Cherries frustrated in goalless Foxes draw
- Graham Scott
AFC Bournemouth did everything but score as they were forced to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw with dogged Leicester City.
Scoreless at half time despite Jermain Defoe hitting the woodwork, the home pressure continued after the break, but despite numerous chances the scoreline finished as it had started.
The Premier League point moves the Cherries to four after seven matches this season.
Eddie Howe made two changes to his starting line-up following last weekend’s match against Everton, Lewis Cook coming in for his fist Premier League start of the campaign along with Marc Pugh; Jordon Ibe and Dan Gosling missing out.
A boisterous Vitality Stadium greeted the two teams onto the pitch, both sets of supporters aware of the game's importance ahead of the international break.
Within three minutes there was high drama. Joshua King's low cross was directed onto the crossbar by Defoe, and as the ball rattled loose Marc Pugh's close-range shot was deflected wide by the hand of Danny Simpson.
Pugh's shouts for a penalty were sustained, but referee Graham Scott was unmoved in signalling for just a corner.
A stunning Junior Stanislas ball through set Defoe free on goal. Under pressure from Wes Morgan, Pugh was set up but the winger's low shot was dragged off target.
King tested Schmeichael's feet with a strike from an angle, the hosts continuing their rapid-fire start. And the Norwegian was soon calling for another spot kick after being sent tumbling by Harry Maguire, again not given.
Midway through the half and the pace was beginning to relent, if only slightly. On the break, Pugh laid square for King, but the striker's connection wasn't clean and the ball spurred wide.
After a slow start, Leicester were growing into the contest, though into the final five minutes before the break the Cherries again came close, Pugh's 14-yard strike deflecting narrowly over the bar.
Charlie Daniels looked for another goal-of-the-season contender, but fired some way over, the half ending with goals despite the home side's attacking persistence.
The Foxes brought on Vincent Iborra to start the second period, though it was the Cherries continuing in the ascendancy. Defoe's determination on the left touchline saw a ball squared for King, his shot deflecting kindly for Schmeichel to gather.
The home fans were noisily urging their side forwards, Stanislas letting fly from 20 yards but seeing his effort gathered by Schmeichel.
The pressure rising, neat interplay involving King and Daniels found Pugh free on the byline, but his pull back was claimed by Schmeichal once again.
From nothing, Leicester could have snatched a lead when Jamie Vardy caused concern under a ball slung into the area, it broke to Shinji Okazaki but the Japanese striker could only fire wide from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.
The dangerous Pugh was given space 25-yards from goal, fizzing in a shot on his weaker right foot that flew only just past the Foxes' far post.
Pugh was again at the centre of the action, curling a shot wide with his final contribution of the game, Ibe on to replace the winger for the final 22 minutes.
The Bournemouth substitute soon rolled back for Cook to shoot, Defoe nipping in to redirect the effort six yards out but forcing the ball over the bar.
Defoe then scampered onto ball, the ball worked back for Andrew Surman, the midfielder curling wide from 18 yards out.
There was a third vociferous home shout for a penalty when Defoe scrambled into room but was bundled over, the officials still unmoved.
Stanislas forced Schmeichel into a near-post save, the Cherries forcing a succession of corner kicks - though the ball just wouldn't fall to a home player in the box.
Wilfred Ndidi's volley was blocked by Nathan Ake, but it remained the hosts on the offensive, Cook's through ball almost perfect for Defoe, though the 'keeper managed to get there first.
Benik Afobe was introduced in the home side's second change, Defoe removed as manager Howe looked for a moment of incision to win his side the match.
However, the one chance the Cherries craved never arrived with the home fans earning just a point despite their energetic endeavours.