Sweet 16th as Bournemouth earn first victory at Southampton

Eddie Howe’s adventurous side full value for victory as they move up to third in table

Nathan Ake heads home  Bournemouth’s  first goal during the Premier League match against Southampton  at St Mary’s Stadium. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Nathan Ake heads home Bournemouth’s first goal during the Premier League match against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

 

Southampton 1 Bournemouth 3

The wait is over for Bournemouth. Finally, at the 16th time of asking, they tasted victory on Southampton soil and climbed to the dizzy heights of third place in the Premier League in the process. Nathan Ake and Harry Wilson inflicted the damage with first-half goals that Southampton, despite rousing after the interval, were unable to recover from.

James Ward-Prowse led the Southampton fightback in a second half that saw Bournemouth rarely venture forward, but the midfielder’s penalty kick brought hope and nothing more. Although Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side played with a lot more intensity in that second period, it is easy to see why there are concerns where the goals will come from in this Southampton team.

Bournemouth have no such worries. Ake, with a towering header, put them in front with the simplest of set-piece goals and Harry Wilson scored for the third time this season to leave Southampton with too much work to do. Although Bournemouth were hanging on at times near the end, a dreadful mix up between Angus Gunn and Jan Bednarek saw Callum Wilson add a late third.

Games involving Bournemouth are rarely dull, especially when they are playing away from home, and this was no exception. Full of pace on the counterattack and slick with their passing during those raids upfield, Eddie Howe’s team were too much for Southampton in the opening 45 minutes. The visitors scored early and saw a second goal ruled out by VAR before the half-hour mark. It was a reprieve for Southampton but only a temporary one. Within 10 minutes Bournemouth had the ball in the net again and this time there was no technology to come to Southampton’s rescue.

The first blow had been delivered via Ake’s forehead and in a manner that raised major questions about Southampton’s marking. Diego Rico delivered an inswinging corner and Ake was able to get a free run at the ball. Kevin Danso was the nearest player to Ake when the Dutchman made contact but powerless to prevent him from heading powerfully past Gunn from six yards out.

Southampton looked flat and vulnerable whenever Bournemouth broke. Dominic Solanke was given far too much space to run into before releasing Joshua King behind the Southampton defence. With the angle against him, King expertly curled the ball into the far corner and the visiting supporters celebrated a second. VAR, however, intervened after replays showed that King had strayed just offside.

If there was an improvement from Southampton thereafter it was only marginal. A poor kick from Aaron Ramsdale, Bournemouth’s goalkeeper, dropped at the feet of Oriol Romeu about 40 yards from goal. With Nathan Redmond breaking on the right, Romeu fed the ball into the forward’s pass but the low centre that followed slid across the face of goal with no Southampton player close to getting a touch. By the time Redmond forced Ramsdale into a proper save, in the 42nd minute, Bournemouth had a second.

It was a fine goal, too. Philip Billing was heavily involved in the build-up that eventually led to Rico finding King wide on the left. King rolled the ball into the path of Billing, who had continued his run, and it was a lovely cut-back from the former Huddersfield player that picked out Harry Wilson. Running across Jannik Vestergaard, the Welshman converted with an incisive first-time finish.

Saints needed something – anything – to get them back in the match. Ward-Prowse squandered one chance early in the second half, when he lifted an inviting cross from Cedric Soares over the bar, but he was not going to pass up a second. His penalty kick, after Steve Cook had needlessly brought down Che Adams, was emphatically swept into the top corner and suddenly it was game on.

Southampton were now playing with much more belief, yet there was still a fragility about them at the back. Soares clumsily collided with King in the area, Chris Kavanagh, the referee, waved away Bournemouth’s appeals and VAR, somewhat surprisingly, stood by that decision. Back came Southampton again as Ward-Prowse, their most dangerous player, sidefooted inches over. – Guardian

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