AFC Bournemouth marked the final home game of the Premier League season with the perfect result, seeing off Burnley 2-1 to reach 45 points, surpassing their total tally from last season.
After a slow start to the game with few chances Junior Stanislas gave the home side the lead after 25 minutes, taking them to the half time break in control. Eddie Howe’s side continued to press for a crucial second goal throughout the second period, but a well crafted equaliser converted by Sam Vokes threatened to put a dampener on the day. Josh King delighted the home crowd and granted them their wish of a final home game victory just two minutes after being pegged back, slotting home to secure a first win over Burnley since 1998.
Few chances in the first half
The home side created the first opportunity just two minutes in after Stanislas produced an inviting cross into the box in an attempt to pick out Lys Mousset, but the ball was put behind by a Burnley defender for a corner. The opening 20 minutes were very quiet, with the ball being knocked around in the middle of the park for the most part as the Cherries struggled to get behind a solid Clarets’ back line.
Howe’s side made the breakthrough after 25 minutes as a great lofted long range pass from Lewis Cook found Stanislas. The winger did well to control the ball with his chest and hold off the defender, before being able to turn. The number 19 then curled an effort round Tom Heaton to squeeze the ball the right side of the far post.
In a game which was crying out for a goal, that finish sparked the match into life. Just after the half hour mark the visitors began to create chances, peppering Artur Boruc’s goal. Scott Arfield had Burnley’s best chance as his left foot strike curled just the wrong side of the post. The Clarets’ midfielder then had another real opportunity right at the end of the first half as the ball found its way to his feet in the box. Arfield could not quite get his feet sorted in time, allowing the onrushing Boruc to get into position, make himself big and collect the ball to snuff out the last chance of the half.
Both sides struggle in front of goal
Marc Pugh enjoyed a fruitful second half and delighted the fans with his quick feet and skill to make the Burnley defenders look like fools. The winger fired in a low dangerous cross less than 10 minutes in but none of his team mates could stretch to get a meaningful touch.
Arfield had been the Clarets’ biggest threat going forward throughout the match and came very close on 57 minutes, beating Boruc only to see the ball curl just past the post as he aimed to put the ball in the top right hand corner. Both sides had half chances to find a goal but could not find a way to put the ball into the back of the net.
The Clarets’ crash the party
With just the one goal in it, the final 10 minutes were full of action as the crowd at The Vitality were desperate to see their team get over the line and secure the win. That target took a huge blow on 83 minutes as Burnley drew level, converting one of their few chances in the game. Substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson whipped an excellent cross to find Vokes, whose glancing header looped into the bottom left corner.
King strikes late again
The home crowd were not deflated for long. King, who up to this point had a quiet game by his standards, stepped up to be the match winner yet again for Howe’s side. Substitute Ryan Fraser latched on to an over the top through ball and squared the ball to the Norwegian striker, who finished coolly past Heaton. That was King’s 13th Premier League goal in 2017, only Everton’s Romelu Lukaku has scored more this calendar year.
With that chance converted AFC Bournemouth held on for the win and earned another precious three points in the top flight. That result see’s them surpass the 42 points they achieved last campaign and takes them up to 10th in the table with just one game to go, Leicester City away next Sunday.