Solanke header earns Cherries capital gains
- Keith Stroud
Dominic Solanke’s 18th goal of the season fired AFC Bournemouth back to the Championship summit, their 1-0 win over QPR at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium seeing the Cherries triumph at the venue for the first time since 1959.
Solanke atoned for missing a presentable chance in the 30th minute when he neatly glanced home Junior Stanislas’s free-kick four minutes before half-time.
The striker, who was on target when the Cherries beat QPR at Vitality Stadium in September, repeated the feat as the visitors registered a league double over the West Londoners.
Scott Parker’s team ran out deserved victors after creating a host of excellent chances but were indebted to Jefferson Lerma for making a goal-saving block from Chris Willock in the closing stages.
And deep into added time, a melee, sparked when Yoann Barbet wrestled Solanke to the floor, resulted in four players receiving yellow cards, including QPR substitute Andre Dozzell, his second of the contest which saw him get his marching orders.
Stanislas earned a recall to the Cherries starting line-up as head coach Parker made three changes following the 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough before Christmas.
Stanislas was handed his second start of the season and his first since featuring against Blackpool in August having come off the bench at the Riverside Stadium.
He replaced Jaidon Anthony, who was named on the bench, while Chris Mepham came in for Lloyd Kelly and Lerma returned from suspension and started in place of Gavin Kilkenny.
QPR had the lion’s share of possession during a cat-and-mouse opening spell with Ilias Chair’s free-kick in the 12th minute charged down by the Cherries defensive wall.
Jack Stacey got an important flick to an Osman Kakay cross as two QPR players looked to profit behind the Cherries defender.
Stanislas, picked out by Ryan Christie, fashioned the visitors’ first shooting chance after 20 minutes, his effort comfortably saved low down by QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng.
Dieng had to be on his toes to save Stanislas’s sweetly-struck free-kick midway through the first half, the Senegal international tipping the Cherries winger’s effort over the crossbar.
Lewis Cook sliced well wide after Stanislas’s corner had been cleared to him 30 yards out before the Cherries created a great opportunity to draw first blood.
Stanislas’s deft pass put Billing in behind the QPR defence but, after the Danish midfielder had delivered a lovely hanging cross into the danger zone, Solanke could only nod it over the top.
Another slick move from the visitors saw Solanke and Billing combine to tee up Christie, only for the Scotland international to fire straight down Dieng’s throat.
QPR midfielder Sam Field received the first booking of the contest for a foul on Lerma near the touchline, the resultant free-kick reaping rewards for the Cherries.
Again despatched with accuracy by the lively Stanislas, his assist was met by Solanke who gave his marker the slip before delicately glancing a header past Dieng and into the back of the net.
Solanke’s 18th goal of the season, which came four minutes before half-time, silenced a section of QPR supporters who had goaded the striker for his links with Chelsea.
Mepham’s crucial header prevented half-time substitute Andre Dozzell’s cross from picking out Lyndon Dykes at the start of the second half.
Stanislas required a lengthy spell of treatment after taking a heavy blow to the head following a shuddering challenge from QPR defender Jimmy Dunne.
Christie received a yellow card for a foul on Lee Wallace with Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers superbly claiming the resultant free-kick.
A well-worked free-kick involving Christie and Stanislas ended with Solanke’s effort from a tight angle being cleared by a combination of Dieng and Dunne.
Stanislas was replaced by Anthony on the hour, the substitute lifting a glorious opening over the crossbar after meeting Stacey’s driven, low cross at the far post.
As the Cherries continued to create chances, Dieng got down smartly to smother another Solanke effort after he had fastened on to Billing’s through ball.
Stefan Johansen raced back having taken a corner to block a shot from Solanke after Cook’s pass down the line had sparked the counter attack.
A neat one-two between Christie and Solanke ended with Dieng diving to his right to save the Scotsman’s shot from the edge of the box.
Cherries fans had their hearts in their mouths after Travers had come off his line to beat Dykes to an Albert Adomah cross, the goalkeeper timing his challenge to perfection despite the QPR striker going to ground.
Lerma made an heroic block to keep out Chris Willock's effort in the 90th minute, the Colombia international throwing himself bravely at the striker's feet following an Andre Gray cross.
An ugly melee, sparked by Yoann Barbet wrestling Solanke to the floor, saw players from both teams square up deep into added time.
It resulted in yellow cards for Barbet, Mepham and Ben Pearson together with a second booking and a red card for QPR substitute Dozzell.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Stacey, Mepham, Cahill, Zemura, Billing, Lerma, L Cook (Pearson, 90), Christie (Lowe, 82), Solanke, Stanislas (Anthony, 60).
Unused subs: Brady, Kilkenny, Marcondes, Nyland (g/k).
Booked: Christie, Billing, Mepham, Pearson.
QPR: Dieng, Kakay (Adomah, 70), Dickie, Dunne, Barbet, Wallace (Gray, 70), Field, Johansen, Chair (Dozzell, h/t), Willock, Dykes.
Unused subs: Amos, Thomas, Austin, Archer (g/k).
Booked: Field, Dozzell, Barbet.
Sent off: Dozzell.
Referee: Keith Stroud.
Attendance: 16,308 (including 2,746 away supporters).