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Solanke brace not enough to sink Seasiders

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Steve Martin

A Dominic Solanke brace wasn’t enough for the Cherries to come away with all three points at Vitality Stadium, as two second-half strikes from Blackpool ensured the points were shared.

Solanke broke the deadlock just six minutes in with a fine low finish before finding the target for his second 13 minutes later.

Chances came and went for the hosts, with the forward almost bagging his hat-trick just after the interval.

But it was Blackpool who struck next through James Husband’s effort before Jerry Yates’ penalty drew the visitors level.  

The result means the Cherries remain unbeaten in four against Blackpool.  

David Brooks came back into the starting line-up, having missed Wednesday’s win at Birmingham through suspension. 

There was also a first start of the season for Junior Stanislas, who came off the bench at St Andrew’s. He replaced Emi Marcondes in the starting XI, while Leeds loanee Leif Davis also missed out.

The match came too soon for latest signing Gary Cahill, but goalkeeper Orjan Nyland and midfielder Ben Pearson retained their places on the bench for a second successive game, the midfielder playing his first minutes of the season in midweek.

The Cherries got off to a strong start and had the first opening of the game, Jaidon Anthony and Jordan Zemura linking up well down the left five minutes in, the latter seeing his cross turned away for a corner by Marvin Ekpiteta.

From the resulting set-piece, Stanislas’ ball in was looking for Zeno Ibsen Rossi, but referee Stephen Martin blew up for a foul on Husband.

Nevertheless, the deadlock would be broken moments later and it was Solanke again with the opener.

Stanislas drove at the Tangerines defence and wasn’t fazed by Grant Ward’s foul on the route to goal. The referee playing advantage, he slid in the Cherries striker, who delicately finished across Chris Maxwell for his second goal in as many games.

The lead was nearly doubled in a matter of minutes, with Anthony and Zemura causing more problems down the left. Gavin Kilkenny played a delightful low ball to Anthony which split the visiting defence before the winger found Zemura overlapping, his powerful shot from inside the area blocked by Ekpiteta.

It almost got better for Scott Parker’s side with the Zimbabwe international again allowed to venture into the Blackpool box.

He was stopped in his tracks by Grant Ward, who looked to have missed the ball, but Martin quickly waved appeals away and the ball was hoofed clear.

However, the consistent pressure from the hosts soon paid off and the Cherries were duly rewarded for their efforts.

Brooks raced away in space down the right and fed substitute Marcondes, who had just replaced an injured Stanislas in midfield. The Dane took a touch, lifted his head and expertly picked out Solanke in the box, the frontman with a deft touch to guide his header beyond Maxwell.

Blackpool soon had chances of their own, with their first shot on target coming from Luke Garbutt’s free-kick. Mark Travers remained alert and palmed the curling effort round the post.

Garbutt was then on corner-taking duties and spotted the run of Ekpiteta at the back post, but nothing came of it with his header back into the box eventually being cleared.

With the Seasiders enjoying a flurry of possession, it was Keshi Anderson who was next to test Travers in the Cherries goal. The forward latched on to the end of Tyreece John-Jules’ ball only to see his low drive from eight yards saved by the Ireland international.

At the other end of the pitch, the hosts looked for their third of the afternoon in front of the Ted MacDougall Stand and they almost found it through the ever-impressive Philip Billing. Brooks was the provider down the right once again, with his cut-back from the by-line finding the 25-year-old, but the shot hit the side netting with Maxwell unmoved.

There was still time for one final chance before the half-time whistle, Anthony and Zemura the architects. A quick one-two caught out the visitors but Anthony saw his shot fly high and wide of Maxwell’s crossbar.

After the interval, Parker’s side started where they had left off and Solanke had a superb opportunity to take home the match ball.

With Brooks’ brilliant pass playing the number nine in, he got the better of Ekpiteta and looked set to pull the trigger, but the perfectly-timed challenge of Husband denied him the opportunity. From the follow up, Billing looked to make the most of an open goal, but Maxwell recovered in time and saved.

Lloyd Kelly was next to set up an opportunity in front of the Steve Fletcher Stand, who were raised to their feet after Anthony looked to be through from the skipper’s ball, but Ekpiteta got in the way to block.

Despite the possession for the Cherries, Travers had to stay alert when the ball fell to Josh Bowler after Ibsen Rossi’s tackle on John-Jules. The 22-year-old sent a low shot on target but it was comfortable for the goalkeeper.

Yet, Blackpool were buoyed and enjoyed a spell of possession before eventually finding a way past Travers. The visitors sent a dead ball in from the left which rebounded off Billing and hit the post, but Husband reacted quickest to poke home from point-blank range. 

Moments later and Neil Critchley’s side were back on level terms after Martin pointed to the spot following Ibsen Rossi’s collision with Anderson, who had been played in by John-Jules. Yates stepped up and sent Travers the wrong way with a lethal effort.

As the clouds cleared at Vitality Stadium, things began to look brighter for the hosts as Solanke picked out an on-rushing Anthony, but his curling effort was easily collected by Maxwell and Blackpool could reset.

However the visitors weren’t allowed much rest time as Solanke was on the hunt for his hat-trick. Pearson’s ball over the top, which set up the striker at St Andrew’s, released him again, but the shot was met by Ekpiteta’s right boot and the danger diverted.

It didn’t stop the pursuit from Parker’s men, who were drawing fouls from the Blackpool defence, Ekpiteta the fourth visiting player to go into the book after a high foot on Solanke. With the free-kick 35 yards out, Billing tried a shot but failed to find the target, the visitors coming away with a goal-kick.

Six minutes added time wasn’t enough, despite Solanke's header from Marcondes' corner forcing a superb save from Maxwell at the death, and the spoils were shared at Vitality Stadium.

AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Mepham (Davis, 78), Ibsen Rossi, Kelly, Zemura, Stanislas (Marcondes, 17), Kilkenny (Pearson, 72), Brooks, Anthony, Billing, Solanke.

Unused subs: Nyland (g/k), Camp, Taylor, Saydee.

Blackpool: Maxwell, Connolly, Husband, Yates, Anderson, Bowler, Dougall, Ward (James, 64), Ekpiteta, John-Jules (Lavery, 64), Garbutt.

Unused subs: Grimshaw (g/k), Carey, Casey, Hamilton, Keogh.

Booked: Connolly, John-Jules, Garbutt, Ekpiteta.

Referee: Stephen Martin.

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