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AFC Bournemouth 1 West Brom 1: Ritchie salvages late point

Matt Ritchie snatched a late equaliser for AFC Bournemouth as they held West Brom to a 1-1 draw at the Vitality Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

The substitute ghosted in at the back post to head home from close range after Albion had failed to deal with a Steve Cook long throw.

It was a late boost for Bournemouth after a frustrating performance that saw the hosts dominate proceedings but fail to create any real chances.

Albion took the lead after 16 minutes as Salomon Rondon nodded in their 400th Premier League goal, but they were made to rue Craig Gardner’s missed penalty two minutes before the break.

Bournemouth’s revival began after the restart as Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson fired warning shots on Ben Foster’s goal, but it needed Ritchie’s late header to earn a share of the spoils and keep both teams locked together on 42 points.

Eddie Howe’s side enjoyed large swathes of possession in the opening 10 minutes but struggled to find the final ball to allow Benik Afobe – starting for the first time since March – to thrive on.

That lack of quality was quickly punished by the visitors as Rondon ended a run of seven league games without a goal, the Venezuela international nodding home Jonny Evans’ cross after a dreadful clearance from Artur Boruc.

More slack defending from the hosts nearly produced a second Albion goal just before the half hour, Gardner seeing his low shot tipped wide by Boruc having spun away from Harry Arter.

Howe’s men continued to dictate the tempo but were once again punished for a lapse in concentration as Tommy Elphick clumsily dragged Craig Dawson down in the penalty area.

However, Boruc saved his captain’s blushes with a superb penalty save onto the crossbar from Gardner’s spot-kick, and the goalkeeper was on hand again from the rebound to ensure Cook’s attempted clearance did not fly into his own goal.

The opening exchanges of the second half followed a similar pattern to the first, however Howe’s introduction of Joshua King and Wilson sparked them into life.

Stanislas brought Foster into action for the first time twice after the restart, and Wilson’s low drive flashed across goal soon after coming on.

Albion should have killed the game off when Saido Berahino saw a chance well blocked, and that ultimately cost the visitors as Ritchie profited at the back post to net his fourth of the campaign.

There was still time for one last piece of late drama, though, as Dawson’s effort thudded against Boruc’s right-hand post, much to the relief of Bournemouth’s number one.

Sat 7 May, 2016
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