Brett Pitman's first-half penalty sealed a vital three points for play-off chasing Bournemouth at Stevenage.

The Cherries remain seventh but move to within two points of the play-off zone.

Pitman found the net from the spot after Eunan O'Kane was brought down by keeper Steve Arnold.

Earlier Lewis Grabban fired straight at Arnold when one-on-one. Stevenage had an effort headed off the line while Darius Charles was sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.

His challenge on Harry Arter saw the Cherries midfielder carried off on a stretcher as Eddie Howe's side ended a run of five straight defeats.

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Stevenage manager Gary Smith told BBC Three Counties Radio:

"It's a tough night. But I think there's a very different picture tonight.

"We've got six first-team players out and we're against a Bournemouth squad suffering with injuries but with a much bigger squad depth.

"And the game has hinged on a very, very important decision by the referee. The penalty, I thought, was unnecessary from the referee."

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe told BBC Radio Solent:

"I thought first half we were excellent - probably some of the best football we've played in a few weeks. Really pleased with how the lads were composed and brave and we really did move the ball on what's a difficult surface against a difficult team.

"There have been question marks about our defending in recent weeks but the lads proved a point today - I thought the back four, goalkeeper, midfield four and front two were excellent."

On the departure of former England goalkeeper David James: "David James has been excellent for us. He's been a model professional - can't speak highly enough of him.

"Unfortunately we've had to make some difficult calls, not just on the goalkeeping front. Financially we're having to re-adjust things and re-align things at the club and this is part of that, but we thank David for everything that he's done for us and we wish him well in the future."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Stevenage

  • 01 Arnold
  • 03 Hills
  • 04 Charles Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 14 Roberts
  • 22 Comminges
  • 06 Tansey
  • 07 Grant
  • 09 Haber
  • 11 Akins (Jeffrey - 81' )
  • 15 Freeman
  • 30 Hoskins (Shroot - 66' )

Substitutes

  • 16 Day
  • 21 Iro
  • 25 Allen
  • 20 Jeffrey
  • 26 Joseph
  • 32 Shroot
  • 28 Beleck

AFC Bournemouth

  • 21 Allsop
  • 02 Francis
  • 03 Cook
  • 05 Seaborne
  • 07 Pugh
  • 08 Arter (MacDonald - 90' )
  • 12 Fogden
  • 30 Ritchie (Fraser - 33' )
  • 32 O'Kane
  • 22 Grabban
  • 40 Pitman Booked

Substitutes

  • 01 Jalal
  • 16 MacDonald
  • 17 McQuoid
  • 20 Fraser (Hughes - 65' )
  • 26 Hughes
  • 18 Tubbs
  • 33 Fletcher
Ref: Collins
Att: 2,418

Match Stats

Shots

9 6

On target

3 5

Corners

1 5

Fouls

15 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +8:21 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +7:56

Lee Hills fouled by Eunan O'Kane, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Steve Arnold.

90:00 +5:20

Anthony Jeffrey concedes a free kick for a foul on Wes Fogden. Richard Hughes takes the free kick.

90:00 +4:45

The ball is crossed by Lee Hills, Daniel Seaborne makes a clearance.

90:00 +2:13 Substitution

Substitution (Bournemouth) makes a substitution, with Shaun MacDonald coming on for Harry Arter.

90:00 +2:13 Booking

Booking Brett Pitman goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

90:00 +1:07 Dismissal

Dismissal Darius Charles shown a red card.

89:52

Free kick awarded for a foul by Brett Pitman on Darius Charles. Steve Arnold takes the direct free kick.

88:01

Corner taken short by Eunan O'Kane.

86:44

Anthony Jeffrey takes a shot. Ryan Allsop makes a save.

85:42

Miguel Comminges takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.

83:56

The ball is swung over by Lewis Grabban, clearance by Miguel Comminges.

82:48

Anthony Jeffrey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wes Fogden. Ryan Allsop takes the direct free kick.

81:00

Eunan O'Kane concedes a free kick for a foul on Robin Shroot. Lee Hills restarts play with the free kick.

80:25 Substitution

Substitution Anthony Jeffrey joins the action as a substitute, replacing Lucas Akins.

80:07

Daniel Seaborne takes a shot. Save by Steve Arnold.

78:55

Foul by Lee Hills on Eunan O'Kane, free kick awarded. Centre by Brett Pitman, Marc Pugh takes a shot. Clearance made by Mark Roberts.

78:01

Direct free kick taken by Steve Cook.

78:01 Booking

Booking Darius Charles is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

77:35

Darius Charles challenges Brett Pitman unfairly and gives away a free kick.

72:22

Miguel Comminges crosses the ball.

71:16

Centre by Marc Pugh, Steve Arnold makes a comfortable save.

70:23

The assistant referee flags for offside against Simon Francis. Steve Arnold takes the indirect free kick.

67:25

The ball is swung over by Wes Fogden.

66:27

Effort on goal by Harry Arter from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.

66:15

Marc Pugh delivers the ball, Lee Hills makes a clearance.

