Cherries top of the Championship after emphatic comeback against Reading

vitality

Written by Sam Greasley-Machin (@SG_Machin)

AFC Bournemouth came from two goals down against Reading to go top themselves with an empathic second half display with goals from Solanke, Danjuma and a sensational strike from Lewis Cook.

Reading had gone 2-0 up in the first half via Luca Joao and Sone Aluko but a dismal second half saw the Royals slip to yet another defeat.

Jason Tindall’s side were unbeaten at home going into this match but would be without Joshua King due to a case of Covid-19. Veljko Paunovic, on the other hand, welcomed back Liam Moore and Ovie Ejaria to his side, and Yakou Meite to the bench, as Reading came into this match still top, but having lost their last three games before the international break and looking to return to winning ways.

Based on previous meetings, that could be quite the challenge with Reading not beating Bournemouth since 2001, but started the match in great fashion in a bid to change that. 

Only four minutes into the affair Alfa Semedo found himself dancing through the Cherries box past two defenders and was tripped by an outstretched Asmir Begovic who tried to claim the ball. 

Begovic couldn’t make amends for his concession of the spot-kick as up-stepped Lucas Joao who struck the ball into the left-hand corner beyond the Bosnian for his seventh league goal of the campaign.

The away side had shouts for another penalty turned away on the ten-minute mark after Sone Aluko went to ground alongside Lloyd Kelly. Bournemouth began to threaten and Danjuma forced a routine save from Rafael seven minutes later with their first shot on goal.

In what was becoming an entertaining match between first and fifth, the Royals doubled their lead after some great play which saw Ovie Ejaria play through a revitalised Sone Aluko who struck across goal and made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute – with his first goal for the club since the 2018/19 season.

Dominating possession with 68% in the first half, Junior Stanislas forced a great save out of Rafael from a free-kick just outside the box in the last minute of injury time to keep the score 2-0 at the break.

During half-time in a bid to sure up at the back, Chris Mepham replaced Diego Rico, with Lloyd Kelly going out wide having been caught out a few times in the first half. A move that didn’t take long to pay dividends with Kelly whipping in an incredible ball from the left towards Dominic Solankle who tucked home 56 minutes into the game.

Having not played particularly well in the first half, that soon changed for the home side and only three minutes after scoring their first as Arnaut Danjuma added a second after being picked out by David Brooks on the left-hand side of the box and calmly slotted home beyond Rafael to make it 2-2.

Conceding two from their right-side in quick succession, Paunovic brought on two academy graduates in Tom Holmes and Michael Olise to replace Tomas Esteves and Sone Aluko in the 64th minute.

Bournemouth continued their empathic comeback when Lewis Cook hit a sensational strike from range which dipped and curled its way into the Reading net.

The Cherries weren’t done there as Begovic produced an incredible save from a Lucas Joao header at a corner to retain their lead and it was his Reading counterpart who gifted Solanke a second in the last minute of normal time.

Having come to clear the ball, Rafael got stuck in with his feet and lost out to Solanke who slotted home into an open net to complete the comeback in what was a great half for his side and a woeful performance from the visitors.

The three points for the Cherries mean the Dorset side continue their unbeaten home start and puts them top of the league, for the time being, as Reading drop to second and make it four loses on the bounce.

Line-ups

AFC Bournemouth – Begovic, Stacey, S. Cook, Kelly, Rico (Mpeham 45’), Lerma (Ofoborth 90+4’), L. Cook, Stanislas (Riquelme 77’), Brooks (Simpson 84’), Solanke, Danjuma

Reading – Rafael, Esteves (Holmes 64’), Moore, Morrison, Richards, Rinomhota, Laurent, Ejaria (Meite 74’), Semedo (Baldock 80’), Aluko (Olise 64’), Joao