corner for a fifth.
Following the goal, Parry took off Jennings, who looked to have taken a knock, for Ryan Fraughan on 65 minutes. Ten minutes later, and after signs of the home side looking to grind out a result, Sam Morrow was brought on for Thomas-Moore for Rovers last change of the game.
With the two goal gap between the sides looking to have really taken the toll on the Whites, all the action came from the Cherries as the dangerous looking McQuoid fired a shot wide. Feeney also had a shot which Collister failed to hold and was quickly gathered inside the six yard box.
The home side brought off McQuoid towards the end to a standing ovation which proved to be the only bit of action in injury time as Tranmere`s cup campaign came to an end.
Bournemouth: 5- McQuoid (1, 4, 57), Pugh (7), Feeney (61)
Tranmere: 3- Cresswell (27), Goodison (42), Thomas-Moore (53)
Bournemouth: Jalal, Cummings, Pearce, McQuoid (Purches 89), Fletcher (Arter 72), Hollands, Bartley (Wiggins 51), Robinson, Smith, Feeney, Pugh. Substitutes not used: Stewart, Stockley.
Tranmere: Collister, Cathalina, Broomes, Goodison, Cresswell, Labadie, Blanchard (Akins 45 HT), Welsh, Thomas-Moore (Morrow 77), Showunmi, Jennings (Fraughan 65). Substitutes not used: Miotto, Bakayogo, Grandison, Mendy.
Referee: Brendan Malone