Jack Wilshere admitted he “forgot how to celebrate” after marking his return to Bournemouth with a brilliant first-time goal as the Cherries reached the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Crawley were briefly level after Tom Nichols responded to former Arsenal and West Ham midfielder Wilshere’s opener.
However, Josh King hit a second-half winner as a 2-1 win set up a trip to Burnley.
“From a personal point of view it was just a pleasure to be back starting a game,” said Wilshere, who previously spent the 2016-17 season on loan at the Vitality Stadium.
“Last time I was here I didn’t score and it didn’t sit well with me. I forgot how to celebrate.
“I was a bit shocked. I probably should have had a couple more – I got into some good positions.”
This was Crawley’s first outing since their magnificent defeat of Premier League Leeds.
They are still suffering the effects of a Covid-19 outbreak and, despite this fixture being moved from its scheduled slot last weekend, the Red Devils were missing five players due to coronavirus.
“It could have gone either way at one stage and at other times it looked like it would be 16-0 to them,” said Crawley manager John Yems.
“We’ve had our moment in the sun and we come here tonight and we’re disappointed to lose.”
Bournemouth had the better of the early exchanges. Arnaut Danjuma was dangerous down the left and tested Glenn Morris with a fierce early shot.
Philip Billing then struck a post with a header from David Brooks’ corner, while a rare Crawley opportunity came when Ashley Nadesan saw his powerful effort saved by Asmir Begovic, with Nichols unable to reach the rebound.
Bournemouth scored in the 24th minute when an incisive pass from Danjuma and a clever touch from King allowed Wilshere to sweep home from the edge of the area – his first goal in 18 months.
Four minutes into the second half, Wilshere almost added his and Bournemouth’s second as he hooked a shot form close range, which Morris saved superbly.
Crawley’s best chance came when Begovic dithered on his goal line and Nadesan got a foot to his attempted pass. Nichols seized on it but Begovic recovered quickly to block his shot.
Nichols then had his penalty appeals waved away as he tumbled under Lloyd Kelly’s challenge but a minute later, he had equalised.
A well-worked move culminated with Josh Wright heading the ball to Nichols and he finished with a side-footed volley from close range.
The League Two side were only level for six minutes as King crisply put Bournemouth back ahead after Danjuma and Brooks had opened up the defence.
Cherries boss Jason Tindall said: “I felt we were well in control of the game tonight.
“We created a number of really good opportunities. The disappointing thing was that we didn’t score more goals.”
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