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Cherries scoop St Mary's win

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Chris Kavanagh

Two first-half goals paved the way for a first AFC Bournemouth win on Southampton soil as the beat their rivals 3-1 in a highly-charged south-coast clash.

Nathan Ake gave the visitors the perfect start when he scored inside ten minutes with a crisp header from a corner, soon after Joshua King being denied a second by a close VAR offside decision.

Ahead of half time Harry Wilson made sure of a lengthened lead after a the on-loan man clinically finished off a fluid forward move.

James Ward-Prowse pulled a goal back for Southampton when he converted a penalty soon after the restart, and  there were some anxious moments as the clock ticked down.

Then, at the last, a calamitous Saints defensive blunder allowed Callum Wilson the chance to stride through and pass the ball into an unguarded net and confirm his side's moment of history over the Saints. 

Eddie Howe made just one change to the team that defeated Everton, Jefferson Lerma starting in place of Lewis Cook ahead of the contest getting under way on a mild and still evening.

The hosts started on the front foot, Sofiane Boufal finding Ward-Prowse from the byline, though the midfielder was unable to make a true connection to the bouncing ball and his effort dribbled wide.

However, in the tenth minute the Cherries had the lead, Ake steaming in to score.

Howe's side had won a corner after the referee had played advantage following a foul on Harry Wilson, and Diego Rico's inswinging ball was judged perfectly by the Dutch defender, leaping to get above Kevin Danso and directing his header down and past Angus Gunn.

A King charge down the left almost led to a chance for Callum Wilson in the centre, while in defence Aaron Ramsdale was forced into his first piece of meaningful action when Boufal drove a shot into his midriff.

The good start almost became a great one when Dominic Solanke strode towards the Southampton back line, picked out King with his through ball and the Norwegian confidently bent the ball home - only for a VAR check to conclude the Cherries striker have been a hair's breadth offside in the build-up.

Che Adams had a shot blocked but with ten minutes of the half remaining the Saints were carved open again and the Cherries undoubtedly did have a second. 

King fed a ball past the backline to Philip Billing and he smartly cut back for Harry Wilson who swept home first time with a slick finish from 10 yards to double the delight of the away masses in the far stand.

Ramsdale excelled 60 seconds later to spread himself and keep out Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from close range, before King shot from 23 yards and won a corner via a deflection.

Though the Cherries 'keeper was again required to palm away a 25-yard shot in the closing moments of the half, the away side keeping their nerve to the break, along with their two-goal advantage.

Ryan Bertrand replaced Danso for the hosts ahead of the restart as Ralph Hasenhuttl looked for something extra from his side, and they started in determined mood.

A swift Southampton move saw Cerdic Soares centre for Ward-Prowse, the latter's half-volleyed finish rising a couple of feet too high and over Ramsdale's crossbar.

Six minutes into the half the home side earned the opportunity they were hoping for, Steve Cook upending a free-flowing Adams in the area and the referee pointing to the spot.

Ward-Prowse took the responsibility and powered home a finish to halve the lead.

The pressure building on the Bournemouth defence, Nathan Redmond fired over from range, though soon after King felt his side were worthy of a penalty after tumbling in the area under Soares' challenge. VAR was checked but no spot kick was given.

The Cherries made their first change with Ryan Fraser coming on for Harry Wilson, but it was still Southampton pushing, Boufal striking from 22 yards and Ramsdale repelling with strong wrists.

Redmond must have thought he'd level proceedings when he shot low in the box in the 74th minute, Jack Stacey the defensive hero as he blocked the ball and sent it over the bar.

Inside the final ten minutes and moment of panic in the away box almost resulted in an equaliser. Ward-Prowse's shot deflected off Billing meaning Ramsdale couldn't hold on in making the save. Steve Cook was on hand and at the second time of asking blasted clear from inside his own six-yard box. 

Billing took charge of a 30-yard free-kick and bent his effort not far wide, the scoreboard now showing just five minutes remaining at St Mary's.

The game becoming increasingly ragged as the board went up to signal four additional minutes, and King could have wrapped it up but for a shot that lacked power from an angle.

The hosts were piling men forwards and Ramsdale made a good save to keep out Boufal, but there was one final twist to come as with the seconds running out a defensive mix-up gifted Callum Wilson a third and he walked the ball into an empty net to ensure that, at the 16th time of trying, the Cherries were victorious away at the Saints.

Manchester City Etihad Stadium

Premier League

15th July 2020 6:00 PM

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