Bournemouth have announced the appointment of Gary O’Neil as their head coach on a permanent basis after a spell as caretaker. The 39-year-old has been given a contract to the end of next season with the option of a 12-month extension.
O’Neil had 12 matches in caretaker charge after the sacking of Scott Parker and started with a six-match unbeaten run. More recently Bournemouth have beaten Everton in the Premier League and Carabao Cup after four straight defeats.
“Gary did an excellent job on an interim basis and the board are delighted to make his position as head coach permanent,” Bournemouth’s chief executive, Neill Blake, told the club’s website.
“We have been impressed with the way he has conducted himself from the moment he joined the club and feel he has earned this opportunity to continue to take the team and the club forward.
“Gary has worked tirelessly and diligently on the training pitch and the players have responded by producing some excellent performances and results. It was evident from the reception he received from our supporters following the Premier League win against Everton that they have also appreciated his efforts and we are all looking forward to continuing our working relationship with him.”
Marcelo Bielsa could be in line for a shock return to the Premier League after holding talks with Bournemouth.
Bielsa, who was sacked by Leeds in February, is the club’s preferred external candidate should they decide against appointing the interim manager, Gary O’Neil, on a permanent basis. Bielsa is wanted by the prospective Bournemouth owner Bill Foley, whose £120m takeover is awaiting ratification by the Premier League. The 67-year-old Argentinian memorably restored Leeds to the top flight in 2020 after a 16-year hiatus.
Bournemouth cooled their interest in Kjetil Knutsen, the Bodø/Glimt manager, and were strong admirers of Roberto De Zerbi, who has since been appointed Graham Potter’s successor at Brighton.
O’Neil has done a remarkable job to stabilise the club after Scott Parker was sacked following Bournemouth’s 9-0 defeat at Liverpool in August. O’Neil, who is highly regarded by the Bournemouth hierarchy, would move on if a move for Bielsa materialises.
O’Neil, the 39-year-old former Portsmouth midfielder, led Bournemouth into the Carabao Cup last 16 with an impressive 4-1 win over Everton on Tuesday and they face the same opponent on Saturday hoping to halt a run of four straight league defeats.
There was elation in the away end as League Two side Gillingham advanced to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 6-5 win on penalties over Premier League opponents Brentford. The Bees were ahead inside five minutes when Mikkel Damsgaard’s fine pass found England hopeful Ivan Toney, who tapped in the opener.
Brentford enjoyed 80% possession but the resilient visitors struck back on 75 minutes when the substitute Mikael Mandron headed home Alex MacDonald’s cross at the near post, ensuring the Gills’ only shot of the match counted. A thrilling battle from the spot ended when the Gillingham midfielder Alex MacDonald scored their sixth penalty and Damsgaard saw his effort hit the bar, sealing victory for the underdogs.
Victory capped a memorable a day for the Kent club given that they had to walk the last part of their journey to Brentford, which meant kick-off was delayed by 20 minutes. “We had to walk here, we had to climb over barriers and help each other get over fences,” said the Gillingham manager Neil Harris.
“We got to about a quarter of a mile from Chiswick Roundabout and we got stuck. Fortunately we had a tactics board on the bus. But we couldn’t move and they couldn’t get a police escort to us. So we got in touch with the officials and decided to walk – probably about a 10-minute walk.”
Frank Lampard suffered an embarrassing Carabao Cup exit as his Everton side were thrashed 4-1 by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. The Toffees were made to pay for a number of defensive mistakes as Bournemouth ended their run of four successive Premier League defeats to ease into round four.
Jamal Lowe, Junior Stanislas, Emiliano Marcondes and Jaidon Anthony were on target for the hosts, with Demarai Gray replying for Everton. Frank Lampard admitted Everton’s fringe players had come up short. “We were poor,” Lampard said. “I made a lot of changes, but the reality of my job is that we want to win every game we play.”
Lincoln bounced back from FA Cup embarrassment to storm into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 3-1 victory over Championship club Bristol City at Ashton Gate. The League One side took a seventh-minute lead when midfielder Matty Virtue was allowed time and space 25 yards out to the left of goal and netted with a sweetly struck right-footed drive.
It was 2-0 on 15 minutes as Ben House robbed young defender Joe Low, making his first start for the Robins, and ran through to slot home from inside the box. Four minutes into the second half Lincoln were in dreamland as Paudie O’Connor headed the third from virtually on the goal line after a free-kick was not dealt with.
