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AFC Bournemouth: Francis's goal earns Cherries a deserved point
SIMON Francis bagged his first goal of the season as Cherries clawed back a 2-0 deficit to claim a deserved share of the spoils from their first visit to the Reebok Stadium today.
The defender, whose only other goal for Cherries had come during a 3-1 home win over Tranmere in October 2012, netted a header to earn Eddie Howe’s men a point.
Although Bolton raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 32 minutes thanks to goals from Chung-Yong Lee and Lukas Jutkiewicz, they rarely threatened again as Cherries ran the show.
Lewis Grabban’s piledriver, which came just seconds after Jutkiewicz had struck, immediately halved the deficit before Cherries set about finding an equaliser.
And after Howe’s team had dominated for long periods, their efforts were rewarded when Francis headed home Ian Harte’s corner to level midway through the second half.
Cherries boss Howe made three changes to his starting line-up with defender Steve Cook drafted in to replace Elliott Ward, who was ruled out by a knee injury. Marc Pugh and Matt Ritchie also returned with Tokelo Rantie and Ryan Fraser dropping to the bench.
Midfielder Harry Arter was a concern for Cherries after turning his ankle during the warm-up. However, following an impromptu fitness test just minutes before kick-off, he declared himself fit to start.
Arter certainly showed no ill effects as he went close to opening the scoring for Cherries, his rasping left-foot strike from 25 yards flashing narrowly past the post after just three minutes.
A great block tackle by Francis denied Lee after the South Korean international had danced across the top of the 18-yard box before Chris Eagles drove a right-foot shot into the side netting.
Andrew Surman, involved in the build-up during a sweeping move after 15 minutes, missed from close range after the ball had appeared to get stuck in his feet as he prepared to pull the trigger following a Francis cross.
Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan stuck out his right hand to push the ball away from Lewis Grabban after Ritchie’s exquisite first-time pass had set the striker free on goal after 17 minutes.
Alex Baptiste scuffed an effort over the crossbar after latching on to Eagles’s low, driven centre before Lee opened the scoring when he drilled a right-foot shot into the top corner after Mark Davies’s pass had slipped him in.
Jutkiewicz doubled the hosts’ advantage after 32 minutes, the on-loan striker from Middlesbrough lifting the ball over Cherries goalkeeper Lee Camp from the edge of the box, with a suspicion of handball in the lead-up.
However, Cherries responded almost immediately when Grabban unleashed a blistering 25-yarder into the top corner, his stunning strike whistling past Bodgan to make it 2-1.
Arter fashioned the first chance of the second half, his long-range effort flying just past the base of the upright, before Cook’s far post header from an Ian Harte corner went narrowly wide.
Cherries levelled following another Harte corner midway through the second period with Francis stooping at the near post to head home his first goal of the season.
New signing Yann Kermorgant, on as a 65th-minute replacement for Pugh, almost netted with his first touch, the Frenchman’s hooked effort clawed away by Bogdan diving to his right.
Kermorgant then turned provider for fellow substitute Rantie, although Bogdan raced off his line to spread himself and block from the South Africa international after 75 minutes.
Bodgan again had to hare off his line to prevent Rantie meeting Kermorgant’s through ball before Jutkiewicz flicked an effort wide after Tim Ream’s corner had found him at the far post.
Cherries: Camp, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Harte, O’Kane, Ritchie, Arter, Surman (Rantie, 65), Pugh (Kermorgant, 65), Grabban (MacDonald, 90).
Unused subs: Pitman, Smith, Fraser, Allsop (g/k).
Trotters: Bogdan, Baptiste, Mills, Knight, Ream, Spearing, Lee, Davies (Kamara, 58), Trotter (Moritz, 71), Eagles (Danns, 82), Jutkiewicz.
Unused subs: Pratley, White, Hall, Lonergan (g/k).
Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire).
Attendance: 14,336 (including 472 away supporters).
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