Soccer

Ollie Watkins rescues a late point for Aston Villa at Bournemouth

Ollie Watkins scored a late equaliser (Nick Potts/PA)
Ollie Watkins scored a late equaliser (Nick Potts/PA) Ollie Watkins scored a late equaliser (Nick Potts/PA)

Ollie Watkins came up with a sensational and dramatic 90th-minute equaliser as Aston Villa came from behind twice to rescue a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.

Villa looked to be heading for a shock defeat on the south coast until Watkins pounced on substitute Moussa Diaby’s cross to score his 13th goal of the season with a terrific backwards header.

The hosts, who had won three of their previous four matches, started brightly and took a deserved lead in the 10th minute, with a little bit of help from Villa defender Diego Carlos.

Carlos was too casual playing out from the back and passed the ball straight to Ryan Christie who instinctively fed Antoine Semenyo to confidently pick out the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Semenyo came close to doubling the Cherries’ lead but his shot from a tight angle was kept out by a smart save from the legs from Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez.

Martinez’s opposite number Neto had already done well to turn behind Douglas Luiz’s 25-yard shot when Leon Bailey equalised with a superb solo goal in the 20th minute.

Watkins, who had come through a late fitness test, played the ball out to Bailey on the right wing and the Jamaica international danced into space inside the penalty area before curling home left-footed beyond the despairing Neto.

Villa thought they had taken the lead moments later when Carlos side-footed home from close range but the goal was rightly ruled out after a lengthy VAR review because Lucas Digne was offside in the build-up.

Semenyo, who was fortunate to escape a second yellow card for hauling down Bailey having already been booked, forced another excellent save from Martinez with a stinging shot across the face of goal after getting the better of make-shift right back Ezri Konsa.

Martinez was on hand again to claw out Dominic Solanke’s shot from point blank range when the Bournemouth striker looked certain to score from Christie’s cross as the teams went in level at half-time.

There was no denying Solanke seven minutes into the second half as he fired Bournemouth back in front with his seventh goal of the season.

Milos Kerkez broke well down the left before fizzing the pass into feet of Solanke, who pirouetted away from Pau Torres before blasting beyond Martinez.

Solanke had a golden chance to extend the lead in the 63rd minute but could not beat Martinez from four yards after Marcus Tavernier had carried the ball all the way from his own half to the edge of the Villa penalty area.

Villa substitute Jhon Duran was inches away from equalising 18 minutes from time when his deflected shot from the edge of the Bournemouth box struck the right-hand post.

But just as Bournemouth looked to be holding out for the win up stepped the in-form Watkins to salvage a share of the spoils.