The substitute Tommy Conway shot home from close range on 80 minutes but Lincoln, dumped out of the FA Cup by non-League Chippenham at the weekend, were in no mood to surrender their advantage.
Two late goals from substitute Anass Zaroury broke Crawley’s stubborn resistance and gave Burnley a hard-earned 3-1 win to reach the Carabao Cup fourth round. The third-round tie at Turf Moor looked as if it might have to be settled by a shootout as the Championship side spurned chance after chance to kill off the League Two outfit, who had taken the scalps of League One Bristol Rovers and Premier League Fulham to earn the trip to Turf Moor.
But Zaroury, who had been sent on as a 56th-minute substitute, eased their frustrations when he tapped the ball home from a couple of yards in the 79th minute after Ashley Barnes had touched on Manuel Benson’s low cross. And he added his second with a similar close-range finish in the 90th minute from his fellow sub Vitinho’s cross.
Goals either side of half-time from Warren O’Hora and Matthew Dennis ensured MK Dons earned a place in Thursday’s fourth round draw as they beat League One rivals Morecambe 2-0. Charlton edged a close contest with fourth-tier Stevenage, advancing with a 5-4 win on penalties. Stevenage went ahead through Luke Norris’s 22nd-minute penalty and defended their lead deep into the second half, when Chuks Aneke equalised to take the match to penalties.
The Leeds squad marked Halloween with a fancy dress party and, for most of a shockingly slapdash first half, Jesse Marsch must have suspected they were still in disguise.
With Marcus Tavernier excelling, Bournemouth were in complete control but a couple of inspired substitutions ensured that thanks to Cyrsencio Summerville’s second winning goal in consecutive games the visitors were consigned to a fourth straight Premier League defeat.
“In our good moments you can see how strong we are,” said Marsch. “Consistency is lacking but the belief is still high. That’s what I love about the team. But the first half wasn’t our best. We dug ourselves a big hole.”
Although Leeds were initially confused by Bournemouth’s habit of segueing between a back four and a back five, they started strongly. Inside the first minute, Summerville, the scorer of last weekend’s winner at Liverpool, accelerated into the area only to be clumsily hacked down by Marcos Senesi. Rodrigo stepped forward to take the penalty and, after a somewhat elaborate run up, used his left foot to send Mark Travers the wrong way.
Marsch has recently toned down his touchline celebrations but as Rodrigo converted his sixth goal of the season – and third in three games – the American reverted to default mode, punching the air with untrammelled abandon.
Bournemouth possess a rather useful left-winger of their own in Tavernier and it did not take their summer signing from Middlesbrough long to remind everyone of his talent. When Philip Billing crossed menacingly, Robin Koch could only head the ball as far as Tavernier whose volley was too good for Illan Meslier.
Although Meslier parried Tavernier’s next shot, Billing – who tortured Pascal Struijk throughout –reacted quickest to lash the rebound high into the net.
If Jack Harrison’s relocation from the left to the right wing appeared to have reduced Leeds’s attacking threat it represented the least of their problems. With Koch and Liam Cooper bullied by Dominic Solanke and Kieffer Moore, a static home defence was fortunate not to concede at least three more goals before half time.
“I’m bitterly disappointed,” said Bournemouth manager, Gary O’Neil. “We created loads and loads of chances.”
At least Leeds had Wilfried Gnonto on the bench. The striker signed from FC Zurich in the summer is already a full Italy international at the age of 19 and he replaced Harrison at half-time as Leeds switched to a 4-3-3. Before Gnonto could make an impact a counterattacking Bournemouth scored again. Tavernier all too easily – and not for the first time – dodged Rasmus Kristensen before sending in a low cross which Solanke brilliantly flicked past Meslier.
The rain and the boos cascaded down in almost equal measure. At that point Leeds fans pining for the injured Patrick Bamford could hardly have guessed that, in replacing Marc Roca with Sam Greenwood, Marsch was about to make a transformational substitution. Greenwood is a central midfielder these days but used to be a striker and emphasised the point by wrapping a foot around a bouncing ball and reducing the deficit courtesy of a sublimely curving, 20-yard half volley.
Sudddenly Elland Road became reacquainted with the concept of hope. Such faith was justified when Cooper headed Leeds level from a corner. Given that Greenwood took the set-piece and that Gnonto – intelligent, incisive and blessed with a wicked change of pace – was petrifying the defence, redemption beckoned for Marsch.