63:54

Lewis Grabban restarts play with the free kick.

63:54 Substitution

Substitution Sam Hoskins leaves the field to be replaced by Robin Shroot.

63:54 Substitution

Substitution Richard Hughes comes on in place of Ryan Fraser.

63:54

Free kick awarded for a foul by Miguel Comminges on Marc Pugh.

62:05

Unfair challenge on Simon Francis by Luke Freeman results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ryan Allsop.

59:03

Luke Freeman challenges Eunan O'Kane unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steve Cook takes the free kick.

58:05

Sam Hoskins produces a cross, save made by Ryan Allsop.

57:51

The ball is delivered by Marcus Haber, clearance made by Wes Fogden.

57:16

Free kick awarded for a foul by Harry Arter on Anthony Grant. Free kick crossed by Luke Freeman.

55:09

Effort on goal by Luke Freeman from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

53:20

Greg Tansey produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the target.

51:37

Daniel Seaborne concedes a free kick for a foul on Luke Freeman. A cross is delivered by Greg Tansey, Miguel Comminges takes a shot. Steve Cook makes a clearance.

49:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by Daniel Seaborne on Marcus Haber. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Luke Freeman from right channel, Daniel Seaborne manages to make a clearance.

47:10

Corner taken by Harry Arter, Mark Roberts manages to make a clearance.

46:45

Sam Hoskins sends in a cross, Wes Fogden makes a clearance.

45:01

The match restarts for the second half.

45:00 +3:04 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +1:42

Harry Arter challenges Anthony Grant unfairly and gives away a free kick. Greg Tansey has an effort direct from the free kick, Ryan Allsop makes a save.

45:00 +1:25

Miguel Comminges crosses the ball, Wes Fogden gets a block in.

45:00 +0:03

Handball by Brett Pitman. Steve Arnold takes the indirect free kick.

44:35

Marc Pugh sends in a cross, clearance by Mark Roberts.

41:56

Effort on goal by Marcus Haber from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.

41:22

Harry Arter challenges Anthony Grant unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mark Roberts.

38:56

The ball is sent over by Simon Francis, save by Steve Arnold.

37:47

Eunan O'Kane provided the assist for the goal.

37:47 Goal scored

Goal! - Brett Pitman - Stevenage 0 - 1 Bournem'th Placed penalty scored by Brett Pitman. Stevenage 0-1 Bournemouth.

35:58

Foul by Steve Arnold on Eunan O'Kane, Penalty awarded.

35:01

Inswinging corner taken by Brett Pitman from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Miguel Comminges.

34:41

Luke Freeman challenges Ryan Fraser unfairly and gives away a free kick. Harry Arter restarts play with the free kick.

33:54

Simon Francis crosses the ball, clearance made by Miguel Comminges.

32:52 Substitution

Substitution Matt Ritchie leaves the field to be replaced by Ryan Fraser.

31:22

Free kick awarded for a foul by Luke Freeman on Simon Francis. Free kick taken by Simon Francis.

27:47

The ball is swung over by Simon Francis, blocked by Lee Hills.

24:52

Lucas Akins challenges Matt Ritchie unfairly and gives away a free kick. Eunan O'Kane restarts play with the free kick. Matt Ritchie takes a shot. Comfortable save by Steve Arnold.

24:37

Short corner taken by Matt Ritchie.

24:21

A cross is delivered by Matt Ritchie, Sam Hoskins makes a clearance.

23:06

The ball is swung over by Darius Charles, clearance by Steve Cook.

22:08

Wes Fogden challenges Greg Tansey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Greg Tansey takes the free kick.

18:37

The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Arnold.

15:55

Lewis Grabban takes a shot. Save by Steve Arnold.

15:18

The offside flag is raised against Lewis Grabban. Steve Arnold restarts play with the free kick.

13:59

Anthony Grant fouled by Marc Pugh, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mark Roberts.

11:38

Matt Ritchie fouled by Miguel Comminges, the ref awards a free kick. Daniel Seaborne restarts play with the free kick.

10:37

Miguel Comminges challenges Marc Pugh unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Matt Ritchie.

10:09

The ball is delivered by Miguel Comminges, comfortable save by Ryan Allsop.

8:53

Darius Charles sends in a cross, clearance made by Matt Ritchie.

6:43

Matt Ritchie takes the inswinging corner, Darius Charles fouled by Steve Cook, the ref awards a free kick. Steve Arnold takes the free kick.

5:35

The ball is delivered by Wes Fogden, clearance made by Lee Hills.

4:13

Foul by Greg Tansey on Lewis Grabban, free kick awarded. Simon Francis restarts play with the free kick.

3:03

Brett Pitman challenges Miguel Comminges unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Roberts restarts play with the free kick.

2:06

Foul by Darius Charles on Brett Pitman, free kick awarded. Harry Arter takes the free kick.

1:38

Lewis Grabban takes a shot. Save made by Steve Arnold.

0:46

Effort from outside the penalty box by Lucas Akins goes wide left of the target.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to start the match.

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