Fulham 2-2 Bournemouth: Cottagers come from behind twice to earn a point


Fulham 2-2 Bournemouth: Cottagers come from behind twice to take a draw against in-form Cherries… with the visitors now unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches

  • Dominic Solanke opened the scoring before Issa Diop equalised for the hosts
  • Jefferson Lerma again gave Bournemouth the lead 29 minutes into the game
  • Alexsandar Mitrovic equalised from the penalty spot early into the second-half 
  • Fulham looked more likely to score a winner though the Cherries held on 
  • Bournemouth are now six games unbeaten under caretaker Gary O’Neil 

To think, seven weeks ago Gary O’Neil was managing his son Carter-Jae’s Under-9s team to defeat. Now he’s unbeaten in six Premier League games as a rookie caretaker coach.

O’Neil was not a serious candidate when the Bournemouth vacancy first became available upon Scott Parker’s sacking in late August. He was a stopgap; a ‘he’ll do for now’ appointment.

Yet Bournemouth have grown into a different team since that 9-0 defeat by Liverpool. They’ll be disappointed with this draw, given they led twice and were pegged back twice, but they can say they sit in the top-half of the Premier League table.

Bournemouth are now unbeaten in their six games under caretaker manager Gary O’Neil

Alexsandar Mitrovic earned his side a point but was annoyed not to score a late winner

Alexsandar Mitrovic earned his side a point but was annoyed not to score a late winner

O'Neil has had a stunning start to life at Bournemouth who currenly sit inside the top ten

O’Neil has had a stunning start to life at Bournemouth who currenly sit inside the top ten

Above Liverpool. Above Everton. Way above Nottingham Forest and way above Southampton. Above all those other sides whose odds of survival were better than theirs, given Bournemouth started this season as favourites to drop down.

Parker was given the elbow after criticising the strength of the squad at his disposal. O’Neil has avoided such mistakes and is getting a tune out of this supposedly broken banjo.

Until American billionaire Bill Foley’s takeover is finalised, we’re unlikely to have a decision on the next permanent Bournemouth boss. But my word, the 39-year-old newbie that is O’Neil cannot do much more than he is now.

Dominic Solanke gave Bournemouth the perfect start scoring after just two minutes

Dominic Solanke gave Bournemouth the perfect start scoring after just two minutes

Their lead lasted 20 minutes until Issa Diop (centre) glanced a header into the back of the net

Their lead lasted 20 minutes until Issa Diop (centre) glanced a header into the back of the net

Fulham were level for just seven minutes until Jefferson Lerma placed a shot to make it 2-1

Fulham were level for just seven minutes until Jefferson Lerma placed a shot to make it 2-1

Bournemouth players were frustrated after the referee pointed to the penalty spot

Bournemouth players were frustrated after the referee pointed to the penalty spot

Alexsandar Mitrovic, who won the penalty, then made no mistake as he tucked away

Alexsandar Mitrovic, who won the penalty, then made no mistake as he tucked away

Bournemouth led after one minute and three seconds thanks to a delicious one-two between their front two. Philip Billing was played in behind before returning the pass to Dominic Solanke, who beat Bernd Leno for 1-0 – a perfect start to O’Neil’s sixth game as caretaker.

MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Leno 6; Reidb6, Diop 6.5, Ream 6, Robinson 6; Reed 5.5 (Cairney 45, 6), Palhinha 6; James 5.5 (Willian 45, 6), Pereira 6 (Vinicius 87), Kebano 5.5 (Wilson 62, 6); Mitrovic 6

Subs (not used): Rodak, Tosin, Duffy, Mbabu, Harris

Scorers: Diop (22), Mitrovic (52 pen)

Booked: Reid, Ream

Manager: Marco Silva 6

Bournemouth (4-4-2): Neto 6; Fredericks 6, Mepham 6, Senesi 6, Smith 6; Christie 6 (Stacey 89), Cook 6, Lerma 6, Tavernier 6 (Anthony 75, 6); Billing 6.5 (Zemura 80), Solanke 7 (Moore 89)

Subs (not used): Travers, Stephens, Rothewell, Stanislas, Dembele

Scorers: Solanke (2), Lerma (29)

Manager: Gary O’Neil 6.5

Referee: Graham Scott 6

Attendance: 22,913

In the 22nd minute, Fulham answered back. How simple it was, too. Andreas Palhinha crossed his corner and Issa Diop headed beyond Wolves goalkeeper Neto to make it 1-1.

Bournemouth wanted some help in retaking the lead when Tim Ream grabbed the arm of Ryan Fredericks, who was breaking behind. ‘VAR’ chanted Bournemouth’s supporters. Robert Jones took a look from Stockley Park but decided there was not enough to suggest a penalty.

Nevertheless, Bournemouth did take a 2-1 lead after 28 minutes when Solanke found space down the right-hand side. He fed Jefferson Lerma, who slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Fulham’s defending had been dire and with half hour gone, we had seen three goals.

We would have seen the game’s fourth scored by Bournemouth were it not for Leno. In the 40th minute, he saved Lerma’s header then denied Adam Smith the rebound from point-blank range.

At half time, the talk in the press room was of there being another two goals in this game, at least. It was that sort of open contest; one end to the other. Whether it finished 4-1 to Bournemouth or 3-2 to Fulham, however, was anyone’s guess.

Aleksandar Mitrovic, starting for the first time since October 1 due to an ankle complaint, had hardly seen the opposition goal. Fulham know they aren’t the same without him and whether he was fully fit here was questionable.

Yet in the 51st minute, he won Fulham a penalty. Pereira had crossed the ball and Lerma was cuddling Mitrovic as if it was Valentine’s Day. Referee Graham Scott rightly pointed to the penalty spot and the Serbian striker stepped up to make it 2-2.

Mitrovic immediately gathered the ball with hopes that Fulham could go and find a winner

Mitrovic immediately gathered the ball with hopes that Fulham could go and find a winner

Twice Bournemouth had led and twice Fulham pulled it back. Solanke might have given the visitors a 3-2 lead when he broke behind but Leno got down to save well.

Fulham wanted a penalty int he 72nd minute when Smith clumsily challenged Bobby De Cordova-Reid. Scott gave nothing and VAR said there was no clear and obvious error.

As we entered the final 10 minutes, it was all Fulham. Bournemouth were living dangerously and at risk of their first defeat under O’Neil. He substituted their two strikers, Solanke and Billing, as the visitors held on for the point.

Marco Silva saw his side go behind twice but will have been happy to see his side's fight

Marco Silva saw his side go behind twice but will have been happy to see his side’s fight

Bournemouth are now unbeaten in their last six games since the 9-0 loss to Liverpool

Bournemouth are now unbeaten in their last six games since the 9-0 loss to Liverpool

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