Burnley battle ends in late defeat
- Martin Atkinson
AFC Bournemouth were beaten by a a late Jay Rodriguez goal as they lost 1-0 to rugged Burnley in the wind and rain at Vitality Stadium.
Goalless and largely short of action in the opening 45 minutes, there were more yellow cards than clear openings - the Clarets picking up the majority of them - following the restart.
Dan Gosling shot wide and Chris Mepham headed the wrong side of the same post as the home pressure grew with the clock winding down, and the game looked set to finish goalless until Rodriguez's late goal.
Ashley Westwood lofted in a ball from the right and the substitute rose to smartly head home, much to home frustrations.
Eddie Howe kept an unchanged team from Stamford Bridge, while Callum Wilson returned from injury to take a place on the substitutes' bench.
With black clouds and regular bursts of rain heralding kick-off, Jeff Hendrick got the match under way, the away side in a sky blue strip at Vitality Stadium.
There was an early moment of worry as Ashley Barnes raised his boot to make contact with Simon Francis' head, the home skipper in some pain and receiving treatment from the club's medical team before being allowed to continue, head heavily strapped.
Scrappy in the first 15 minutes, both sides conceding possession regularly, the first effort of note came when some silky build-up play from Joshua King and Lewis Cook ended in Jefferson Lerma blasting a 25-yard effort over the bar.
Aaron Ramsdale caught a Burnley cross well under pressure, while Ryan Fraser's set piece was headed down by Mepham, but the ball was hacked away by a defender just as Gosling was set to pounce.
Burnley's rough-and-tumble tactics next saw James Tarkowski go straight through the back of Fraser in challenging for an aerial ball, the Bournemouth man taking a dangerous-looking thud to the head, the medical team soon onto the pitch again with the Scot bleeding.
While there was no little endeavour from the away side, chances were very much at a premium in the run up to half time, Westwood booked for a needless push on Diego Rico off the ball, the players soon making their way back down the tunnel goalless.
The Cherries made a change ahead of the restart, Wilson on for Cook, Howe opting for two strikers as he looked to find a route through the resolute Clarets rearguard.
Jack Stacey's swinging cross was just ahead of its targets before Fraser's centre was a foot in front of Wilson with Pope behind him relieved in gathering the ball, the rain now falling heavily around the ground.
Diego Rico and Ashley Barnes were both cautioned for a tussle, Dwight McNeil joining them in the book moments later for a cynical foul on Stacey. Hendrick the next to be booked for a poor tackle.
Finding a precious metre of space in the away area, Wilson tapped to Gosling, last weekend's matchwinner looking to pass a shot into the far side of the goal but putting his effort a yard wide.
Bournemouth won a corner, and before it was taken an altercation between Ashley Barnes and Philip Billing received a VAR check, nothing doing, and from the set piece Mepham showed his frustration after headed wide from the second phase.
The home side were building up a head of steam, Stacey was through on the 'keeper, only to see the play pulled back by referee Martin Atkinson, the ball taking a slight touch off him five second earlier.
With 15 minutes left and the rain showing little sign if easing, the hosts won a succession of corners, one of them volleyed back goalwards by Lerma, but slicing away off target.
Dominic Solanke was introduced in place of Billing with a final attacking throw of the dice, and Nick Pope soon dropped a high cross, but fortune was on his side as it fell clear of home men.
Burnley's smash an grab was completed on 88 minutes when McNeil's cross was headed home by Rodriguez, the substitute making the most of a rare attacking foray.
Five minutes were signalled by the fourth official, and Bournemouth managed to get the ball into the opposition area on a number of occasions but, as was the theme for much of the afternoon, there was no way through and the Cherries were forced to accept defeat.