Bournemouth will play in the Premier League again next season after Kieffer Moore scored the winner against Nottingham Forest to earn the Cherries automatic promotion.
Bournemouth looked set to secure second spot weeks ago, only for a disappointing run of results to make the promotion race more interesting. Steve Cooper’s Forest caught them up by winning four on the bounce between April 18 and April 30.
That saw Tuesday’s clash between the two teams at the Vitality Stadium become essentially a play-off before the play-offs begin.
Bournemouth knew they had to win to secure a return to the top flight, where they last played in 2019-20. Victory for Forest, meanwhile, would have seen them go level with the south coast outfit on 82 points – setting up an exciting last day of the campaign.
But Moore’s 83rd-minute goal helped Bournemouth win 1-0 at home and gain promotion from the second tier – a feat they last accomplished in 2014-15, which led to five seasons in the Prem.
The first half saw Forest striker Sam Surridge – formerly of Bournemouth – hit the crossbar on his left foot. The Englishman also had a penalty appeal waved away due to an incorrect offside flag.
The winning moment came with seven minutes of the 90 left, when Philip Billing put a free-kick into the box for Scott Parker’s side.
Moore, a January signing from Cardiff City, showed composure to finish past Brice Samba after being left unmarked. His strike means Bournemouth will join Fulham in the top flight next term.
Parker reacts to Bournemouth promotion
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports (via BBC Sport), Parker said: “First and foremost I’m delighted for the fans and my players. They deserve this position. It means a lot.
“We never had control in the first half and we didn’t want a basketball match. We spoke about control and calm and process. Didn’t execute the game plan and in the second half we showed our dominance.
“This group is a young team, learning their trade in a promotion task. One thing about this group, if we need a result we did deep and find it.”
Cherries winger Ryan Christie added: “It’s mad, it’s such a long season and it comes down to one game.
“I’ve not really slept this week. The first half was emotional. Then we had a moment of magic from Kieffer and we’re in the Premier League.
“We were told to calm down and take the emotion out of it. We brought control second half and as soon as we got the goal it was about keeping them out.
“That was the longest eight minutes [of added time]. We’ll have a good few days now I’m sure.”