It arrived when Gnonto collected the ball deep inside his own half, hared forward and slipped a beautifully weighted pass into Summerville’s path. Some forwards might have lost their composure at such a pivotal moment but the 21-year-old Dutch winger proved a study in poise and precision, sliding his shot beyond the advancing Travers.
Almost immediately, fireworks began illuminating the skies above Elland Road. “We never have simple wins,” Marsch said. “We don’t make things easy.”
Relief? Joy? Ultimately a decent dollop of both. Season-defining is perhaps a stretch but this victory, or at least the manner of it, could certainly shape Tottenham’s immediate future.
Two in the red approaching the hour mark, a third consecutive league defeat – and with it a miserable end to a chastening 10 days – beckoned.
Then came the spirit, the fight, that Antonio Conte has long been calling for. First Ryan Sessegnon, then Ben Davies and finally, the substitute Rodrigo Bentancur, intervened. In time added on the latter calmly steered home from their 19th corner.
Conte, still reeling from Wednesday’s injury-time disappointment against Sporting Lisbon, disappeared briefly down the tunnel. “I thought I could have a heart attack with two disallowed goals in a few days,” he said. “So I stayed calm and awaited the decision of the referee.”
All was well. And what might have been a sheepish post-match wave of apology towards visiting fans became a united celebration.
Tottenham must address their concerning trend of starting tardily and the performance of a heavily rotated side did little to ease concerns about squad depth. With an eye on midweek in Marseille, half-a-dozen changes included Eric Dier’s absence from the starting lineup for the first time this season, Bentancur initially getting a watching brief and Cristian Romero dropping out altogether.
Conte gambled and it almost back-fired. Those are the margins that mean the questions can wait for another day. Tottenham’s ninth and final fixture of a manic October sees them retain third spot.
“I don’t want to think about my mood had we lost this game,” Conte said. “It was a vital win for us, especially after two losses. I said to the players after the first half that they had to take responsibility. We then started to play with nastiness, with the desire to hurt the opponent. I saw in the eyes of my players that they decided to win this game.”
Bournemouth’s disappointment at a third consecutive league defeat was palpable. “I’m really disappointed that the boys put so much in but got nothing out of it,” Gary O’Neil said.
Kieffer Moore’s two goals had Bournemouth buoyant. Wales’ No 9 shone when England’s equivalent might have expected to be more effective than a frustrated booking.
In the opening minutes an unmarked Moore guided Lewis Cook’s corner on to the roof’s net. A warning sign? Most definitely. Tottenham were sluggish. Bournemouth were sharp and snappy. Low on possession, yes. But they had a sense of purpose to them and shape, too.
Moore’s inclusion allowed Dominic Solanke to drop deeper. Off the back of a 30-goal promotion campaign Solanke has filled the supporting role with success at times this season.
While he did not get an assist, Moore’s opener was of his making. On the halfway line Solanke’s first touch turned Davies on the inside, before his second sent Marcus Tavernier racing down the outside. Tavernier’s first-time centre was swept into the corner.
It took 36 minutes for Oliver Skipp to register Tottenham’s first effort on target. Moments later Son Heung-min’s dangerous cross was headed on to his own bar by Marcos Senesi. It was a vital intervention with attackers queuing.
Soon after the break, the skies and Conte’s mood darkened further. Moore was again the source of misery, stooping his 6ft 5in frame and bravely met Adam Smith’s sublime whipped cross.
But with Conte’s cavalry stripped and ready, Sessegnon halved the deficit. Tavernier was blindsided; Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s pass was pinpoint; and a nick off Chris Mepham beat Mark Travers.
On came Dier and Bentancur. Then came Ivan Perisic, whose inswinging corner was met by Davies. Travers, starting for the first time since shipping nine at Anfield, was guilty of flapping. “There were some errors in there that were avoidable,” said O’Neil, without pointing fingers. All square and 17 minutes remained.
Conte urged white bodies forward; Højbjerg curled narrowly over; Bournemouth thought they had held on. Bentancur determined otherwise.
For Spurs attention turns quickly from next season’s Champions League race to the current one. And they are likely to be boosted in southern France by Dejan Kulusevski’s return. He was sighted running pre-match shuttles.
Conte soon celebrates a year at the Tottenham helm. He craves just one present. “This ‘winner’ has to give us enthusiasm, the passion, to go to Marseille to play in what will be a final for us.”
