Cherries dealt difficult Burnley defeat
- Mike Dean
AFC Bournemouth lost 3-0 to Burnley at Turf Moor in a match hinging on two contentious VAR interventions that both went against the away side.
The first VAR intervention came when Joshua King thought he'd given the away side the lead when he flicked home from a corner, but VAR intervened, finding a handball from a Cherries man as the ball founds its way to the Norwegian,
Both 'keepers were kept busy ahead of the break, though neither side were able to find a breakthrough.
Matej Vydra struck early in the second half, a composed finished giving the Clarets the lead.
VAR stepped in again after the Cherries thought they'd levelled minutes later through Harry Wilson but in a truly puzzling turn of events the goal was not only chalked off but Burnley were awarded a penalty for a handball at the other end long before the away side had broken and found the net at the other end.
The cruel fate continuing, Jay Rodriguez scored from the spot as the Clarets 2-0 going up. Dwight McNeil finishing things off as he struck from range to compound the tough afternoon for Bournemouth in Lancashire.
Eddie Howe was boosted by the return to the starting 11 for King, though Nathan Ake and Jefferson Lerma - the latter had been expected to return following suspension - missed out die to injury.
Kitted up in their sharp green third jerseys and with the strong weekend winds whistling around the ground, the teams stood for a minute of applause in recognition of the recently-passed Burnley great Brian Pilkington before Harry Wilson kicked proceedings off.
The wind behind them in the opening period, the Cherries were quick out of the blocks and twice came close to an early opener.
First Callum Wilson squared low for King ready to slot home in the centre, a defender just getting their first, then moments later the former had a chance himself with a free sight at goal from ten yards. Taking a shot on the half volley Clarets 'keeper Nick Pope repelled well with his legs.
The Clarets offered their own attacks when Jack Cork tested Aaron Ramsdale's handling from range and the Cherries stopper was examined further when Vydra slalomed his way into the box and opened a clear shooting opportunity, a fine save to keeping the score level.
In the 21st minute Bournemouth thought they'd opened the scoring, only for VAR to rule it out after a lengthy delay.
Andrew Surman had delivered a corner and after flicking off Philip Billing the alert King had turned it home with a flicked volley from close range. The Cherries celebrated and the ball was back on the centre spot ready for kick-off but VAR called it back and disallowed the goal, judging the ball to have come off the very top of Billing's arm.
Within a minute Harry Wilson sprung onto a King cross and must have thought he instead had the opener, only Pope's terrific reaction save keeping the winger's header out, right on the goal line.
Into the final five minutes of the half and both sides had chances to to score. Jack Stacey gambled on King's cross to volley goalwards at the back post, Pope saving again, and from the clearance Vydra had a chance as he ran down on goal, Ramsdale standing tall as the Clarets striker looked to lob him.
Despite chances at both ends it remained goalless at the interval, both sides feeling they could have held an advantage over their half-time team talks.
Into the second period and the Clarets drew first blood, Vydra scoring. The striker had burst beyond the high Cherries line and scurried into the area, a defending looking to recover the Czech stepped inside him and smashed the ball home for his second in two games.
In a set of circumstances barely credible in pre-VAR days, the Cherries soon went from being level to two goals behind.
The away side first broke fluidly and Callum Wilson found Harry Wilson who cutely stabbed a finish under Pope to seemingly make it 1-1, but as the players got set to restart a VAR check took place.
The referee soon blew his whistle and instead of the away side being back on equal terms Burnley were awarded a penalty at the other end for a handball by Adam Smith ahead of the 'equaliser' which the officials had previously judged not worthy of being blown up for.
To compound matters, Rodriguez blasted home from the spot and as the dust settled the home side had a two-goal lead.
The Burnley second appeared to knock the wind out of the Cherries with Ramsdale required to save well to keep any away hopes alive, McNeil hitting the post with a fine strike with ten minutes left.
Having had his sighter, McNeil struck his side's third from similar range and there was no way back for the Cherries despite a gilt-edged late miss from Callum Wilson.