Late Rhodes header downs Cherries
- Andy Woolmer
AFC Bournemouth conceded late as their comeback fell flat in a 2-1 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday.
A physical first half looked set to end goalless until a defensive mistake allowed Owls striker Callum Paterson the chance to poke home a gift of an opening goal for the away side.
Following a triple half-time change the Cherries struck back with Junior Stanislas again illustrating his reliability from the penalty spot.
The home side were the more likely to score into the closing stages, but were sucker-punched when Wednesday broke and Jordan Rhodes leaped to head home.
The Cherries were unable to equalise for a second time and fell to a fourth straight Championship defeat.
Jack Wilshere was in from the off for his first league start since returning to the club, while fellow incomer Ben Pearson made the bench. However, loanee Shane Long was not signed in time to be registered for the match.
Intermittent rain showers dampened the playing surface ahead of kick-off, and inside the opening minute Asmir Begovic had to be alive to repel from Elias Kachunga after the visiting striker had broken into space in the area.
The Cherries enjoyed a spell of possession before Begovic was called on again, this time stretching to tip a stinging long-range strike from Barry Bannan over the bar.
Stanislas was left clutching his lower leg after being caught by a late challenge on halfway, able to continue the home side were still yet to force their first serious attempt on target by the midway point of the first half.
A clear opportunity was created when Lloyd Kelly intercepted, exchanged passes with Arnaut Danjuma and squared a low cross back to the Dutchman who looked odds-on to score until his shot was deflected over by a sprawling defensive block.
Bournemouth were pushing their opponents back but struggling to find a way through, David Brooks asked a question after cutting inside and firing low, but his shot was wide of the target.
The Cherries were architects of their own downfall just before the break when Wednesday grabbed the lead.
Chris Mepham's backpass was cut out by Paterson who controlled and stabbed a shot goalwards, Begovic unable to react with his feet in time as the ball trickled over the line for the opener.
Looking to break back immediately, some neat Bournemouth build up involved Danjuma and Dominic Solanke, played back to Brooks the winger pushed a right-footed effort a foot over the bar from just inside the area, the last action of the first half.
Jason Tindall made a triple change ahead of the restart, Jefferson Lerma, Sam Surridge and Adam Smith all introduced, taking the places of Wilshere, Solanke and Jack Stacey as the home side set about finding a way back into the game.
The bit between home teeth, Kelly and Danjuma combined again, teeing up Brooks whose shot was high and over the bar.
Becoming susceptible to Wednesday counters, substitute Rhodes had an effort blocked after linking with Kachunga, Surridge then latching onto a cross at the other end but seeing the assistant's flag raised for offside.
The Cherries were handed a lifeline when winning a penalty just past the hour mark, Surridge bursting through and being fouled as he looked to get a shot away.
Stanislas collected the ball, patiently waited and calmly blasted his penalty to Keiren Westwood's right to redress the balance on the Vitality Stadium scoreboards.
The wind suddenly in home sails, Lewis Cook taking aim with an effort that deflected up and agonisingly wide with Westwood getting a faint touch.
Brooks got a chance from an angle that the Wednesday 'keeper smothered well, before a controversial moment from a home attack.
Surridge looked to break through but was tugged back by substitute Chey Dunkley, referee Andy Woolmer considering the situation for a minute before producing just a yellow for the Owls defender. Stanislas stepped up looking to make hay with another set piece, his strike saved by Westwood.
Into the closing stages and Rhodes had another shot blocked as Wednesday hunted an unlikely winner, Rodrigo Riquelme introduced for the Cherries chasing a late winner themselves.
However it was Rhodes who took his opportunity, rising highest to slam home a backpost header from Kadeem Harris' centre that left the hosts crestfallen.
Into five minutes of added-on time and Lerma blasted a shot that was well saved, Begovic going up for the resulting corner but with the set piece going over the heads and the referee's whistle sounding the Cherries were forced to accept their fate.