By Danny Lewis (@DannyLewis_95)
With AFC Bournemouth coming into their last home match of the season with safety guaranteed, they were able to start looking up the table. Burnley had also secured safety, which meant that both teams were able to play freely without the threat of relegation.
However, that wasn’t evident at the beginning of the game, as it was a very slow starter. AFC Bournemouth were retaining the ball and Burnley were performing well defensively but neither team really caused a threat in the opening stages.
The first real chance came in the 25th minute and it was converted. Lewis Cook played a pinpoint pass to Junior Stanislas from his own half. The Bournemouth winger then chested the ball down, turned and placed the ball in the bottom left corner just outside of Tom Heaton’s reach, making it 1-0 to AFC Bournemouth.
Proceedings livened up a bit after this, with Scott Arfield forcing the Cherries defence into some great defensive work and Mark Pugh causing some problems for Burnley’s defence.
However, neither team was able to do quite enough to score. The half time whistle went with AFC Bournemouth 1-0 up. Andre Gray was brought on for Ashley Barnes during the break as Sean Dyche looked to get his side back in the game.
The second half started as the first half had played out and there wasn’t too much goal mouth action. Lys Mousset had a good chance for Bournemouth and Johan Berg Gudmundsson created some opportunities, but it took until the 83rd minute for another goal.
Gudmundsson put in a cross from the right hand side and Sam Vokes leaped up to guide it into the bottom corner with a sublime header. Burnley hadn’t really shown much during the game and the goal was against the run of play, but it had plenty of quality and brought the scores to 1-1.
The sides weren’t level for long though, as Joshua King got on the score sheet for the fifth time in seven games. In the 86TH minute Ryan Fraser crossed the ball into the box towards King and the Norwegian muscled his way past James Tarkowski before slotting the ball under Heaton to restore Bournemouth’s lead and put them 2-1 up.
The game petered out after that and the final whistle went to cement the Cherries’ victory. Bournemouth’s win sees them into 10th place, while Burnley are now 14th.
Eddie Howe stressed how important it is for AFC Bournemouth to push on and try to get a top 10 finish: “If we could achieve it [a top 10 finish], it would be a nice thing to say, it would be a really nice thing to achieve together and would continue the momentum that we’ve built in recent seasons.”
AFC Bournemouth (4-2-3-1)
Boruc; A. Smith, Francis, S. Cook, Daniels; L. Cook, Arter (Gosling 81); Stanislas (Ibe 87), King, Pugh; Mousset (Fraser 66)
Heaton; Lowton, Tarkowski, Long, Ward; Boyd, Westwood, Hendrick, Arfield (Gudmundsson 75); Vokes, Barnes (Gray HT)
MAN OF THE MATCH
The youngster controlled the game very well both in and outside of possession. His passing was brilliant, as was showcased by his assist for the opener. He would often be the one to spread the play and drive the team forward. Cook was also very efficient when it came to retrieving the ball. He showed a lot of grit and determination, which helped him to break up the opposition’s play.