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Cherries: Ritchie off the mark as Howe's men go third (with video)
MATT Ritchie capped a superb individual display with a stunning strike as Cherries kept up their League One promotion push with victory over Bury.
Ritchie, who was this week shortlisted for the League One player-of-the-year award, was restored to his favoured position on the right wing.
And the 23-year-old former Swindon man responded by playing a starring role, including bagging his maiden goal for the club with a thunderous 25-yard effort to make it 2-1.
Ritchie struck in the 55th minute, his blistering effort putting Cherries back in front after Andy Bishop and Brett Pitman had traded first-half goals.
A stirring second-half performance from Eddie Howe’s men was completed by late goals from Harry Arter and substitute Matt Tubbs.
Ritchie was restored to the Cherries starting line-up as boss Howe made one change following the 1-0 win at Oldham seven days ago.
Struggling Bury could only name four substitutes, although the visitors went close to drawing first blood when David Worrall’s shot fizzed past the upright inside three minutes.
Cherries responded when Ritchie’s header from a Marc Pugh cross was saved by Bury goalkeeper Trevor Carson before the hosts took the lead after eight minutes.
Pitman finished coolly with his right foot, the in-form striker registering his 13th goal of the season after rounding Carson and firing into an unguarded net.
The Jerseyman went close to adding a second when his audacious flick from a Lewis Grabban centre rolled narrowly past the post.
Bury profited from some sloppy defending to level through Bishop midway through the first half, the striker headed home a precision cross from Craig Jones.
Cherries appealed in vain for a penalty when Grabban went to ground under a Carson challenge before a second spot-kick shout was waved away after Ritchie’s free-kick had been charged down by the wall.
Ryan Allsop saved smartly after Bishop had let fly from close range before Carson blocked at the feet of Eunan O’Kane after the Irishman had burst through.
Deep into first-half stoppage time, Shakers stopper Carson was forced to scramble across his line to parry Pitman’s quickly-taken free-kick.
Pitman’s effort early in the second half flew wide of the post before Steve Cook atoned for his own error when his challenge denied Worrall after the Cherries defender had initially lost possession.
A flurry of chances ended with Ritchie restoring Cherries’ lead, the winger bagging his maiden goal for the club with a rasping left-foot drive from 25 yards.
It came after a deflected effort from Charlie Daniels had landed on top of the net and Cook’s close-range prod had been saved by Carson.
Arter settled any nerves among the home crowd when he made it 3-1 with a ferocious right-foot piledriver 10 minutes from time.
And Tubbs came off the bench to put the finishing touches to an excellent second-half display when he rifled home a fourth on the stroke of full-time following good work by O’Kane.
Cherries: Allsop, Francis, Cook, Seaborne, Daniels, Ritchie (McQuoid, 86), O’Kane, Arter, Pugh (Hughes, 83), Grabban (Tubbs, 75), Pitman.
Unused subs: Fogden, MacDonald, Elphick, Jalal (g/k).
Shakers: Carson, Ebanks-Landell, Eastham, Sodje, Skarz, Jones (Ajose, 36), Thompson (Clarke-Harris, 75), Schumacher, Carrington (Mezague, 79), Worrall, Bishop.
Unused sub: Belford (g/k).
Booked: Worrall, Ebanks-Landell.
Attendance: 7,229 (including 153 visiting supporters).
Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire).