Cherries' command performance on Saturday Night Live
- Oliver Langford
Goals from Dominic Solanke and Jamal Lowe ensured the Cherries penned a new chapter in club history courtesy of this 2-0 victory over Reading at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
Solanke bagged his 12th of the season on the stroke of half-time before Lowe doubled the visitors’ lead just three minutes after coming off the bench.
The win extended to 15 games the Cherries’ unbeaten start in the Championship, eclipsing the previous best set by Bill McGarry’s team in 1961/62.
It was also the first time the club had gone 15 consecutive league games unbeaten in the top two tiers, Eddie Howe’s team managing 14 in 2014/15.
The only team still unbeaten in the EFL, the win saw Scott Parker’s team re-establish a five-point lead over second-placed Fulham and move nine clear of third-placed West Brom.
Mark Travers made an important save from Scott Dann in added time as the Cherries extended to seven the number of successive away clean sheets in the league, the team now having gone more than 11 hours without conceding.
The headline team news saw the welcome return of midfield maestro Lewis Cook who was named among the Cherries substitutes.
Cook spent more than seven months on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury during a 1-1 draw at Preston in March.
The 24-year-old was the only change to the matchday squad with head coach Parker naming the same starting line-up from the win over Huddersfield.
Reading goalkeeper Luke Southwood raced off his line to gather Phil Billing’s ball over the top which just eluded Jaidon Anthony in the opening few seconds.
The Royals made a lively start and the Cherries were forced to defend in numbers as the hosts made a series of breaks down both flanks.
Ovie Ejaria turned inside to create an opening in the tenth minute but his effort was blocked for a corner by Jack Stacey.
Josh Laurent collected the first booking of the game for a shuddering challenge on Jordan Zemura which left the defender requiring treatment.
Laurent then gained possession and burst through to the edge of the 18-yard box before firing well wide of Mark Travers’ goal.
George Puscas went close to drawing first blood when he poked wide from close range after being picked out by John Swift’s audacious Rabona cross.
As the Cherries began to get a foothold, Gary Cahill headed over from an Anthony cross before Ryan Christie cut inside only to drag his shot way off target.
Gavin Kilkenny and Anthony followed Laurent into referee Oliver Langford’s notebook, the pair booked in quick succession for fouls.
The Cherries opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, a corner conceded by Danny Drinkwater reaping rewards for the visitors.
A move straight from the training ground saw Cahill give his marker the slip and cleverly peel off to the back post to meet Anthony’s delivery.
And after he had headed the ball back across the face of the goalmouth, Solanke outjumped the Reading defence and nodded it home despite the best efforts of Liam Moore to keep it out.
At the start of the second half, Travers gathered safely after Lloyd Kelly had deflected Tom Dele-Bashiru’s cross.
Kelly then came to the Cherries’ rescue when his crucial intervention prevented Puscas from getting on the end of Swift’s hanging cross.
A swift counter by the Cherries, started by Billing, saw Lowe race down the left wing before crossing for Solanke whose low shot was blocked by Scott Dann.
Lowe, who had only been on the pitch for three minutes, doubled the visitors’ lead when he netted his second goal for the club after 59 minutes.
The goal owed much to the tenacity of Billing who closed down and then dispossessed Drinkwater in the middle of the pitch before feeding Lowe.
Lowe, who scored for Swansea in a 2-2 draw at Reading last season, repeated the feat, the striker curling his shot past Southwood and into the bottom corner.
As the Cherries went in search of a third goal, Southwood got down smartly at his near post to turn Billing’s 25-yarder past the post.
Deep in added time, Travers pulled off a fine save to keep out Dann's header, ensuring the Cherries would keep a seventh successive away clean sheet in the league.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Stacey, Kelly, Cahill, Zemura (Mepham, 70), Lerma, Kilkenny (Pearson, h/t), Billing, Christie, Solanke, Anthony (Lowe, 56).
Unused subs: L Cook, Marcondes, Rogers, Nyland (g/k).
Booked: Kilkenny, Anthony, Mepham.
Reading: Southwood, Yiadom, Moore, Dann, Baba, Drinkwater, Laurent, Dele-Bashiru, Swift, Ejaria, Puscas (Clarke, 85).
Unused subs: Holmes, Camara, Ehibhatiomhan, Osorio, Ashcroft, Rafael (g/k).
Referee: Oliver Langford.