It was honours even in the South Coast Derby as AFC Bournemouth squandered a halftime lead in a 1-1 draw against Southampton in the Premier League.
Southampton looked very threatening during extended spells of possession in the first half, but it was the Cherries who were clinical on the counter attack, taking the lead thanks to a composed finish from Ryan Fraser less than five minutes before the break. Southampton came flying out of the blocks in the second half and substitute Nathan Redmond turned the game in his side’s favour, finding Charlie Austin to earn the Saints a point.
Eddie Howe made five changes from the side that slumped to an extremely disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Burnley in midweek, with Jermain Defoe returning to the starting XI along with Junior Stanislas, who had just recovered from injury. Fraser, Lewis Cook and Adam Smith also came in as the Cherries looked to beat Southampton for the first time since the 2015/16 season.
Hard fought first half with chances for both sides
The opening 10 minutes were very cagey, and Southampton were looking the more threatening of the two sides. The Saints had a great opportunity from their second corner of the game on 11 minutes as Virgil Van Dijk met the cross and flicked his header across goal narrowly wide of the post. The visitors went close again soon after, with Jeremy Pied whipping in an inviting delivery which was met by Dusan Tadic, who headed fractions over the bar.
With 20 minutes on the clock it was the Cherries time to have their first notable efforts on goal. Smith’s shot from the edge of the area took a deflection and found its way to Defoe, whose first-time effort was brilliantly denied by a reaction save from Fraser Forster. The Southampton keeper was called to action moments later and got down well to parry a diving header from Nathan Ake.
On the half hour mark there were calls for a penalty as Sofiane Boufal appeared to wipe out Smith as he cut in from the right-hand side on the edge of the area. Although it looked like a penalty in real time replays suggested that despite there being contact the Bournemouth fullback did go down rather spectacularly. Referee John Moss booked the defender for diving.
Southampton went close moments later after Austin forced Asmir Begovic into a parrying save which made its way straight to Tadic. The Serbian struck the ball sweetly on the volley, but the effort was well blocked by Simon Francis out for a corner.
With less than five minutes to go before the break the home side piled on the pressure as Charlie Daniels had a stunning effort on goal from long range with the outside of the boot. Moments later Bournemouth took the lead after great pressure from Joshua King saw him steal the ball from Wesley Hoedt. His square pass then found Andrew Surman who calmly laid the ball off to Fraser. The ‘Wee Man’ slotted the ball into the net with a composed finish to open the scoring and send the Dean Court crowd into jubilation.
Redmond Inspires Saints Second Half Revival
At the start of the second half Redmond came on to replace James Ward-Prowse and the winger, who has been in the headlines this week, turned the game on its head with a brilliant performance.
Prior to the Saints revival, the home side had a great chance to double their lead. King’s shot across goal took a slight deflection to beat Forster but the shot was heading narrowly wide. Stanislas desperately scrambled to try and get to the ball but could not slide in early enough to slot the ball into the net.
On the hour mark Francis made an inspired block to deny Tadic from two yards out as Southampton continued their onslaught on the Cherries goal. Less than one minute later the visitors drew level after a good square pass from Redmond found Austin. The forward applied a routine finish to make that three goals in his last three Premier League games.
With the visitors on top they should have taken the lead a few minutes later as a blistering counter attack finished with a cross/shot from Bertrand. The effort flashed across goal narrowly wide but Austin was waiting in the middle for the square pass and what would have been a certain second goal for the striker.
As full time approached both sides remained positive and went for the win, each having a golden chance. First the Cherries went close after a great shot from King on turn was parried by Forster straight to substitute Callum Wilson’s feet. Agonisingly for him the ball came at him so fast that he could not get it under the control and the ball bounced straight off him wide of the post. Southampton almost snatched a winner after another excellent cross from Bertrand found Austin again, who climbed well but headed narrowly high and wide of the near post.
AFC Bournemouth had a corner in the last action of the game and Ake met the cross but headed over the bar and with that the full-time whistle blew and the spoils were shared in the South Coast Derby for the second fixture in a row. Next up for the Cherries, a trip to Selhurst Park to face struggling Crystal Palace on Saturday.