Bournemouth 2 Grimsby Town 1

Last updated : 25 April 2009 By Footymad Previewer
It was the stuff fairytales are meant to be written about as Bournemouth banished the threat of relegation from the Football League.

Steve Fletcher returned to Dean Court in January with the South Coast club in deep financial and relegation strife.

And, on the penultimate day of the season, he scored the winning goal which kept Bournemouth in the Football League next season.

"It must have been written in the stars," the 36-year-old Cherries legend beamed after scoring the winning goal.

He was still in his red and black football kit as he did interviews in Bournemouth's hospitality boxes an hour or more after the final whistle.

"This club was full of doom and gloom, with barely a smile on anyone's faces when I came back here early in the calendar year.

"But Eddie Howe's subsequent appointment as manager changed everything and brought about quite a remarkable turnabout which looks to have secured the club's future.

"Its got to be the high spot of my long career to have come back and scored probably the most important goal in the club's long history and its certainly one I'll never forget."

Fittingly, it was Fletcher's 100th career league goal which gave Bournemouth their 2-1 win over Grimsby Town, on an emotionally charged late April afternoon.

The win climaxed a remarkable turnabout for Bournemouth, who began the season with a 17-point deduction for going into administration and were still in deep relegation strife until very recently.

Fletcher's fairytale winning goal came 11 minutes from the end of an enthralling and emotionally charged relegation affair in front of a capacity 9,000 crowd, many of whom swarmed onto the pitch for a mass celebration after the final whistle.

Grimsby, despite the defeat, had reason to celebrate too as they are also all but mathematically safe from sliding into the Blue Square Premier next autumn.

Grimsby, who had won four of their previous six games to kick-start their own relegation revival, appeared potential party poopers when they stole the lead five minutes before half-time through Nathan Jarman, who headed home a knock-down from the highly effective Barry Conlon.

But the second yellow card brandished to midfielder Danny Boshell right on the stroke of half-time, left the Mariners playing the entire second half with only ten men.

Bournemouth took full advantage and were level within 90 seconds of the restart.

Brett Pitman who worked his socks off, fed Danny Hollands, whose shot rattled the Grimsby crossbar and fell conveniently into the path of Liam Feeney, who rifled home the equaliser.

The packed stadium throbbed with emotion as cash-strapped Bournemouth, who are in talks with several potential buyers, strove to secure their victory.

It came 11 minutes from the end with Fletcher's crucial goal.

Mark Molesley, who had arguably his best game in Bournemouth's colours, prompted the goal with a fine solo run which culminated in a partial clearance finding its way to Fletcher, who gleefully drilled a rising volley into the roof of the Grimsby net.

Bournemouth were safe and the crowd went wild.

Grimsby were reduced to nine men two minutes from the end, when midfielder Joe Widdowson was sent off for a second bookable offence.