Wilson levels late for the Cherries
- Graham Scott
Striker Callum Wilson bagged a dramatic late leveller as bragging rights were shared following an absorbing derby at St Mary’s Stadium.
Wilson struck four minutes from time as Eddie Howe’s team stuck to their task to claim a point from a see-saw Premier League affair.
A pulsating first half started with the Saints in the ascendancy and deservedly in front through Shane Long’s 12th-minute opener.
But after weathering the rest of an early storm, the Cherries hit back to turn the contest on its head and reached the break leading 2-1.
A stunning team move, which started deep inside their own half, ended with Dan Gosling restoring parity in the 20th minute.
And following a tactical switch, which saw Ryan Fraser come off the bench, Callum Wilson fired the visitors ahead from close range after 32 minutes.
James Ward-Prowse levelled for the hosts with a 25-yard drive 10 minutes into the second half before Matt Targett’s 67th-minute header made it 3-2.
However, although chances were limited for the Cherries after half-time, they stuck to their guns and were rewarded when Wilson stuck four minutes from time.
Nathaniel Clyne and Jack Simpson were restored to the Cherries starting line-up as boss Eddie Howe made two changes following the 1-0 defeat by Fulham seven days ago.
Clyne came in for Junior Stanislas, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury, while Simpson replaced Fraser who was named on the bench.
The hosts made a flying start and forced the Cherries to defend in numbers during the early stages.
Firstly, Chris Mepham’s timely block diverted a shot from Nathan Redmond out for a corner.
And from the flag-kick taken by Ward-Prowse, the ball eventually fell to Jan Bednarek whose effort from close range was hacked away by Jefferson Lerma.
Skipper Steve Cook then threw himself bravely in front of a piledriver from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as the Saints continued to assert.
The Cherries’ former Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc hared off his line to save at the feet of Redmond after Danny Ings had slipped the ball into his teammate’s path.
Long drew first blood for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team when he tucked the ball past Boruc after being picked out by Redmond’s cut-back in the 12th minute.
The striker, who had netted the fastest goal in Premier League history during the Saints’ midweek draw at Watford, followed up to register his fourth in their past five games.
Redmond went close to doubling the lead when he tried his luck from 25 yards, the frontman’s effort flashing past the upright.
Despite all their early pressure, the hosts were stunned when the Cherries levelled with a quite breathtaking equaliser after 20 minutes.
A sweeping counter-attack, started by Lerma inside his own penalty area, was finished emphatically at the opposite end just seconds later by Gosling.
Having broken up a Saints move, Lerma found Joshua King who embarked on a driving run into enemy territory.
King then fed Callum Wilson just outside the 18-yard box who, in turn, threaded the ball to Gosling, the midfielder firing past Angus Gunn to make it 1-1.
Mepham was replaced by Fraser midway through the first half before the Cherries had a huge left-off after Lerma had inadvertently gifted the ball to Long.
Republic of Ireland international Long saw his initial shot saved by Boruc before he contrived to hit the post from the follow-up as the goal gaped in front of him.
The Saints were thankful to Bednarek for preventing King from taking aim after he had been teed up by Brooks – but there was no reprieve as the Cherries went ahead in the 32nd minute.
Brooks played a corner to the feet of Fraser who hoisted a cross into the danger zone which was cleared by the Saints defence.
However, it fell to Brooks whose low drive from distance through a crowded 18-yard box was parried by Saints goalkeeper Gunn.
But he was unable to hold Brooks’s strike and Wilson was on hand to slot the loose ball into an unguarded net to register his 14th goal for club and country this season.
The Cherries had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Graham Scott after King had gone to ground under a Valery challenge six minutes before the end of an absorbing first 45 minutes.
Ryan Bertrand drilled a shot over the crossbar after a Ward-Prowse corner had found him at the start of the second half before Redmond also fired off target just minutes later.
Simpson headed a Fraser corner into the side netting before a second switch for the Cherries saw Emerson Hyndman replace an injured Gosling seven minutes after half-time.
After the Cherries had appealed in vain for a foul on Brooks, Ward-Prowse levelled for the Saints when he beat Boruc with a low 25-yard drive in the 55th minute.
Boruc was equal to Ings’s flicked effort and then saved a speculative long-range shot from the former Cherries striker.
But the Polish goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Targett giving the Saints the lead midway through the second half, the substitute’s header from a Valery cross nestling in the top corner of the net.
Although chances were at a premium for the Cherries during the second half, Wilson made no mistake when one came his way four minutes from time.
A firm challenge from Lerma saw him win the ball near the halfway line before he fed King who then slipped it to Fraser on the left wing.
And after the Scotsman had despatched a low cross into the danger zone, Wilson was there to apply the final touch.
Only a fine one-handed save from Gunn prevented Wilson from recording a hat-trick and winning the day for the visitors after he had been sent clean through by a Brooks pass two minutes later.