Stanislas strikes to secure record-high Premier League finish
- Lee Mason
AFC Bournemouth confirmed a top-half Premier League finish as they held firm late on to claim a 1-1 draw away at Leicester City on the final day.
Junior Stanislas gave the visitors the lead after just 59 seconds, Jamie Vardy equalising for Leicester six minutes into the second period.
The King Power faithful sensed a late winner for their side, but the Cherries held their defensive nerve and their grip on a point to ensure they placed in the top-flight's top ten for the first time.
There were four switches to the Cherries starting XI from Burnley eight days ago. Ryan Allsop, Andrew Surman, Dan Gosling and Ryan Fraser came in for the injured trio of Artur Boruc, Harry Arter and Joshua King, with Lewis Cook absent due to his involvement in the under-20s World Cup in South Korea with England.
The Cherries started with an almighty bang as they took the lead within a minute, Stanislas scoring the club's 100th Premier League goal.
Steve Cook's ball found Lys Mousset who turned his man and, after exchanging passes with Ryan Fraser, his shot rebounded to Stanislas, the midfielder slotting a finish under Kasper Schmeichel for the early opener.
Stanislas fired over the bar from range while the Foxes threatened when Christian Fuchs flicked a corner just ahead of Islam Slimani diving to connect at the far post.
The sun out in the East Midlands, a Ben Chilwell cross drifted just over the head of target man Slimani before Gosling forced Schmeichel into a stunning save as he drove from 23 yards.
Against the outgoing champions the Cherries were oozing class, confidently passing the ball around the final third with Mousset testing the home 'keeper's handling from just outside the box.
The hosts broke, and after Riyad Mahrez had stayed onside to receive a cross he cut inside and forced Allsop into a good blocking save.
Leicester twice came close to a leveller as Yohan Benalouane turned in the box but saw his effort deflect narrowly wide, Slimani then going equally as close with a header from the resulting corner.
Closing in on the break, Vardy ran forwards and threaded a fine ball through for Mahrez, but a well-timed Charlie Daniels sliding challenge kept the Algerian at bay - and the Cherries ahead at half time.
No changes for the start of the second half, Leicester attacked from the off; Wilfred Ndidi heading off target.
However, the hosts were back on level terms on 51 minutes through Vardy.
Chilwell's good cross was headed back across goal by Slimani with the England international ready to poach and force the ball home from a yard out.
Adam Smith won a free kick for Bournemouth 25 yards from goal, though Surman's left-footed effort swerved just wide.
On the hour Vardy had the ball in the net for a second time, though the goal was ruled out due to a swiftly-raised offside flag.
A double change saw Jordon Ibe and Afobe enter the fray in place of Marc Pugh and Mousset.
Allsop pulled off a brilliant low save to thwart Vardy, running clear and shooting across goal after being played in by Mahrez.
The game continuing at a fair pace and the home side firmly in the ascendancy, Slimani swivelled to volley a strike wide of the target.
The Cherries 'keeper was again in the thick of the action to tip a Mahrez header over the bar, the Foxes increasing the intensity in search of the game's third goal.
With 18 minutes to go, Matt Worthington came on in place of Fraser and became the second AFC Bournemouth Academy graduate to play in the Premier League.
Ndidi rolled a shot wide and an unmarked Slimani criminally missed a back-post header as the visitors hung on to their share of the points.