By Josh Wilde (@josh_wilde20)
Goals from Junior Stanislas and an own goal by Ryan Shawcross ensured AFC Bournemouth drew 2-2 with Stoke this afternoon.
The Cherries battled back twice but will be disappointed with the goals they conceded as Lys Mousset headed into his own net, before Mame Biram Diouf converted following some indecisive defending.
Bournemouth made two changes to the side which beat Sunderland last time out.
Mousset made his first Premier League start in place of the injured Benik Afobe up front, while Stanislas was preferred to Ryan Fraser in midfield.
Pre-match, the Vitality Stadium stood to applaud the life of former AFC Bournemouth captain Roy Gater, who sadly passed away recently.
The Cherries had the better of the early stages and good work down the right saw Stanislas set up Adam Smith, but his cut-back could not find a red and black shirt.
They came even closer on 22 minutes when Smith’s effort hit the post with Stoke’s Jack Butland well beaten, before Mousset blazed over.
It was the 19th time the Cherries had hit the woodwork this season, the third highest figure in the division.
They may have been cursing their luck, but the home side soon enjoyed some good fortune as Harry Arter was in trouble for a poor two-footed tackle on Joe Allen.
Referee Paul Tierney only cautioned the midfielder, despite loud protestations from the Stoke players.
Allen’s volley was well-saved by Cherries goalkeeper Artur Boruc as the Potters looked to press forward.
Having gone over ten hours without scoring an away goal, the away side were helped to break that duct on the 33rd minute.
From the resulting corner, the unfortunate Mousset headed into his own net.
Smith and Stanislas both looked lively down Bournemouth’s right, but it was a frustrating first half for Eddie Howe’s side.
Stoke should have doubled their lead on the hour mark when Marko Arnautovic had the freedom of the Vitality Stadium, only to somehow head over from Allen’s cross.
They were to rue that miss seconds later as the Cherries equalised.
The impressive Smith crossed from the right and Josh King’s dummy saw Stanislas make no mistake with the slotted finish.
The winger was soon subbed off injured and it did not take long for Stoke to regain the lead.
On 73 minutes, Diouf poked home from close range after Geoff Cameron’s cross from the right was not dealt with by the Cherries defence.
In an end-to- end game, Bournemouth equalised for a second time, despite Stoke’s protestations.
With nine minutes remaining, Smith delivered another good cross and substitute Max Gradel saw his header come off King and Shawcross before crossing the line.
The Potters complained that King was fractionally offside but the goal stood.
Gradel then appeared to kick out at Shawcross off the ball and was subsequently booked.
Bournemouth had to withstand some late pressure from set pieces but they stood strong to secure a point.
The result was enough to mathematically confirm the Cherries’ Premier League status and saw them move up to tenth in the table.
After the match, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe gave his view on Arter’s challenge, saying “It’s difficult for me. I’m naturally going to defend my player … I think the referee made the right decision.
“It’s important we don’t get complacent because it’s a ruthless league.
“We’re competing against the best teams in the world and it’s very difficult to be competitive.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes had a different opinion on the game’s key talking point, saying “Arter’s very lucky to stay on the field … he was out of control and a little bit reckless.
“For the majority of the game, I thought we were in control. I’m disappointed we couldn’t get the three points.
“I imagine Eddie’s happier with the point than I am.”