Cherries reclaim top spot on emotional day
- Gavin Ward
First-half goals from Jamal Lowe and Jordan Zemura paved the way for AFC Bournemouth to extend their unbeaten start in the Championship on an emotional day at Ashton Gate.
Winger David Brooks was very much on the minds of Cherries followers after being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in the lead up to the game.
Scott Parker’s team warmed up wearing ‘Brooks 7 – together as one, stay strong Brooksy’ tee-shirts in support of Brooks.
And in the seventh minute, both sets of supporters applauded the Wales international who is due to start treatment for the illness in the next few days.
The players celebrated taking the lead by grouping together and holding up a green ‘Brooks 7’ shirt behind the goal where Lowe opened his account for the club.
Lowe was handed his first start as Cherries head coach Parker made three changes following the 2-1 win over Sheffield United before the international break.
Lowe was joined in the starting line-up by Jack Stacey and Gavin Kilkenny with Adam Smith and Ben Pearson ruled out and Jefferson Lerma dropping to the bench.
The Robins made one change from their 3-2 win at Peterborough a fortnight ago with Nathan Baker replacing Rob Atkinson who was unwell.
In the early stages, Dominic Solanke dragged a shot wide, while Ryan Christie saw his effort from distance gathered by City goalkeeper Dan Bentley.
And after another strike from Solanke had been blocked, the ball fell to Lowe just inside the 18-yard box but he scuffed his shot wide of the target.
City were forced into an early change when Joe Williams pulled up injured with Nahki Wells replacing him after just 13 minutes.
The Cherries opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Lowe stabbed home from close range after being picked out by Stacey’s pinpoint centre.
Jaidon Anthony’s curling effort midway through the first half was deflected for a corner which came to nothing after the Cherries were penalised for a foul.
City substitute Wells lifted their first noteworthy opportunity over the crossbar after sliding in to meet a cross from Callum O’Dowda after 37 minutes.
And as play quickly switched to the opposite end, Solanke glanced his header narrowly wide of the target following a swift counter.
A second goal their first-half endeavours had deserved arrived in stoppage time when Zemura emphatically doubled the Cherries’ lead.
The left-back fastened on to Christie’s sublime crossfield pass, ghosted past his marker and unleashed an unstoppable drive past Bentley and into the roof of the net.
Christie was denied by Bentley, the City goalkeeper parrying the Scotland international’s fierce drive early in the second half.
Phil Billing and Solanke also tried their luck after the half-time break as shots continued to rain in on the City goal.
Christie danced through the City defence before clipping his shot past the post before Solanke also fired wide after bursting through.
A brief spell of pressure from the hosts saw Chris Martin’s header bounce past the post and an effort from Jay Dasilva flash past the upright.
Lerma replaced goalscorer Lowe midway through the second half with City making their third substitution when Tyreeq Bakinson came on for Cameron Pring in the 66th minute.
A goalline clearance by Dasilva prevented Solanke from adding to his tally for the season as the Cherries pressed hard for a third goal.
Mark Travers saved comfortably from Martin’s header after the striker had met Wells’s cross, the clean sheet remaining intact in the final ten minutes.
Junior Stanislas replaced Billing as the forward made his return from a hamstring injury sustained in August, Morgan Rogers also soon on in place of the effervescent Christie.
The Cherries passed their way through the 90 minutes and the three minutes of additional time, seeing out their away win in sauntering style and moving back to the top of the Championship pile.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Stacey, Kelly, Cahill, Zemura, Kilkenny, Billing (Stanislas, 82), Christie (Rogers 88), Lowe (Lerma, 64), Solanke, Anthony.
Unused subs: Mepham, Davis, Marcondes, Rogers, Nyland (g/k).
Booked: Cahill, Kelly.
Bristol City: Bentley, Tanner, Kalas, Baker, Pring (Bakinson, 66), James, King, Williams (Wells, 13), Weimann, O’Dowda (Dasilva, h/t), Martin.
Unused subs: Simpson, Scott, Palmer, O’Leary (g/k).
Referee: Gavin Ward.