Written by Antonio Diaz (@antonio14_diaz) from the Vitality stadium
Callum Wilson finally ended his goal drought as Bournemouth collected a much needed win against a spirited Brighton side.
The England striker slotted in The Cherries third of the night after Harry Wilson and a Pascal Gross own goal had set Howe’s men on course for their first Premier League win since mid-December. Aaron Mooy managed to notch a late consolation to deny the excellent Ramsdale and Bournemouth a clean sheet and ensure the tie finished 3-1.
Bournemouth came into this game desperate for the points following their recent dreadful form. As could be expected from two-sides lingering in the bottom half of the table, it was a very slow start to the game with very few clear-cut chances. Brighton dominated all the early possession, demonstrating their new found brand of attractive football.
Brighton almost made their early dominance pay after 27 minutes, Aaron Mooy played a fantastic reverse pass into Maupay who had his snapshot saved by Ramsdale. With half an hour played the crowds frustration was growing as The Cherries struggled to get a foothold in the match.
However, shortly after Bournemouth had a massive chance. A great bit of play down the right-hand side saw Solanke break through the Brighton back-line and pull the ball back into Rico’s path who’s shot could only find the side netting. But it wasn’t long before The Cherries got the goal they craved so badly. On 35 minutes a long ball from Billing wasn’t cleared by Dunk and Solanke gathered the second ball, calmly finding Harry Wilson who smashed it in to give the home side the lead.
Wilson’s strike proved the catalyst for a reinvigorated Bournemouth side, and five minutes later and it was 2-0 to Eddie Howe’s team. A corner from Bournemouth ended up in the back of the net, with a Brighton man applying the final touch. Gross was holding onto Wilson and it deflected off him and into his own net. The perfect five minutes, the Cherries two up at the break.
The second half started and apart from a Billing header from a corner there wasn’t much to shout about, with the game mirroring the opening stages of the first half. After 59 minutes Brighton made a triple change as they went in search of a way back into the game.
The left-hand side was dangerous for Bournemouth throughout the second half and after 61 minutes The Cherries created an opening. Fraser made good progress down the left flank but Harry Wilson’s shot was blocked well by Dunk. Brighton then had chances of their own, in quick succession Ramsdale pulled off two fantastic stops. First, a great save after Maupay found space on the edge of the box, and then a couple of minutes later Aaron Mooy whipped a bending shot which was heading for the top corner before the determined Ramsdale pushed it over the bar.
After excellent work from Ramsdale at one end, Callum Wilson ended his drought at the other. A swift counter attack ended with Wilson rounding Ryan and slotting home, putting The Cherries 3-0 up and in a very comfortable position. They could almost touch the three precious points.
Everyone in the Vitality thought it had got even better when Ryan Fraser curled a lovely effort that looked destined for the back of the net, only for it to drift just wide. However, things got a little nervy when Aaron Mooy pulled one back for the visitors. He smashed a ball towards the top corner, and it hit the inside of the post before finally beating Ramsdale.
5 minutes later, Trossard showed a lovely piece of skill before shooting just wide. That was Brighton’s last chance of the match and for the final minutes the Bournemouth fans were in full voice. A massive 3 points for the Cherries.
It took them a while to get going but after the first goal they looked like their old self. If this is how they perform in the relegation battle I’m sure they will be staying up.
After the match Eddie Howe said: “The win feels big at the moment, but I don’t want to build it up too much. The fans come every week and support us, and we’ve let them down recently. I’m very thankful we’ve performed and scored goals tonight for them.”
When asked about the fight for survival Howe added: “We are desperate to keep our Premier League status. We are good enough; we just need that feeling to play our football.”
Bournemouth’s next match is Monday night against Arsenal in the FA Cup, a game in which they will hope to keep their momentum going. After that its three big games for The Cherries as they face fellow strugglers Aston Villa at home, before travelling to Sheffield United and Burnley.