Early goals condemn Cherries to defeat
- Keith Stroud
AFC Bournemouth’s promotion bid was checked after they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
The Cherries were left with a mountain to climb after West Brom scored twice inside the opening 12 minutes through Alex Mowatt and Andy Carroll.
Mowatt profited after Parker’s team had failed to clear a Darnell Furlong cross before Carroll seized on a mule-like clearance from Sam Johnstone to double their lead.
Head coach Parker named an unchanged starting line-up for a third game in succession as the Cherries looked to build on back-to-back wins against Huddersfield and Bristol City.
Freddie Woodman was named among the Cherries substitutes having missed the victory over the Robins due to illness, the Newcastle loan goalkeeper replacing Will Dennis.
Jordan Zemura tried his luck in the early stages, the defender trading passes with Jaidon Anthony before firing over the crossbar from 20 yards.
But disaster struck for the Cherries when West Brom forged into a 2-0 lead, the hosts scoring twice in four minutes to seize the initiative.
The Baggies opened the scoring through Mowatt in the eighth minute after the Cherries had paid the ultimate price for failing to clear Furlong’s cross.
Summer signing Mowatt drilled an unstoppable left-footed strike past Mark Travers from the edge of the box after the ball had fallen invitingly into his path.
Carroll doubled the hosts’ lead just four minutes later, the striker fastening on to a huge clearance from goalkeeper Johnstone and rifling into the bottom corner of the net having shaken off Adam Smith.
The Cherries went close to halving the deficit after Dominic Solanke had met Ryan Christie’s low cross, the striker deftly clipping the ball past the far post.
Zemura’s slide-rule pass sent Anthony racing down the left flank but his centre flashed across the face of the goalmouth and just eluded the run of Solanke.
In added time at the end of a fairly uninspiring first half, Baggies goalkeeper Johnstone raced off his line to beat Solanke to a weak Conor Townsend back-pass.
Siriki Dembele, who netted a stunning goal against Bristol City on Saturday, replaced Christie as Parker made a change at the interval.
Carroll’s effort trickled past the post after he had latched on to a pass from Grady Diangana before Smith fired past the post having been teed up by Solanke’s back-heel.
Phil Billing lifted his shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box after Dembele had created the opening as the Cherries made an encouraging start to the second half.
Todd Cantwell came off the bench to replace Lewis Cook ten minutes after the break before Lloyd Kelly’s effort sailed over the crossbar.
Billing’s delightful pass picked out Zemura arriving at the far post, only for the defender to scoop his effort high over the crossbar as he stretched to meet the ball.
Solanke’s speculative shot failed to trouble Johnstone, as did Cantwell’s 25-yard effort which bounced past the upright.
Travers prevented Callum Robinson from adding a third, the Cherries goalkeeper diving to his left to save the substitute's shot late on.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Smith, Phillips, Kelly, Zemura, Cook (Cantwell, 55), Lerma, Billing, Christie (Dembele, h-t), Solanke, Anthony (Lowe, 64).
Unused subs: Pearson, Stacey, Cahill, Woodman (g/k).
Booked: Zemura, Kelly, Solanke.
West Brom: Johnstone, Ajayi, Bartley, Clarke, Furlong (Molumby, 68), Gardner-Hickman, Livermore, Mowatt (O'Shea, 85), Townsend, Diangana (Robinson, 74), Carroll.
Unused subs: Kipre, Reach, Fellows, Button (g/k).
Booked: Furlong, Bartley, Johnstone.
Referee: Keith Stroud.
Attendance: 20,501 (including 1,263 away supporters).