After their heroics at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, AFC Bournemouth came back to the Vitality Stadium feeling jubilant ahead of this match against Stoke City. Stoke have boded well in recent weeks, with Paul Lambert recording four points out of a possible six in his first two games in charge. Saturday’s match was set up to be a very tense affair.
Eddie Howe named an unchanged team for this fixture, hoping for a similar result to that against the champions. Stoke gave a debut to their deadline day signing Badou Ndiaye. It was the debutant who made a fantastic impact in the opening minutes of the game.
The third minute saw Ndiaye break down the left hand side towards the byline and deliver a ferocious low cross towards goal, only for Asmir Begovic to push it away from goal. Minutes later, it was Ndiaye who delivered a beautiful lofted ball to an unmarked Xherdan Shaqiri, who was able to power his header past Begovic into the Bournemouth goal.
The goal acted like a jump start to the Bournemouth side who hadn’t really challenged the Stoke defence in the opening stages. On the 7th minute mark, Jordon Ibe found a yard of space, moving the ball away from Erik Pieters just inside the Stoke box. He drilled a right footed shot but this only found the side netting.
Bournemouth were then dealt with another defensive blow, with Eddie Howe being forced into his first substitution of the game on the 10 minute mark after Steve Cook suffered a hamstring injury. This instigated a reshuffle on the pitch for the Cherries. Joshua King replaced Steve Cook and immediately went into a front three with Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe. Simon Francis dropped in to partner Nathan Ake in the centre back position with Ryan Fraser now being deployed as a right back. Bournemouth’s reshuffle greatly lifted the spirits amongst the players.
At 13 minutes, Ryan Fraser drilled a low cross into the Stoke box but Kurt Zouma was able to clear; a few minutes later, Lewis Cook played a lovely lofted pass over the top of the Stoke defence for Callum Wilson to latch onto. He was under pressure from Ryan Shawcross, and thus his first time effort was comfortably saved by Jack Butland.
The remainder of the first half became little other than end-to-end, counter-attacking football. Stoke’s main outlet being long balls to Peter Crouch who was doing very well to hold the ball up field; whereas for Bournemouth the pace of both Fraser and Junior Stanislas were causing problems for Stoke.
The best chances for both teams fell to Ibe for Bournemouth, who saw his tap in at the back post cleared of the line by Erik Pieters, alongside a fantastic save from Jack Butland to deny Stanislas from a free kick on the 44th minute mark. For Stoke, chances fell to both Choupo-Moting and new signing Badou Ndiaye in the box, both efforts sailing over the bar and wide.
Into the second half and it was Bournemouth who flew out of the gates. In the first minute of the second half Joshua King was on the edge of the box, cutting in from the left onto his right foot; this fired the effort which Butland had to re-position himself in order to parry the ball away.
On the counter attack, the right-back Moritz Bauer crossed the ball into the box whilst Choupo-Moting’s soft header was easily saved by Begovic. Bournemouth were doing their best to try and walk the ball into the goal with link up play between the front three, but again the final product wasn’t there.
On 52 minutes, Bauer’s throw-in managed to bounce through to Ndiaye who tried an audacious bicycle kick. To Begovic’s relief, this sailed wide. On 57 minutes, Shaqiri turned the ball onto his left foot and floated a pinpoint cross to Crouch at the back post. Crouch chested the ball down and fired an effort towards goal but Begovic was equal to it with a good save.
On the hour mark, Eddie Howe made the first change of the second half by bringing on Lys Mousset for Junior Stanislas. At 65 minutes, Stoke fans thought their lead was doubled when another cross found Peter Crouch in the box, this time his header met the top of the crossbar.
Controversy arrived at 69 minutes when Choupo-Moting was booked for a very late challenge on Ryan Fraser. Replays clearly show that Choupo-Moting had two feet raised and studs showing, meaning it should have been a red card.
Bournemouth came forward again and finally beat Jack Butland. Josh King found the ball at his feet 10 yards out after a mix up between Joe Allen and Kurt Zouma, he delightfully put the ball past Butland into the far right corner, whilst sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 1-1. Game on with 20 minutes to play.
Paul Lambert reacted with a defensive substitution. The debutant Badou Ndiaye was taken off to a warm ovation from the travelling supporters and replaced by new signing Konstantinos Stafylidis. He was brought on to sit in front of the back four to try and defend the point. However, the Cherries were celebrating only 9 minutes later.
A free kick on the edge of the box was crossed to the back post by Jordon Ibe, and there to head the ball home was the super sub Lys Mousset. He rose up higher than the Stoke defence and guided the ball to the far corner. 2-1 Bournemouth with 10 minutes to go.
Paul Lambert threw on his last two substitutions with straight swaps, taking off both Choupo-Moting and Peter Crouch and replacing them with Mame Biram Diouf and Saido Berahino. In the closing stages it was still Bournemouth doing more of the attacking, looking for a third goal. Josh King earns applause in his skip away from Bauer, drilling a low cross into the box aiming for Callum Wilson but again Kurt Zouma was there to clear.
The fourth official then announced 4 minutes of added time, leading to Paul Lambert’s side engaging long-ball tactics towards the Bournemouth box in a hope for a late equaliser. Entering the fifth minute of stoppage time, Callum Wilson put the ball in the back of the net, but this was chalked off for offside.
At the 95th minute the ref blew the full time whistle, which was met with cheers from the Cherries supporters. Fans celebrated seeing their side earn all 3 points, and extend their unbeaten run to a record 7 games, with 4 victories and 3 draws.
Up next for the two sides, Eddie Howe takes his team up to the John Smith Stadium to face relegation fighters Huddersfield Town on Sunday, meanwhile on the Saturday, Paul Lambert will be looking for a better result when they host Brighton at the Bet 365 Stadium.
Bournemouth: Begovic, Francis, S Cook (King 13), Ake, Fraser, Gosling, L Cook, Daniels, Stanislas (Mousset 59), Ibe (Pugh 90+2), Wilson.
Unused Subs: Boruc, Surman, Arter, Simpson
Stoke City: Butland, Bauer, Shawcross (C), Zouma, Pieters, Cameron, Ndiaye (Stafylidis 71), Shaqiri, Allen, Choupo-Moting (Berahino 83), Crouch (Diouf 83).
Unused Subs: Grant, Johnson, Adam, Sobhi Ahmed.
Referee: Paul Tierney.