Clinical Cherries outclass Foxes in six goal thriller

AFCB 4-2 Leicester

Report by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20) at Vitality Stadium.

Flying Scotsman Ryan Fraser was the star of the show as AFC Bournemouth outgunned Leicester City 4-2 at the Vitality Stadium.

Fraser, an injury doubt ahead of the clash, fired Cherries into a two-goal lead after sweeping through the Foxes defence and twice tucking neatly beyond Kasper Schmeichel.

A Josh King spot-kick extended Cherries’ lead before the half-time break, as the hapless visitors were subjected to a lesson in clinical finishing.

After the break Leicester battled to salvage a result, but received a further blow in the form of captain Wes Morgan’s dismissal. Adam Smith then slotted Cherries four goals to the good, before a late Foxes revival threatened to set up another grandstand finish on the south coast.

Goals from James Maddison and Marc Albrigton were only consolations for Claude Puel’s outfit, however, and Cherries held out for a deserved victory.

Manager Eddie Howe made one change from his side’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea, with skipper Simon Francis dropping out the XI along with a switch back to a 4-4-2 formation. Summer signing David Brooks was restored to the starting line-up.

The visitors also made one alteration to their side, following the 2-1 reverse against Liverpool before the international break. Foxes hitman Jamie Vardy returned from suspension, with Albrighton instead named among the substitutes.

It was the English striker who had the game’s earliest openings – a scuffed effort four minutes in after a defence-splitting pass from Maddison, shortly before Cherries goalkeeper Asmir Begovic raced off his line to smother at Vardy’s feet.

Fraser would soon begin to influence proceedings, and the Scot should have been awarded a penalty on 14 minutes after the wideman’s run inside the box was halted by Ricardo Pereira’s challenge.

But just four minutes later, Fraser would crucially open the scoring. A ball hoisted downfield was latched onto by Josh King, who span away from his marker and burst away at pace. The Norwegian then threaded a pass towards the unmarked Scot, who curled his effort beyond the plunging Schmeichel and into the far corner.

Callum Wilson almost immediately doubled Cherries’ lead, but could only rocket a drive wide of the target from a tight angle.

England international Harry Maguire was then fortunate to have not been shown his marching orders on 27 minutes. After picking up his first booking from hauling down Fraser, Maguire clattered into King on the cusp of the dugouts, incensing the Cherries technical area. But amid calls from the Vitality crowd for a red card, referee Craig Pawson kept his cards surprisingly pocketed.

The home crowd’s frustration almost increased tenfold shortly after the half-hour mark, after the Foxes squandered a golden chance to equalise. The lively Maddison played through Vardy, but the striker’s drive was beaten away by Begovic. The rebound fell back kindly to Maddison, but the Bosnian gloveman sprawled low and deflected the follow-up onto the crossbar.

The glaring miss was punished on 35 minutes, as Cherries doubled their lead with their second shot on target. The home side transitioned superbly from defence to attack through Wilson, who delicately picked out Fraser’s burst through the middle. The Scot resisted Maguire’s attention before sliding a finish across the turf and beyond Schmeichel.

Leicester’s horror afternoon took another lurching turn for the worst five minutes before the break, after full-back Pereira was penalised for a handball following a clever flick from King. The Norwegian stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick, handing Cherries a three-goal lead at half-time.

Wilson almost provided the perfect start to the second half, after pouncing on to Pereira’s poor pass and seeing his strike from close range superbly blocked by the recovering Maguire.

But the visitors continued to scrap despite the score line, and came close to finally beating Begovic on multiple occasions around the hour mark. Maddison’s strike from 20 yards was well handled by Cherries’ shot stopper, before Wilfried Ndidi glaringly headed over the crossbar from Rachid Ghezzal’s delivery.

The best chance of the Foxes’ flurry fell to Maguire, but the hulking centre-half’s flicked header was parried around the post by Begovic.

As tempers reached flashpoint among the Leicester ranks, they were reduced to ten men after Morgan’s second yellow card. The captain steamed into a full-blooded challenge on Dan Gosling and was promptly shown his marching orders by the man in the middle.

Schmeichel then superbly denied Cherries a fourth on 77 minutes, after King burst through on goal. The striker bent a low effort towards the near post, but the Foxes’ goalkeeper was alert to push round the post.

The home side wouldn’t be denied another goal for much longer, however. More tireless running from Fraser resulted in the Scot driving a low cross into the box, and Adam Smith was on hand to apply a crisp finish for Cherries’ fourth.

The visitors hunted for a consolation and found it three minutes from time, Maddison blasting a penalty beyond Begovic after Diego Rico was judged to have bundled over Pereira.

Substitute Albrighton then halved the arrears, after delicately guiding a header into the far corner. There was still time for Ben Chilwell to flash a drive across goal, before the full-time whistle signalled another impressive Cherries victory.

Cherries: Begovic, Smith, S. Cook, Ake, Rico, Brooks (Francis), Gosling, Lerma (L. Cook), Fraser, King (Mousset), Wilson

Unused substitutes: Boruc, Surman, Ibe, Defoe

Leicester: Schmeichel, Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, Mendy, Ghezzal (Albrighton), Maddison, Gray (Iheanacho), Vardy (Evans)

Unused substitutes: Ward, Amartey, Iborra, Fuchs

Referee: Craig Pawson