BOURNEMOUTH 3, SHAKERS 1 (agg 3-1): THERE was no hiding Andy Preece's frustration after Shakers' promotion hopes were crushed on the south coast.

The Bury boss hit the target in the Third Division play-off semi-final but Gareth O'Connor's early strike and two from James Hayter booked the Cherries a date at the Millennium Stadium with either Lincoln or Scunthorpe.

But what saddened Preece most was the nature of the defeat, with his charges seemingly overwhelmed by the occasion and played off the park by a confident Bournemouth outfit who now look a good bet for a quick return to Division Two.

"That is as poor as we have played all season. I don't know what we were doing," he said.

"Apart from the first ten minutes, which we did ok with, every time we got the ball we just launched it. Every time we had a bit of time on the ball, we just launched it. It really looked like we suffered with the occasion."

"We had a few young lads who looked like the occasion had got the better of them.

"The first half was terrible. There is no getting away from it, we were terrible. We just did not play. I can't remember us getting two or three passes together."

Bournemouth, buoyed by some vociferous home support, were first to create an opening, with Steve Fletcher's snap-shot flying over the crossbar, before Bury strode up the other end and Colin Woodthorpe's 20-yarder forced a fine save from Neil Moss.

Marcus Browning pulled his shot wide before Hayter came agonisingly close to opening the scoring -- his angled drive rattling the post with Glyn Garner beaten.

After O'Connor's low shot flew past Garner to break the deadlock, Lee Connell squandered Bury's best chance, heading wide from George Clegg's cross.

And his profligacy was punished five minutes later when Wade Elliott robbed Danny Swailes and crossed for Hayter to score with a superb diving header.

Hayter put the tie beyond the Shakers on the hour with a close-range finish from O'Connor's clever ball.

Preece gave the visiting fans something to cheer with a fine lob having been put through by Michael Nelson, but Bournemouth restricted Bury to long-range efforts thereafter.

"We had one or two other opportunities where we could have got it back to 3-2," reflected Preece.

"If we had got that second goal, I think we would have made a game of it. Bournemouth were nervous as it was, but we couldn't get the rub of the green.

"David Nugent had a couple of good chances but he lost sight of the ball. He gambled on the wrong side. If he had gambled right, it would have been 3-2.

"Then we would have had the ascendancy. We never gave up and I thought that if we had got that second goal then we would go on and get the third one."

With the game effectively beyond them, Shakers did put on a stronger show in the second half after an interval ear-bashing from their furious manager.

"I told them at half-time to at least show them we can do something. And in the second half we showed a little bit more of what we are about," said Preece.

"We showed we could pass, we could score goals and we could put them under pressure. A second goal would have meant game on.

"It was too late but we did have one or two chances. At least we went down with a fight.