KEVIN Phillips came off the bench to grab a hotly-disputed winner as Cherries were edged out by Championship leaders Leicester City at Dean Court today.
Phillips netted the only goal of an absorbing contest 10 minutes from time, although Cherries were convinced his header had not crossed the line.
However, referee Darren Drysdale, who had an afternoon to forget, deemed the effort should stand after his assistant on the Main Stand touchline had flagged for a goal.
Transfer window signings Adam Smith and Yann Kermorgant were both named among the Cherries substitutes as boss Eddie Howe made three changes to his starting line-up.
Ian Harte replaced the injured Charlie Daniels, while Ryan Fraser and Tokelo Rantie came in for Matt Ritchie, who dropped to the bench, and Marc Pugh, who was rested.
Andrew Surman’s long-range effort after five minutes sailed over the crossbar before referee Darren Drysdale waved away Cherries’ claims for a penalty after Rantie had gone to ground.
Cherries stood firm as Leicester forced a couple of early corners, while Lee Camp stretched to gather a header from Marcin Wasilewski after the big defender had met a cross from Anthony Knockaert.
The Cherries goalkeeper saved superbly from Lloyd Dyer, with Camp parrying his strike after Jamie Vardy’s deep centre had found the winger at the far post in the 18th minute.
And Camp again distinguished himself after Vardy had been sent clear by Danny Drinkwater’s incisive pass, the stopper pushing the striker’s effort on to the top of the crossbar.
Camp saved comfortably after Vardy had tried his luck from distance before Kasper Schmeichel raced off his line to beat Rantie to Eunan O’Kane’s through ball.
Schmeichel snaffled Lewis Grabban’s strike midway through the first half before Camp again came to Cherries’ rescue when he managed to divert Vardy’s flicked effort away from goal after the striker had gone clear for second time.
Tommy Elphick climbed at the far post to meet Harte’s probing free kick, only to see his header flash past the post, before Harry Arter’s brave challenge on David Nugent prevented the striker taking aim as a cagey opening period drew to a close.
A double substitution by Cherries at the break saw Fraser and Rantie replaced by Ritchie and Kermorgant with Ritchie seeing an effort charged down early in the second half.
Knockaert lifted a free kick over the crossbar after Elliott Ward had been harshly judged to have checked Vardy, the defender also picking up a booking.
Arter’s superb tackle on Drinkwater created an opening for Grabban but, after letting fly from 25 yards, he saw his thunderous drive flash narrowly past the post.
Camp made another wonderful save to push away Knockaert’s header from close range before referee Drysdale opted against punishing Matty James for a strong challenge which left Arter grounded.
Ritchie’s venomous strike was blocked by Wasilewski, the Polish international having previously been booked for a poor challenge on Kermorgant.
Leicester opened the scoring in controversial circumstances when substitute Phillips headed home Knockaert’s cross, with Cherries claiming the ball had not crossed the line. Despite their protestations, with Camp booked for his complaints, the goal stood.
Cherries: Camp, Francis, Ward, Elphick, Harte, O’Kane, Grabban, Arter, Surman (Pitman, 83), Fraser (Ritchie, h-t), Rantie (Kermorgant, h-t).
Unused subs: Cook, Smith, MacDonald, Allsop (g/k).
Booked: Ward, Arter, Camp.
Foxes: Schmeichel, De Laet, Wasilewski, Morgan, Konchesky, Dyer, Drinkwater, James (King, 79), Knockaert, Vardy (Hammond, 88), Nugent (Phillips, 73).
Unused subs: Wood, Mahrez, Schlupp, Logan (g/k).
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
Attendance: 10,719 (including 1,435 away supporters).