Ice-cold Solanke earns last-gasp point
- Graham Scott
Dominic Solanke showed ultimate composure to net a penalty deep in added time to earn AFC Bournemouth a last-gasp point against Fulham at Vitality Stadium.
The forward netted his 27th league goal of the campaign to pass Brett Pitman and Colin Clarke as the club’s leading goalscorer in a season since Ted MacDougall in 1971/72.
His goal also put him level with Marc Pugh with 45 league goals for the club, putting him 20th in the club's all-time record league goalscorers.
Aleksander Mitrovic had earlier opened the scoring with his 41st league goal of the season, his header crossing the line by a matter of millimetres.
Scott Parker made one change to the side that beat Coventry City 3-0 on Bank Holiday Monday, with Philip Billing restored to the starting line up in place of Jamal Lowe.
After a frenetic opening ten minutes in which both sides struggled to settle, it was the visitors who wrestled the initiative and began to control possession.
Mark Travers was the first goalkeeper to be called into action after 22 minutes, getting down sharply to shovel away a deflected Harry Wilson effort from the edge of the box.
That remained the only meaningful effort at goal from either side as the game passed the half-hour mark, with both sides showing flashes of quality but struggling to break each other down.
Dominic Solanke had the Cherries’ first sight of goal on 37 minutes as he turned well past Tim Ream to make space for a shot from 20 yards, but Tosin Adarabioyo covered well to block.
Despite the lack of clear-cut chances, there was an intensity about both sides that made for an engrossing first half.
The hosts ended the period on top and had an appeal for a penalty turned down on the stroke of the break as Jaidon Anthony broke into the box and went down under pressure from Kenny Tete, but the referee waved it away.
The Cherries started the second period strongly but found themselves behind after 55 minutes as Aleksandar Mitrovic headed the visitors in front.
Tom Cairney found space on the right and chipped an inviting cross to the back post where Mitrovic rose highest to head goal wards.
Travers scrambled across his goal to palm the ball away, but the referee signalled the ball had crossed the line, having been notified by goal-line technology.
The hosts reacted well and caused confusion in the Fulham box later in the half as Anthony’s free kick was glanced wide of his own goal by Cairney.
Half-time substitute Jamal Lowe also tested Cottagers ‘keeper Marek Rodak with a shot from 20 yards, but the Slovakian gathered low on the half volley.
However, the visitors regained composure shortly after and continued to make it difficult for the Cherries to build any momentum.
They might have doubled their lead after 76 minutes as Tim Ream headed back across goal where Adarabioyo was well placed to head home, but his effort rebounded off the bar and was cleared.
From there the visitors made it increasingly difficult for Scott Parker’s men by winding down the clock, which teed up an emphatic ending to the game.
In the fifth minute of injury time Adam Smith broke into the Cottagers penalty area and drew a foul from former Cherry Harry Wilson, leaving Graham Scott no other option than to point to the spot.
Following a few minutes and with tensions raised, Fulham manger Marco Silva was sent off from his position on the touchline.
With ice cool nerves, Solanke stepped up to the spot kick and sent Rodak the wrong way to level the scores and send Vitality Stadium into raptures.
The penalty proved to be virtually the last kick of the game, meaning that the spoils between the division’s top two sides were shared.