AFC Bournemouth had a shot cleared off the line, hit the crossbar and had a strong penalty appeal turned down as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at The Riverside Stadium against Middlesbrough.
The newly promoted side won their first home game of the season back in the Premier League courtesy of goals from Gaston Ramirez and Stewart Downing either side of half time.
Bournemouth dominate the first half but find themselves behind
After a quiet opening 10 minutes the first real chance of the match came Bournemouth’s way after Jack Wilshere’s corner delivery found Josh King. The forward fired towards goal but Adam Clayton was on the post to clear the ball off the line.
Five minutes later the home side had a penalty appeal after Charlie Daniels appeared to clip Adama Traore in the box. The winger’s case was not helped by his decision to not go down to ground immediately, instead choosing to delay his fall. Referee Stuart Attwell decided that there was nothing doing as he pointed for a goal kick.
In the 27th minute Wilshere played a delightful ball over the top into the box, picking out King, who controlled the ball superbly with his chest and struck his shot on the half volley. The Norwegian striker was denied by a wonderful finger tips save from Victor Valdes, as the Spanish goalkeeper turned the ball onto the bar.
Valdes was lucky not to go from hero to zero just a few minutes later after he wiped out King in the box, clattering into him as he unsuccessfully attempted to win the ball. It appeared that neither referee Attwell or the linesman saw the incident as play continued despite appeals from the Bournemouth players.
After a dominant period of play from the Cherries, an easily cleared corner led to a deadly counter attack from the home side. Ramirez intercepted the ball inside his own half and carried the ball all the way forward into the opposition box before cutting inside to catch out the Bournemouth defenders; the Uruguayan slotted home past Artur Boruc to give Middlesbrough the lead after 39 minutes. That strike was the midfielder’s first Premier League goal since December 2014 (vs Sunderland).
There were 3093 days between Stewart Downing’s goal v Bournemouth and his last in the Premier League for Boro (May 08). Photo: Getty
Downing doubles Boro’s lead
The home side went into the break with a 1-0 lead and doubled their advantage just 10 minutes into the second half. Traore whipped in a sumptuous cross with the outside of the boot to find Alvaro Negredo’s head. The lone striker knocked the ball down with his head to find Downing, who promptly swept the ball home to help his side score just their third goal in the second half of a Premier League game this season.
On the hour mark Benik Afobe replaced Callum Wilson and the substitute almost made an instant impact after his powerful header forced a save from Valdes. Just over a minute later Negredo had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed as he went through on goal one on one but tamely put his effort into the grateful arms of Boruc.
The visitors finish strongly but draw a blank
Bournemouth had to play the final 10 minutes of the game with 10 men after Andrew Surman was forced off after sustaining a hamstring injury. Agonisingly for the visitors, manager Eddie Howe had already used all three substitutes after Dan Gosling had replaced Harry Arter just a few minutes earlier.
Despite being a man down the Cherries ended the match strongly. Daniels turned down a great shooting opportunity in the box, instead electing to pull the ball back to Smith, who’s shot was blocked. Moments later King fired wide with an acrobatic effort and a free kick from the Bournemouth left back found Afobe’s head late on, but the forward could only head the ball off target.
The full time whistle was greeted with rapturous applause from the home fans after their side secured their first home win of the season and more importantly earnt themselves three precious points in the quest for survival. As for Bournemouth, they will look to bounce back swiftly as they face bottom of the table Sunderland at home next Saturday.