It was not a 40th Birthday to celebrate for AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe after he saw his side slump to a 2-1 defeat at home to Burnley.
In a lacklustre performance from the Cherries the team never looked like creating notable chances and the scoreline somewhat flattered them against an excellent Burnley side who have now climbed up to sixth in the Premier League table.
The Clarets record signing Chris Wood was the star man as he returned to the starting line up and opened the scoring after 37 minutes with a tap in after being a real threat all first half.
Robbie Brady doubled the visitors lead with an excellent strike 20 minutes after the break and the game looked all but over. Joshua King pulled one back for the home side with 10 minutes to go but it was all in vain as the Cherries three match unbeaten run came to an end.
Howe made one change to the side that toughed out a 0-0 draw away at Swansea City on Saturday, with skipper Simon Francis returning from suspension to replace Adam Smith. Jermain Defoe was also back among the substitutes having missed the match with Huddersfield and against the Swans due to injury.
These two sides last met back in May in the Cherries final home game of the season, where the home side celebrated a 2-1 victory thanks to a late King winner. Burnley won the reverse fixture at Turf Moor 3-2, so this clash always looked likely to finish with a tight scoreline.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley came flying out of the blocks and piled on the pressure in the opening five minutes with a series of corners. Wood’s header from the third set piece flicked off of the top of the bar and the striker came close again less than 10 minutes later after he struck the ball into the ground and the bounce forced Asmir Begovic into a great sprawling save.
Jeff Hendrick came close on 34 minutes after his close range goal-bound effort was only denied by a last ditch sliding challenge from Steve Cook.
Burnley opened the scoring after great work from Brady on the far side found Wood, whose close range finish took a slight deflection off Nathan Ake into the net to give the Clarets a half time lead.
After the break the Cherries looked to respond and Francis had a good chance on the hour mark to level from a corner but the defender headed well wide. Less than five minutes later Brady’s excellent strike took a slight deflection off Andrew Surman to go out of Begovic’s reach and put the game seemingly beyond the home side.
King gave the home side hope on 79 minutes after a great chested pass from Callum Wilson found substitute Defoe, whose effort from a tight angle was parried by Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope. The rebound found its way to King, and it was his first time finish which found its way into the roof of the net.
Ryan Fraser came off the bench and provided a spark but he fired a fine long-range effort narrowly wide of the post, which turned out to be the home side’s last real chance of the game. With that, the Cherries unbeaten run came to an end and Burnley travelled home celebrating their fourth win in five Premier League matches.
Up next for AFC Bournemouth, a huge match against Southampton in the local derby on Sunday afternoon.