Dominic Solanke leaves it late to fire Bournemouth to vital victory over Fulham
Dominic Solanke was the late match-winner as Bournemouth came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 and claim a potentially pivotal win in their battle for Premier League survival.
The Cherries looked to be heading for a third defeat in four games when Andreas Pereira gave dominant Fulham a half-time lead.
But Marcus Tavernier’s superb solo effort and Solanke’s scrambled late winner were the catalyst of a character-laden comeback to haul Bournemouth out of the relegation places.
Fulham were without suspended duo Willian and Aleksandar Mitrovic following their red cards in the ill-tempered FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Manchester United.
But the visitors were still comfortably the better team in the first half and took just 16 minutes to open the scoring.
Willian’s replacement Manor Solomon broke free down the left before cutting the ball back for Harrison Reed to tee up Pereira, who fired home his first Premier League goal since November.
The lead could have been doubled seven minutes later when Antonee Robinson rattled the crossbar from 22 yards out.
It took until the 31st minute for Bournemouth to create a meaningful chance as Dango Ouattarra guided a left-footed shot just wide after neat combination play from Solanke and Philip Billing.
Pereira’s acrobatic overhead kick had Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto momentarily concerned before the Argentinian’s opposite number Bernd Leno produced a smart save with his legs to deny Solanke.
Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil summoned the fit-again Tavernier and Ryan Christie off the bench at half-time and his side were much improved in the second half.
Tavernier, sidelined by injury since February, took just five minutes to make his mark with a stunning equaliser.
Leno looked to have got enough distance on his punch away from a corner only for Tavernier to pick up the loose ball before cutting in from the right and curling an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top corner from 20 yards out.
Tavenier came close to claiming his and the Cherries’ second moments later when the suddenly overworked Leno spread himself to block the former Middlesborough man’s near-post effort.
Jefferson Lerma then saw his attempt from midway inside the penalty area diverted onto the roof of the net as Fulham found themselves firmly under the cosh.
The Cherries took a deserved lead 11 minutes from time courtesy of a scruffy strike from Solanke.
Ryan Christie’s initial low shot was parried out by Leno and Solanke was on hand to bundle the rebound over the line from point blank range.
Solanke has now scored four goals in five career appearances against Fulham.
Fulham used all five of their available substitutes but never threatened to deny Bournemouth their victory.
Defeat leaves Marco Silva’s men four points off the European places.