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AFC Bournemouth: Cherries hit by late strike at the Valley
IT was billed as a fixture about one Frenchman.
The script seemed written that ex-Charlton favourite Yann Kermorgant would come back to haunt his former club at the Valley tonight, but in the event it was his fellow countryman that stole the show.
Centre-half Dorian Dervite, who became close friends with Kermorgant following the former’s arrival under Chris Powell in August 2012, proved the Addicks’ unlikely hero as he ended Cherries’ four-game unbeaten run in dramatic style.
Having already dealt with the threat of second-half substitute Kermorgant, Dervite strode forward to head Johnnie Jackson’s corner powerfully beyond Lee Camp in the second minute of added time.
It was a huge shot in the arm for the hosts, unbeaten in the three-game reign of new boss Jose Riga, but for the visitors it ended a run of four clean sheets and more importantly, dealt a further blow to their slender play-off hopes.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe made two changes to his starting line-up, with Ryan Fraser replacing Matt Ritchie on the right wing, while Marc Pugh came in for Mohamed Coulibaly on the opposite flank.
Kermorgant was named on the bench against the club he departed for a fee of £400,000 in January, while Ritchie was out of the squad altogether and there was no place for Brett Pitman.
Defender Elliott Ward - who last featured on February 1 - returned from a knee injury to take his place amongst the substitutes.
Pugh signalled Cherries’ positive intentions inside the opening 30 seconds when he let fly with a right-footed effort that zipped high and wide, before Steve Cook brought the first save out of Ben Hamer.
A training ground move so nearly paid off as Ian Harte’s low flag kick was neatly left by Harry Arter, only for the unmarked Lewis Grabban to blaze over following an untimely bobble.
It took the Addicks 25 minutes to force a meaningful effort at goal, with winger Danny Green’s crisp daisy-cutter being gathered at the second attempt by Camp.
That effort seemed to galvanise the hosts and nine minutes before the break, Dervite climbed high to nod wide of the left upright from skipper Jackson’s deep corner.
Cherries nearly fell behind in the 39th minute, as Green swung in a right-flank delivery that smacked off the outside of Camp’s near post.
Jon Obika, only signed on loan from Tottenham on Monday, was thrown on for the limping Callum Harriott four minutes before the break and immediately fired down the throat of Camp on the turn.
Following the restart, Charlton midfielder Diego Poyet contorted his body superbly to scoop a half-volley goalwards, but the ball skimmed the top of the net.
Kermorgant entered the fray soon after Cherries surpassed the seven-hour shutout mark and then Pugh got slightly too much elevation on an optimistic effort that cleared the crossbar.
Harte’s free kick from the corner of the box suffered the same fate, minutes before substitute Tokelo Rantie, a willing worker after coming on, tried his luck against Hamer.
Cousins was guilty of shanking horribly off-target when teed up by Obika and it seemed as if the game was destined to end 0-0 as Camp saved superbly from Simon Church one-on-one, before scooping up from Jackson on the rebound.
Adam Smith saw his first Cherries action after climbing off the bench, but after Poyet and Jackson both went close, Dervite nodded the winner.
The defender rose superbly to meet Jackson’s delivery and Camp was helpless to stop the downward effort.
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