Report by Harvey Camp (@harveycampjourn) at the Vitality Stadium
Already relegated Fulham hindered Bournemouth’s survival hopes as Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty was enough for the away side to take all three points at the Vitality.
Just a week after Bournemouth’s 5-0 thumping of Brighton at the Amex, Eddie Howe’s men found themselves on the end of a surprising defeat at the hands of Fulham and an Aleksandar Mitrovic penalty at the Vitality.
Bournemouth were made to pay for squandered chances throughout the first and second periods, leaving and end to end encounter to be decided from the penalty spot.
The Cherries were dealt an injury blow prior to kick off, as Adam Smith picked up a knock in the warm up and was forced to surrender his place to Junior Stanislas, leaving Eddie Howe with two makeshift full backs in Stanislas and Nathan Ake.
Despite this the home side made a very positive start, as Ryan Fraser’s delightful ball in the first minute was not converted by frontman Callum Wilson.
Just a mere two minutes later Fulham gloveman Sergio Rico did brilliantly to palm away Ake’s bouncing header from a Fraser corner.
Fulham were able to settle for the following ten minutes and matched the home side in retaining possession; with an early injury to Stanislas aiding their cause. However, another chance was to go begging for the Cherries.
Dan Gosling and Fraser worked the ball excellently down Fulham’s right. This resulted in the latter driving a lovely low ball across the Fulham box leaving Joshua King with the goal at his mercy.
The Norwegian, however, went for power and sent his effort high of Rico’s goal.
The home side were nearly made to pay for that squandered chance as a well worked move down Bournemouth’s left resulted in a looping ball towards Mitrovic at the back post.
However, the Serb’s attempted volley mirrored King’s effort and flew over Boruc’s crossbar; leaving both sides ruing missed openings.
In a jam packed first period, Artur Boruc was also on hand to brilliantly get down and divert Denis Odoi’s firm header away from goal, leaving the first half goalless despite the tempo of the game.
The second half began with the away side on top, as Calum Chambers’ looping cross was headed over by Ryan Babel, who arguably should have done better with only Boruc to beat.
The Cottagers were then awarded a penalty a mere three minutes later as substitute Jack Simpson recklessly kicked over Mitrovic.
The Serbian international dispatched his penalty calmly, sending Boruc the wrong way and giving already relegated Fulham the lead, silencing the home end.
Bournemouth searched for a rapid response and continuously looked for David Brooks running in behind Maxime Le Marchand.
However, Scott Parker’s men were able to graft more opportunities and were it wasn’t for a last minute challenge from Chris Mepham to deny Seri, would have found themselves two up.
The Cherries were able to muster one more big chance as substitute Dominic Solanke somehow squandered a one on one with Rico after the keeper had palmed Wilson’s shot into a dangerous area.
Despite this the visitors were able to hold on with somewhat a sense of ease commencing the end and seen the game out, leaving Eddie Howe’s men in desperate need of some more points to secure survival.
Bournemouth XI: Boruc, Stanislas, Mepham, Cook, Ake, Brooks, Gosling, Lerma, Fraser, King, Wilson.
Substitutes: Begovic, Mousset, Ofoborh, Hyndman, Simpson, Solanke, Surridge.