By Juan Aguerrevere
Eddie Howe's Bournemouth remain winless at home since their 4-0 win against Chelsea on January 30th. Cherry fans will certainly be disappointed after dropping three points to Fulham, a team playing in the Championship next season.
Howe relied on his favored (4-4-2) formation with only one modification; Junior Stanislas for Adam Smith who was injured during warm-ups.
Fulham boss Scott Parker switched back to a (4-2-3-1) formation despite winning his first Premier League match last weekend. Ryan Babel (left) and Ryan Sessegnon (right) swapped flanks; Jean Michael-Seri started over Tom Cairney who scored last week against Everton and Denis Odoi replaced Timothy Fosu-Mensah as a result of an injury.
After getting out to an energetic start, Bournemouth looked ready to end a dreadful 2 and a half month win drought in its home ground, the Vitality Stadium.
In the 1st minute, Ryan Fraser sent a dangerous ball to Callum Wilson who adapts to defensive pressure and manages to shoot it right over the bar.
Amid an early Cherry domination, Fraser found himself wide and did what he does best sending a perfect driven cross that left all defenders standing. Joshua King denied Fraser's 13th (league leading) assist as he blew his shot over the bar from the 6-yard box.
Ake showed heroics as he always does in the 15th minute. Arsenal loanee, Callum Chambers headed a corner towards the Bournemouth goal, however, Ake stood his ground and chested the shot away from goal. The play didn't end there.
Consequently, the ball was cleared, then lobbed back into the box and headed back-ward by Callum Wilson. The flick allowed Aleksandar Mitrovic to get in behind the defense for a shot. But the Serbian panicked and kicked the ball over the target.
Fraser came back knocking at Rico's goal on the counter. After a solo run, Fraser tested Sergio Rico who made the save after stretching for the ball.
Stanislas injured his knee in the process of taking a free-kick. Unable to continue, he was substituted by Jack Simpson in the 23rd minute. Another blow for Bournemouth with now 47 reported injuries during this campaign.
The Whites had a couple of chances after the 30th minute involving Sessegnon's dangerous squared-ball to no one in the area. Bournemouth’s Steve Cook saved his team by catching up to Mitrovic and dispossessing him in what looked like a 1-on-1 opportunity.
Bournemouth turned on the engines in the last 5 minutes of the half. In the process, Rico is forced to punch a ball out taking down Wilson with him. Referee David Coote awarded 3 minutes of added time due to injuries and the game stood at 0-0.
Bournemouth's chances of winning the game drastically deminished when substitute Simpson took down Mitrovic in the area in the 52nd minute. The challenge was a bit rash, as Mitrovic was not facing the goal or looking for a shot. Mitrovic took the spot kick and sent Boruc to the wrong side giving the away section something to cheer about.
Rico showed his reflexes at the turn of the hour. He was vital on three different occasions denying Fraser twice and a final time against PFA young player of the year nominee, Brooks.
That’s two wins in a row for Fulham.
Juan is a senior at the University of Florida. He is an aspiring sports writer, analyst, and commentator.