by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe praised the attitude of his players after the Cherries fought back against Newcastle United to claim a late point.
Rafa Benitez’s Magpies had raced into a two goal lead before half-time after Dwight Gayle’s brace. Ex-Cherries winger Matt Ritchie crossed for Gayle who flicked into the net for the first, before the former Crystal Palace frontman prodded home another on the stroke of half-time.
But Howe’s men improved drastically after the interval, and halved the deficit through Adam Smith’s venomous strike. The Cherries eventually found the equaliser in the 89th minute, when former Newcastle midfielder Dan Gosling was on hand to stab Nathan Ake’s pass into the roof of the net and force a share of the spoils.
Howe said after the game that he always believed his team could salvage a result, despite having it all to do at half-time.
“I always believe that were good enough.” he told the media. “The substitutions made a big difference. The last 10 minutes we were able to pen them in.”
Despite the end result, Howe did admit the Cherries were poor for the majority of the game: “My heart this season is being tested to the max.
“Today was tough, we weren’t very good for 70 mins. I have to praise the attitude of the players to come back.”
Jermain Defoe was a second-half substitute, after returning from the serious ankle injury picked up against Chelsea in December. The veteran striker played a key role in instigating Bournemouth’s comeback, along with Adam Smith and Lys Mousset – both of whom were throw on with the Cherries chasing two goals.
“It does show the quality that we’ve got.” Howe said. “Adam Smith gave us energy. Jermain [Defoe] and Lys [Mousset] made a big difference.”
The stalemate keeps Bournemouth in 10th place, five points clear of the drop zone ahead of a trip to Leicester City.