Bournemouth looked to escape from the relegation zone on Saturday afternoon, hoping that they’d be able to claim a shock result over high-flying Fulham at the Vitality Stadium. The Cottagers sit 9th in the Premier League, narrowly above their neighbours Chelsea.
BOU: Neto; Kelly, Senesi, Stephens, Smith; Anthony, Lerma, Rothwell, Ouattara; Billing; Solanke
FUL: Leno; Robinson, Ream, Diop, Tete; Palhinha, Reed; Solomon, Pereira, Decordova-Reid; Vinicius
Fulham started well, playing out from the back against Bournemouth’s high press. The Cherries thought they should have been awarded an early penalty as Dango Ouattara was hauled to the ground inside the box when he attempted to get on the end of Dominic Solanke’s low cross – but the referee waved away his appeals.
It was Fulham that took the lead though, as Manor Solomon found Harrison Reed inside the box. The midfielder laid it off to Andreas Pereira, and the Brazilian sent Neto the wrong way before rifling a first-time shot into the back of the net.
Fulham’s defence wasn’t really tested by the Cherries early on though, until Dango Ouattara send a shot whistling just past the right post – but the winger appeared to get the ball stuck under his feet before striking it, and couldn’t get a clean connection with the ball.
The game heated up before half-time, as Andreas Pereira attempted to bag his second of the game in sensational style with a bicycle kick from Bobby Decordova-Reid’s cross – but he sent his strike just wide of the post! Bournemouth should have equalised ahead of the interval as Dominic Solanke’s strike was saved by Bernd Leno, shortly before Dango Ouattara clattered an effort off the underside of the crossbar!
The Cherries started the second half strongly though, as Ryan Christie looked to make an instant impact off the bench but his effort was denied by Tim Ream on the goal-line. Marcus Tavernier found the equaliser minutes later though, as the other Bournemouth substitute cut inside from the right flank, curling the ball over Leno from the edge of the box before it dipped and nestled in the back of the net!
Dominic Solanke looked to put the hosts ahead soon after, but once again Tim Ream was able to get back and make a crucial block to keep the scores level. Jefferson Lerma was the next to try and test Leno with a shot from the edge of the box, but a deflection from Harrison Reed saw the ball land on the roof of the net.
The Cherries were well and truly beginning to dominate, as Ryan Christie unleashed another shot on goal – but Bernd Leno was able to parry it away. His defenders couldn’t clear it fully though, and Dominic Solanke pounced to poke it home, sending Bournemouth 2-1 up and provisionally out of the relegation zone into 15th!
Five minutes of added time gave Fulham one last chance to rescue a point – but Marco Silva’s side were unable to do so. It’s a huge win for the Cherries, who now look to turn their season around and continue to build points in their bid to escape the chaotic relegation dogfight.