Cherries battle to Blades point
- Dean Whitestone
AFC Bournemouth claimed a point from Saturday’s lunch time kick off after a 0-0 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Both sides had chances to win what was a tense and fractious affair in south Yorkshire, but neither were able to break the deadlock and the spoils were shared.
Scott Parker made one change to the side that lost 2-0 to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night, with Siriki Dembele replacing Jaidon Anthony. Chris Mepham and Robbie Brady were also restored to the bench in place of Gary Cahill and Jack Stacey.
Both sides took time to settle in what was a scrappy opening, with only a wayward Oli McBurnie diving header to speak of by way of early chances.
The hosts looked to wrestle the initiative after 20 minutes, and were close to going in front as Lloyd Kelly sliced a dangerous Morgan Gibbs-White cross narrowly wide of his own goal.
The Cherries skipper was even closer to scoring at the wrong end moments later, as he inadvertently poked a John Fleck corner past the stranded Mark Travers, onto his own crossbar and over.
The visitors had their first sight of goals after 28 minutes, as Siriki Dembele did well to nod a loose ball into the path of Ryan Christie who attempted to lob Wes Foderingham from the edge of the box, but the Blades ‘keeper was alert and gathered comfortably above his head.
As the game moved past the half hour mark, it was McBurnie’s turn to come close. The striker was picked out by Gibbs-White on the edge of the box, took a touch and shot right-footed, but his effort took a deflection off Kelly and flew just over the bar.
The Cherries finished an even half on the front foot with Dembele and Christie both looking dangerous. The latter nearly forced an own goal from George Baldock, the Blades right back scuffing a pass from the Scot past Foderingham. However, the Blades ‘keeper was able to scramble back and gather the ball before it trickled over the line.
Travers was on hand to keep it goalless on the stroke of the break, brilliantly tipping a Gibbs-White effort over the bar after the winger had been played in by McBurnie.
The Blades’ Ben Davies squandered an excellent chance early in the second half, as he found himself unmarked at the back post from a corner, but could only head wide.
After that early chance, it was the Cherries who found themselves on top during the half’s early exchanges, and were enjoying the lion’s share of possession as the clock ticked past the hour mark.
However it was the hosts who nearly broke the deadlock on 69 minutes as a slip from Nat Philips allowed Gibbs-White to bear down on goal, but Travers spread himself brilliantly to block the Wolves loanee’s effort with his left leg.
The Cherries gathered themselves thereafter and continued to control possession in an increasingly tense atmosphere. Lloyd Kelly came close to giving them the lead on 79 minutes as he reacted quickest to a knock down from Phillips, but could only prod over the bar from eight yards out.
Brady was soon introduced for his fifth Cherries appearance, coming on for the injured Jordan Zemura, who went down holding his hamstring.
As both sides pushed for the winner, the best chance fell the way of Filip Uremović with less than 60 seconds left on the clock. Unmarked in the middle after the ball was knocked down, the Ukrainian slashed it at goal and fired his shot wide from six yards, as both teams were forced to settle for a point.