If West Ham are gradually improving then Bournemouth may be regressing to the mean. The greater Premier League experience and squad depth told in an encounter that will linger in nobody’s memory once the VAR controversy has died down over Kurt Zouma’s opening goal, what looked a plum but not given red card for Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma and a handball by Jordan Zemura that set up Saïd Benrahma’s late penalty.
David Moyes’s team has a useful habit of digging out victory when pressure is coming down. Gary O’Neil’s fledgling managerial career is meanwhile undergoing its first slump, and defeat at the London Stadium, the second in succession, came at the cost of what looked troublesome injuries for his key striker and first-choice goalkeeper. The Premier League’s smallest, perhaps least distinguished squad, have three matches to see out until their well-earned World Cup break.
West Ham kicked off in 17th place. Weekend wins for Leicester and Aston Villa had been unhelpful for a team 12 points worse off than they were at this stage last season. Though Moyes said he had “never thought of the word” and still has his eye on a challenge for European places, a relegation battle has been looming since the opening matches of the season.
O’Neil’s tenure as Bournemouth interim manager had taken in seven previous matches (losing just the last of them to Southampton), three British prime ministers and two serving monarchs. While his current club’s ongoing takeover delays the decision over being awarded the job on a permanent basis, he was taking on the club he played for with understated distinction for two years under Avram Grant and Sam Allardyce.
After impressing in last week’s narrow loss against Liverpool and during Europa Conference League engagements, Flynn Downes, a ball-playing midfielder in the West Ham tradition, was partnering Declan Rice, a player he is touted to one day replace. Downes is just six days younger than Rice but has taken a circuitous route – via Ipswich and Swansea – to the club he supports.
Benrahma for Pablo Fornals was Moyes’s sole change while O’Neil made no alterations. West Ham soon took the attacking initiative, Bournemouth sitting deep and in numbers, as might be expected of an outfit whose average of 7.8 shots per game represented an all-time low since such Premier League records began in the 1997-98 season.
Yet Lukasz Fabianski was the first goalkeeper called into action, asked to smother a poked effort from Dominic Solanke after a counter from the dangerous Marcus Tavernier at left wing-back. Still, neither team looked especially potent; West Ham had scored two previous first-half goals in the league all season.
Downes’s aggression and runs from deep in support of Gianluca Scamacca at centre-forward were a feature. His chance to score a first West Ham goal came when Ben Johnson’s cross came to him on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked. Aaron Cresswell could not keep the rebound down.
A lengthy delay followed Bournemouth keeper Neto pulling up with a muscle injury though the Brazilian eventually soldiered on until the break. The visitors’ best chance came after Tomas Soucek, having failed to look up, played in Solanke to take a long run and shot at Fabianski. The striker ended up being clattered by Thilo Kehrer as he shot, then failed to complete the half.
On came the gigantic Kieffer Moore just before West Ham got the ball in the net. Following a corner, Zouma nodded in and while Kehrer’s volleyball-like layup looked clear and obvious, VAR allowed the goal to stand.
Bournemouth’s players left the field at the break cursing officialdom, the explanation given for the goal standing that Kehrer’s intervention had been neither deliberate nor directly preceded the goal. The ball had come off a Bournemouth head to Zouma. They kicked off for the second half with the Republic of Ireland’s Mark Travers replacing Neto in goal and with West Ham continuing to dominate play.
Benrahma drifted a ball to the back post that Soucek narrowly failed to reach, then smashed just over from distance after Jarrod Bowen’s incisive run. The officials then favoured Bournemouth when Lerma’s tackle on Scamacca looked almost knee-high. It was deemed yellow rather than red. Lucky boy.
O’Neil introduced Jaidon Anthony and Zemura for Ryan Christie and Ryan Fredericks in search of impetus but West Ham continued to look likelier, with Travers saving a dipping shot from Rice.
Moyes brought on Michail Antonio’s bustle to further occupy Bournemouth’s defence as Scamacca left the field but the loud contingent of away fans began to sense a way back with the score still at 1-0 and West Ham attempting to lock it down. Philip Billing and Moore’s aerial power was at the fore of the attempted comeback but then officialdom intervened once more as Zemura, sliding off the touchline, unwittingly handed West Ham the three points.
A few minutes after the final whistle Ralph Hasenhüttl and his players linked arms in front of the away support to toast a much-needed victory and a long overdue first clean sheet of the season, Southampton the last team in England’s top four divisions to claim one.
