Cherries beaten on Teesside
- Chris Kavanagh
AFC Bournemouth suffered a second straight defeat as they went down 1-0 to Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors were made to pay for a number of missed chances in the first half on a chilly afternoon on Teeside, as Andraz Sporar’s controversial second-half penalty proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Scott Parker made four changes to the side that lost to Blackburn Rovers last week, with Lloyd Kelly and Jordan Zemura restored to the starting line up following long injury lay offs. Philip Billing also returned after missing last week’s defeat with a knee issue, while Gavin Kilkenny replaced Ben Pearson in midfield.
The hosts started quickest and might have gone in front after five minutes when Marcus Tavernier latched onto a low cross from the right, but he shot straight at Mark Travers who blocked well.
The Cherries settled shortly after and gradually began to enjoy the lion’s share of possession. Ryan Christie had their first sight of goal after 21 minutes, but his side footed effort from 15 yards curled narrowly wide.
Jaidon Anthony nearly went one better on the half hour mark as he picked up a wayward pass from home captain Jonny Howson on the edge of the box, cut inside Dael Fry and shot low, but the ball flashed inches wide.
Christie was involved again moments later, finding space on the right and picking out Dom Solanke at the back post, but the frontman’s header bounced just wide.
As the half drifted into its latter stages, Boro nearly found themselves in front as the lively Isaiah Jones cut inside from the right flank and shot from the edge of the box, but Travers reacted well again to palm away the winger’s low, deflected effort.
The best chance of the half fell to Christie on the stroke of the whistle, who looked certain to score as he stole in at the back post to meet Philip Billing’s cross. However the Scot, off balance as he met the ball, could only scuff into the ground and over the bar.
Boro were quickest out of the blocks in the second half and came close to breaking the deadlock early on as Jones slipped a neat ball through to Andraz Sporar who shot low, but Travers was again on hand to save – making himself big and blocking well from close range.
Jones was in the thick of the action again as the hosts took the lead on 53 minutes. The winger dispossessed Jaidon Anthony on the halfway and powered all the way into the box and went down under Anthony’s challenge to win a penalty.
It did look as though Jones was already on his way down prior to Anthony's challenge, but after some hesitation by referee Chris Kavanagh, he pointed to the spot.
Slovenian Sporar stepped up to get the better of Travers, firing low into the bottom corner.
Despite settling again after conceding, the Cherries struggled to break down a stout home defence and it was Sporar who went closest to grabbing a second for the hosts on 75 minutes, as he hit a powerful left-footed shot from the edge of the box which Travers brilliantly tipped over the bar.
Substitute Jamal Lowe did have a late chance for the Cherries, when he got in behind the backline at an acute angle, but a big leg from Joe Lumley was enough to give the hosts a 1-0 win.