AFC Bournemouth will lament wasting plenty of opportunities as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against 10-man Sunderland at The Vitality Stadium.
The Black Cats recovered from a goal down early on, with Jermain Defoe scoring the winning penalty to secure the club’s first Premier League win of the season at the 11th attempt.
The Cherries did everything but score in the final 25 minutes, failing to capitalise on the man advantage as Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford shone, preserving his sides lead with a plethora of decent saves.
Bright start from the Cherries
It all started so well for Eddie Howe’s men as they came out on the front foot, with Harry Arter firing a decent strike after 10 minutes, forcing Pickford into making his first notable save. Just over a minute later the Cherries took the lead after Adam Smith squared the ball to the approaching Dan Gosling, who could not miss as he chested the ball into the net to give the home side the lead.
The South Coast side continued to apply the pressure, with Junior Stanislas looking lively on his return from injury, hitting the side netting with a first time effort after being played in by Josh King after 17 minutes. The pair linked up well again 10 minutes later and this time it was King who had the effort, which had to be parried away by Pickford.
Sunderland strike back
Just after the half hour mark the Cherries began to rue missed opportunities as Sunderland equalised after Victor Anichebe showed real strength, holding off Smith as he rifled home the shot off the underside of the bar and in. That strike from the Nigerian was his first Premier League goal since netting against Newcastle in May 2015, 546 days ago.
From that point on Sunderland grew into the game, Paddy McNair forced Artur Boruc into making a good save at his near post before Duncan Watmore put the ball into the back of the net in stoppage time, but was correctly deemed offside.
The Black Cats start the second half strongly
At the start of the second half Benik Afobe came on to replace Jordon Ibe and went through on goal almost immediately, but referee Mike Dean pulled back the play for a foul after he deemed that the Ivorian striker pulled back the Sunderland defender.
The Black Cats controlled the opening 15 minutes of the half, looking threatening going forward, whipping in dangerous crosses and forcing Boruc into making some important stops.
The game took another turning point on the hour mark after Steven Pienaar fouled Gosling to pick up a second yellow card, just the fourth sending off in his Premier League career. The Cherries looked to seize the moment and make the most of the man advantage as Stanislas saw his effort curl away from goal and clip the outside of the post before Jack Wilshere poked a close range effort just wide five minutes later.
Having been under the cosh, Sunderland took advantage on the counter attack, with Anichebe causing yet more problems for Smith as the right back slid in from behind and brought him down to give the visitors a penalty. Defoe stepped up and coolly converted to put the Black Cats in front with 15 minutes to play.
Howe’s side camp in Sunderland’s half pushing for the equaliser
With the Cherries behind we had a frantic finish at The Vitality Stadium as they pushed for an equaliser. On 76 minutes Afobe agonisingly dragged his shot wide from close range and then lashed another effort wide seven minutes later.
Bournemouth then created three decent chances in quick succession, substitute Ryan Fraser’s free kick curled and dipped, hitting the top of the net, Steve Cook headed wide from a couple of yards out and then Pickford made the save of the day to superbly deny King’s powerful strike. The missed opportunities left both the players and fans exasperated in frustration and disbelief.
The Cherries last chance to rescue a point fell to substitute Lys Mousset in stoppage time, but the Premier League debutant stabbed his effort just wide, leaving Howe’s men out of time to salvage a draw.
Bournemouth will need to bounce back after the international break, after such a positive run of results the last two games have resulted in defeats against sides below them in the table. There is work to be done before Howe’s side travel to Stoke in two week’s time.