Bournemouth 1-1 Southampton: South coast spoils are shared
Charlie Austin ensured the points were shared after an entertaining south coast derby.
Southampton paid the price when Wesley Hoedt gave the ball to Josh King towards the end of the first half. Andrew Surman fed Ryan Fraser, who tucked away the opener.
Bournemouth were also the architects of their own downfall when Lewis Cook gifted the ball to Oriol Romeu in a dangerous area. Austin made no mistake, converting Nathan Redmond’s clever cutback.
Either side could have won it. The heavily-involved Austin and Nathan Ake had the clearest chances but in the end a draw seemed appropriate.
The tempo was high from the outset. Virgil Van Dijk found himself unmarked from a 12th minute corner but his header went narrowly wide.
It was a wonder the game remained goalless for so long, as Eddie Howe’s side had two guilt-edged chances to score within a minute, only to be denied superbly by Fraser Forster.
The first came after Adam Smith’s shot was flicked goalwards by Jermain Defoe, who couldn’t believe the Saints keeper diverted his effort over the bar. Ake’s header from the resulting corner was somewhat simpler for the Englishman to keep out.
Bournemouth were again mystified in the 30th minute when Smith received a booking rather than a penalty, after Sofiane Boufal slid in recklessly.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s players felt equally hard-done-by seconds later when Dusan Tadic’s volley appeared to strike Simon Francis’ elbow inside the box. The ball fell to the Serb after Asmir Begovic did well to stop Austin’s header from close range.
Charlie Daniels then produced a wonderful, swerving strike from 30 yards that went inches wide. It would have been a contender for goal of the season had it bent inside the post.
But the Cherries did take the lead in the 41st minute. Both Hoedt and Forster will be disappointed with their contribution. The former attempted a Cruyff turn and gave the ball away before the latter dived over Fraser’s right-footed finish.
It should have been 1-1 going into half time when the impressive Ryan Bertrand rolled the ball back to Boufal inside the box, who blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
Both sides made a lively start to the second half. Junior Stanislas came so close to doubling the lead but he just couldn’t reach King’s ball at the back post.
Saints then took the initiative. Begovic was forced into three smart saves within a minute, first from Bertrand’s cutback, then twice from Tadic.
But he couldn’t keep Austin out after Cook gave the ball away to Romeu. Second half substitute Redmond pulled it back for the goalscorer to fire low past Begovic.
That goal gave Southampton momentum and they should have gone ahead when Bertrand broke down the left but couldn’t square the ball for Austin, who would have had a tap in.
Bournemouth absorbed the pressure and created opportunities to win the game. King’s effort from inside the box rebounded to Callum Wilson a yard out, but he couldn’t control the ball.
Austin then spoiled the Saints’ best chance to take all three points, heading Bertrand’s cross over when he simply had to score.
Ake could have won it with the last touch of the game, but he headed over from Jordan Ibe’s corner and the game finished all-square.