Cherries go top with win over Blades

AfC Bournemouth go back to the top of the EFL Championship after coming from 1-0 down to beat Sheffield United 2-1 at Vitality Stadium.

A fiery second half saw Bourenmouth come from behind to go back to the top of the Championship table after beating Sheffield United 2-1 at Vitality Stadium.

Goals from Dominic Solanke and Phillip Billing secured the win for the home side after Morgan Gibbs-White had put the visitors in front.

After a quiet first half, fans were entertained right up to the final whistle as Sheffield United threw everything they could at the home side - with former Cherries striker Lys Mousset hitting the bar in added time.

It was the first time the Cherries had gone behind in a league game this season and the team showed great character to earn all three points from a losing position.

Scott Parker had reverted back to the team that beat Luton last weekend with Ryan Christie, Ben Pearson and Adam Smith returning to the starting line-up as Morgan Rogers, Jack Stacey and David Brooks all dropped back down to the bench.

The Blades named an unchanged side from the one that lost in mid-week to Middelsborough but welcomed back Mousset who returned to the squad after injury to face his former club.

The first opportunity of the game came early on when Ben Osborn’s cross nearly caught Mark Travers out at the near post, but the Cherries keeper was able to turn the ball round the post for a corner as the wind and rain made conditions tricky for both sides.

With under 10 minutes on the clock, Phillip Billing tested Robin Olsen in the Blades goal, striking a freekick from 30 yards that weaved through the air, forcing the Blades’ keeper to parry the shot out for a corner.

Jaidon Anthony and Christie then combined from a short corner, resulting in Anthony floating a cross to the far post which was met by Jefferson Lerma, but the Colombian’s header failed to trouble Olsen who saved comfortably down to his right.

Billing then spurned a glorious chance with around 20 minutes played, Olsen passed the ball straight to the Dane who was 30 yards from goal, but the midfielder failed to get enough on his first time shot and the ball rolled back to a fortunate Olsen.

Bournemouth attacked once again down the left and this time Anthony drilled his cross low into the six yard box, but Jordan Zemura was unable to get on the end of it with the Blades able to clear their lines.

Sheffield then created their first real chance of the game as Osborn burst down the left flank, whipping his cross into the box but Billy Sharp blazed his effort over under pressure from Llyod Kelly.

With just over half an hour gone, a mistake from Kelly allowed Sharp in on goal, but the Blades captain wasted the chance and put the ball high over the bar.

Bournemouth created another opportunity just before the break as Christie cut onto his left foot after receiving the ball from Anthony in the box. The Scotland international failed to hit the target though as another opportunity went by for the home side in what was a tight first half.

At the other end, Sheffield United’s Morgan Gibbs-White tried his luck from the edge of the box but sent the ball high into the stands before another Cherries attack down the left saw Anthony cut onto his right, but his effort took a deflection and sailed wide. From the resulting corner Ben Davies was called into action after the ball ricocheted around the box before the referee blew for half-time.

The second half started with an immediate chance for the Cherries as Billing combined with Zemura who drove into the box and pulled the ball back for  Solanke who was denied twice by Enda Stevens, blocking the striker's initial shot and then again from the rebound.

Tempers started to flare as Adam Smith and Ben Osborn had a coming together that resulted in both players finding their way into Robert Jones’ book and Osborn the subject of the home fans' wrath.

Moments later though, Sheffield took the lead on 56 minutes with their first shot on target. A long ball up from Olsen went over Kelly’s head allowing Sharp to turn into the box and set up Gibbs-White who was arriving late from midfield to fire the visitors in front.

With the Cherries finding themselves behind for the first time in the league, it didn't take long for the hosts to level the tie as Solanke earned and scored a penalty just after the hour mark - sending Olsen the wrong way with an excellently taken spot kick.

Within three minutes, the Cherries found themselves leading as Solanke played in Christie down the right-hand side before the Bournemouth number 10 pulled the ball back for  an on rushing Billing who slid in to put the home side 2-1 with the ball taken a defelction on route to wrongfooting Olsen.

Slavisa Jokanovic then replaced Sharp with former Cherries forward Mousset with just under 20 minutes to go, but Bourenmouth’s quickfire double had given the home side plenty of confidence as they searched for a third and kill the game off.

It was Zemura who almost sealed the tie with 10 after the Zimbabwean played a wonderful one-two with Solanke whose reverse heel flick set up the left-back who could only find the side netting from an acute angle.

Olie McBurnie then missed a glorious opportunity to get the Blades back on level terms as Gibbs-White whipped in a free kick but  the Scot sent his header wide of Travers’ post.

Parker could be seen gesturing to his players as the clock ticked down, marshalling each players into position as Sheffield looked for a late equaliser 

The Cherries head coach brought on Chris Mepham with five minutes to go to help secure the victory replacing the hard working Christie as Bourenmouth went to a back five.

As the game entered into six minutes of injury-time, Sheffield almost found a late equaliser, first Mousset headed the ball onto the bar from close range before McBurnie volleyed the rebound wide but Bournemouth held on in the final stages.

A bouncing Vitality Stadium erupted on the final whistle  the Cherries extended their unbeaten run to 11 games and showed great character to come from behind and go top of the table.

 

Head coach: Scott Parker

AFCB: Travers (g/k); Smith, Zemura, Cahill, Kelly; Pearson, Lerma, Billing (Mepham 86'); Christie (Lowe 88'), Solanke (Stacey 90+3), Anthony (4-3-3)

Unused subs: Nyland (g/k), Brooks, Marcondes, Rogers

Bookings: Smith 54'

 

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic

Sheffield United: Olsen (g/k); Baldock, Stevens, Egan, Davies; Ndiaye (McBurnie 73'), Osborn, Norwood, Fleck, Gibbs-White; Sharp (Mousset 73')

Unused subs: Foderingham (g/k), Basham, Brewster, McGoldrick, Hourihane

Bookings: Fleck 7', Osborn 54'

 

Referee: Robert Jones

Assistants: Simon Long, Adrian Waters, Charles Breakspear (FO) 

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