Was it a defiant show of unity? A symbol of togetherness despite the never-ending, engulfing sense of crisis? Or a chance to celebrate only their second away win since February with fans, safe in the knowledge that his future visits to Bournemouth’s beaches will not be tarnished? “I’m very often here and enjoy this beautiful landscape,” a smiling Hasenhüttl said afterwards. “It’s always good when you pass here and know that you haven’t lost.”
It is amazing what three points can do. Che Adams’s expertly-taken ninth-minute header was enough to hoist Southampton out of the relegation zone and garner belief that perhaps all is not lost under Hasenhüttl, even if his side were camped inside their own half for long periods. The stakes were always going to be high for Hasenhüttl and the agitation never ceased as the Southampton manager paced around the away technical area. The last time Southampton tasted victory Scott Parker was still in charge of Bournemouth and the roars of relief were palpable at the final whistle, especially given Mohammed Salisu’s heroic clearance off the line moments earlier.
At one point in the first half Hasenhuttl removed his black baseball cap and gave the referee, John Brooks, an earful. It was a snapshot that spoke to the pressure that has been mounting on Hasenhüttl in recent weeks – Southampton came into this game with a grim record of 15 defeats in their past 22 matches – and how he needed this result before hosting leaders Arsenal on Sunday. Hasenhüttl is the fourth-longest serving manager in the Premier League but has been lurching from stable to insecure for what feels like an eternity. For Bournemouth, this defeat marks the first bump in the road for a while, this Gary O’Neil’s first defeat in interim charge.
Southampton revamped their squad in the summer with an influx of young players but Hasenhüttl named his eldest starting lineup of the season. The 26-year-old Croatia defender Duje Caleta-Car shone on his second start after replacing Armel Bella-Kotchap, who is sidelined with a dislocated shoulder. “We know we have to fight as a group after an intense transfer window in the summer,” Hasenhüttl said. “We speak very often about the patience we need to have for them. It is not always that you get this patience in this business, especially when you are a little bit long working in the club like I am. Sometimes the patience is not always there. From the whole pressure you have in the Premier League it is not easy to go through this but it’s the only way we can do it.”
It felt pertinent that Adams pointed to his ear as he wheeled away in celebration and his header went some way to quelling the noise. Mohamed Elyounoussi, who missed a chance to put the game to bed late on, skewing wide from the angle, surged down the right before switching play to Romain Perraud, who sent a cross in from the left. Adams peeled off the Bournemouth defender Marcos Senesi towards the penalty spot and the Southampton striker sent a fine glancing header into the corner. Hasenhüttl’s double fist pump in the direction of the away support on one side of this stadium also felt telling. The Southampton substitute Moussa Djenepo also squandered a chance to seal victory but they just about did enough to end Bournemouth’s pristine unbeaten run.
Marcus Tavernier was perhaps Bournemouth’s brightest spark but they struggled to truly work Gavin Bazunu in the Southampton goal. Bournemouth’s biggest complaint centred on a penalty claim when Junior Stanislas’s cross struck Salisu’s right arm in the second half. “The ball hits Lloyd Kelly at Nottingham Forest from a similar distance, it’s a penalty,” O’Neil said. “The ball hits Jefferson Lerma at Newcastle, it’s a penalty.. The ball hits Salisu, it’s not penalty. Hopefully the officials can clear up what is and what isn’t [a penalty] because I don’t see much difference.”
Had the Premier League season started on 30 August, when Gary O’Neil was appointed Bournemouth manager on a caretaker basis following Scott Parker’s dismissal, the club would be fifth in the table, just five points behind Arsenal. Bournemouth have picked up 10 points from six games under O’Neil. They have drawn four of those games but, since he took over, they are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League.
Managing a side that had been expected to drop straight back into the Championship (they may well have done had Parker remained at the helm), O’Neil deserves a lot of praise. After their 9-0 defeat by Liverpool, Parker said he “felt sorry for the players and felt sorry for the fans” as the team was “under-equipped at this level”.
Parker had expressed doubts about his squad before the season started and the club did not appreciate his criticism of what he perceived to be a lack of transfers. “I have been clear how this season could look for us and I stick by that,” said the manager after the Liverpool game. “We need to make a decision and try to help this young group who at times are struggling for air.” Rather than investing on the final day of the transfer window, the club made the decision to sack Parker.
They are now 10th in the Premier League table – level on points with the Liverpool team that beat them 9-0 – having gone unbeaten in six games. Next up is the “El Clasicoast” derby against Southampton on Wednesday night and, for O’Neil and Bournemouth, the only way appears to be up – or at least not down.
