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Cherries stung by Hornets at Vitality Stadium

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Mike Dean

Abdoulaye Doucoure's first-half opener and second-half goals from Troy Deeney and Roberto Pereyra saw the Cherries defeated by Premier League rivals Watford today.

Abdoulaye Doucoure's first-half opener and second-half goals from Troy Deeney and Roberto Pereyra saw the Cherries defeated by Premier League rivals Watford today.

Doucoure drew first blood for the Hornets when he capitalised on a mix-up at the back and scored from close range.

And Watford skipper Deeney added a second after 65 minutes following good work from Ismaila Sarr.

Substitute Pereyra netted deep into added time to complete the scoring for the visitors who climbed out of the bottom three.

Nathan Ake and Adam Smith both made a welcome return to the Cherries starting line-up having recovered from injury.

Ake, who served Watford on loan in 2015/16, was back after missing the past six games due to a hamstring problem.

And Smith was drafted in having been sidelined for seven matches after taking a knock to his ankle during the 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in early-December.

They were two of four changes made by Eddie Howe following the reverse at West Ham on New Year’s Day with Mark Travers and Ryan Fraser also starting.

Travers, who kept a clean sheet in the FA Cup win over Luton Town, came in for his first Premier League game since the final day of last season.

The Irishman replaced regular first choice Aaron Ramsdale who was ruled out by a minor hamstring injury and joined fans in the Vitality Steve Fletcher Stand to watch the game.

Sarr’s shot in the early stages was deflected past the post by Steve Cook, the hosts defending the resultant corner and clearing their lines.

Smith’s low drive eventually rolled towards Dominic Solanke but the ball would just not sit for the Cherries striker and he was unable to test Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster.

It was a different story, however, after Harry Wilson had let fly with a free-kick from 40 yards, Foster scrambling across his line to push the ball around the post.

Travers saved well at his near post after Etienne Capoue had slipped a pass to Gerard Deulofeu before Adam Masina headed the resultant corner past the upright.

Troy Deeney’s header bounced harmlessly wide at one end before Harry Wilson’s low drive was deflected past the post for a corner at the other.

Defences dominated during the opening 30 minutes with clear-cut goalscoring opportunities for either team at a premium.

Jefferson Lerma, who needed a lengthy spell of treatment after taking a knock, volleyed high over the crossbar after Ryan Fraser’s free-kick had fallen to him on the edge of the box.

Disaster struck for the Cherries when Doucoure opened the scoring for the visitors three minutes before the break.

The Frenchman was on hand to score from close range after Sarr had crossed from the right, the winger having seized on a stray clearance from Travers.

Sarr’s effort early in the second half struck Ake and flew over the crossbar with Lerma on hand to clear the corner.

The Cherries had a let-off when Sarr mis-kicked after Deulofeu’s centre had found him in space at the far post.

A swift counter-attack, started and finished by Deulofeu, ended with the Spaniard slicing his shot wide of the target.

Philip Billing and Lewis Cook replaced Lerma and Dan Gosling as boss Howe made a double change after 59 minutes.

Nathaniel Chalobah turned on the edge of the box and lifted his resultant shot over the top before Deeney doubled Watford’s lead in the 65th minute.

The frontman rifled the loose ball past Travers after Sarr had created the opening with an enterprising run down the right flank.

Travers snaffled Deeney’s piledriver just minutes later before Billing’s volley failed to trouble Foster as it flew well wide of the target.

Sam Surridge, recalled from a loan spell with Swansea earlier this month, replaced Harry Wilson with 15 minutes remaining.

But the Hornets completed the scoring through substitute Pereyra deep into stoppage time.

Crystal Palace Selhurst Park

Premier League

6th December 2023 7:30 PM

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