Solanke strikes in draw at Cardiff
- Simon Hooper
AFC Bournemouth struck first but despite chances couldn't put the game to bed as a familiar face levelled in a 1-1 draw at Cardiff City.
The away side built up a head of steam as the opening period wore on and were rewarded when Dominic Solanke completed a high-quality move ten minutes before half time to put away noses in front, a lead they would hold into the break.
Both sides hit the crossbar in the opening exchanges of the second period before the Cherries were made to pay for not taking their opportunities; Harry Wilson burying home a low shot just past the hour against the side he played for last season.
Stanislas hit the woodwork again with a near-perfect free-kick ahead of the first Bournemouth introduction of Rodrigo Riquelme, but despite moving the ball into deep attacking areas late on an away winner wouldn't materialise.
There were two changes to Jason Tindall's starting 11 from Saturday's QPR draw, Stanislas and Arnaut Danjuma in from the off in place of Lewis Cook and Sam Surridge.
The rain had followed the Bournemouth squad from the south coast to south Wales, the Bluebirds kicking-off on a shiny surface amidst the wet conditions, former Cherries loanee Wilson shooting wide with a half-chance inside 20 seconds.
After defending a couple of aerial centres, the visitors began to enjoy the lion's share of possession, Danjuma with his side's first effort on target, though it led to a comfortable save for 'keeper Alex Smithies from 22 yards.
In the 13th minute Adam Smith called Smithies into further action, cutting onto his right and firing from the edge of the box, the ball central enough for the 'keeper to parry away.
Will Vaulks powered over for the hosts from range, Solanke next gambling on a loose back pass and nearly profiting before the 'keeper's hurried intervention.
Moments later Jefferson Lerma struck a low Jack Stacey centre towards goal, Smithies diving down to his left to deny the away side again.
On 35 minutes the Cherries deservedly had their breakthrough, Solanke scoring on the ground he made his debut for the club at.
Lerma was essential to the goal, threading a sublime pass through defenders for Stacey, the full-back at the byline and playing in low first time to leave Solanke with little more than a tap in to finish off a razor-sharp Bournemouth move.
Wilson almost capitalised on some rare space in the Cherries back line, his shot passing just wide of Asmir Begovic's upright, Solanke's confidence high as he soon shot off target at the other end to end the half.
A renewed rain shower greeted the players ahead of the second period, Stanislas and Stacey both probing in the opening minutes following the restart, the latter soon shooting into the side netting via a deflection as away pressure grew.
Lerma played Danjuma forwards into room on the right, the ball passed inside for Stanislas to slip a shot narrowly wide of the far post, a corner awarded and Chris Mepham almost reaching the set piece with his head at the back post.
Mepham was then alive in his own area, getting his head to a cross ahead of Wilson preparing to pounce at the far post.
A lighting Cherries forward move was the width of the crossbar away from extending the away lead, Danjuma linking up with the overlapping Stacey whose ball across was redirected by Solanke but brilliantly diverted onto the woodwork by Smithies.
Within two minutes the crossbar at the other end was similarly shaking. Wilson's freekick saved by Begovic, who received help from his bar to keep the Bluebirds at bay.
The Cherries 'keeper was alive to tip over a header, the hosts enjoying a strong attacking spell, a period which soon led to an equaliser.
Cardiff attacked down the left, profiting from defensive hesitancy, the attacking ending with Wilson sweeping home from 16 yards to level the contest against his former side.
The leveller raised home tails, though a Lerma surge was abruptly ended by a foul a yard outside the D.
Stanislas lined up the opportunity, firing with pace to the flat-footed 'keeper's side, the ball ricocheting off the underside of the bar but staying out of the net.
Trying his luck again, Stanislas swifted an effort wide from a similar distance, before Solanke seemed certain to score his second an restore the Cherries' lead but instead heading just wide when Smith had delivered from the left.
The contest becoming increasingly frantic into the final quarter of an hour, Riquelme was introduced for his debut from the bench, the Spaniard tasked with providing the spur in the renewed search for an away winner.
The away push was on into the three added minutes at the end of the 90, but with Smithies twice claiming in the air and substitute Sam Surridge unable to connect fully with a hair-triggered opening in the area, the game in south Wales finished all square.