O’Neil has set the team up differently than his predecessor. Parker favoured a three-man backline, perhaps as a form of damage limitation – as they faced Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool in the first month of the campaign – though he moved to a 4-2-3-1 for the hammering at Anfield, that last game in charge. O’Neil has turned to a 4-4-2 to get their campaign back on track.
Philip Billing has benefited from the change in shape. The midfielder was in and out of the team under Parker at the start of the season, but O’Neil has utilised his physical presence to good effect, pushing him further up the pitch alongside or in support of frontman Dominic Solanke. Under Parker, Billing failed to score or set up a goal this season, but he has since scored three and added an assist under O’Neil. He is now the team’s top scorer this season.
With a more forward-thinking setup, Bournemouth are scoring more goals and looking more confident. They are taking 8.3 shots per game under O’Neil, up from 5.3 under Parker, and their conversion rate has risen from 10% to 16%. They are also enjoying more of the ball. Their possession this season is just 36.7% – the lowest in the Premier League – but that figure has climbed under O’Neil, from 35% before he arrived to 37.7% during his tenure.
Some of these changes are to be expected given the tough run of fixtures they faced at the start of the campaign. The biggest change is use of the ball. There has been a hefty rise in crosses, increasing from 8.8 per game to 14.3 per game. Bournemouth focus just 21% of their attacks through the middle, the lowest in the Premier League. O’Neil has asked his team to spread the ball quickly to his wingers and full-backs so they can pick out his two tall forwards, Billing and Solanke. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing approach, but it has taken Bournemouth up the table – from the relegation zone to the top half – and it gives the club as good a chance as any of staying in the Premier League.
The question now is whether or not the club should give O’Neil the job beyond his interim period. The 39-year-old has steadied the ship but is this a purple patch under a new manager or a sustainable style that can work over the next 28 games?
At least fans are enjoying a far more promising return to the Premier League than looked likely six weeks ago. Many of them would have expected the club to yo-yo back down to the Championship, but this unbeaten run has given them reasons for optimism. If O’Neil can mastermind their first home win over Southampton since 2016, the calls to give him the job permanently will be hard to ignore.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a second-half equaliser as Fulham twice came from behind to secure a point in a 2-2 Premier League draw against Bournemouth.
The 28-year-old scored from the penalty spot – his first goal for Marco Silva’s side since early September – to take his tally for the season to seven and earn his side a deserved point. Bournemouth had taken the lead through Dominic Solanke with the first attack of the match, before Fulham levelled through Issa Diop.
The visitors then retook the lead in the first half through Jefferson Lerma as the hosts struggled to contain Gary O’Neil’s side’s counter-attacking threat. Fulham grew into the game and had all the possession and chances in the final 20 minutes, but were unable to break through the Bournemouth defence for a third time.
With their first attack of the match, the visitors took the lead at Craven Cottage, with Solanke firing his side into the lead. He was played in by a Philip Billing cut-back after Fulham were unable to deal with the move, which started in the visitors’ half.
Fulham found their footing in the game almost immediately and put the pressure back on Bournemouth, with chances going wide from Neeskens Kebano and Andreas Pereira. In the 22nd minute, they found a way through the Bournemouth defence with Diop rewarding Silva for his selection in the starting line-up. The defender beat his marker to the ball to head home from a Pereira corner and level the match on his 100th Premier League start, and his first home start for Fulham. The score did not remain level for long, however, with Lerma restoring the visitors’ advantage before the half-hour mark.
The ball was played to an unmarked Lerma on the edge of the box by Solanke and he made no mistake, slotting the ball past Bernd Leno. The Fulham goalkeeper had to be alert just before half-time to make a double save to deny Bournemouth again, first from a Lerma header then from Adam Smith.
Mitrovic scored Fulham’s second equaliser, in the 52nd minute, from the penalty spot. The Serbia striker, who had been dealing with injury issues ahead of the match and was assessed late on Friday, was awarded the spot kick after being brought down by Lerma. The Fulham number nine then sent Neto the wrong way to score Fulham’s 10th home goal of the season, one more than the complete 2020-21 season at Craven Cottage.
Leno had to make a good low save in the second half to deny Solanke with both sides pushing for a winner. Harry Wilson, making his first appearance at Craven Cottage this season, had a chance to score late in the game, but Neto was just able to get there ahead of the Wales international. In the end, the spoils were shared.