CHERRIES shared an enthralling 1-1 draw with Southampton in a Premier League contest both teams had plenty of chances to win.

Ryan Fraser put the hosts in front three minutes before the break with a cool finish but former Poole Town star Charlie Austin replied for the visitors after the hour mark.

Following a frantic finale in front of the Sky cameras, both sides had to be content with a point.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe made no fewer than five changes to his starting XI following Wednesday’s disappointing home defeat to Burnley.

Junior Stanislas passed a late fitness test to make his first start since the end of October, while Lewis Cook and Fraser joined him in midfield.

Adam Smith was selected at right-back and skipper Simon Francis shifted into the middle, with former Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe starting up front.

Harry Arter dropped out of the squad altogether and Jordon Ibe, Marc Pugh, Steve Cook and Callum Wilson were relegated to the bench.

Cherries could not get out of their own half in the opening five minutes with their only positive moments of note coming when Defoe and Joshua King nearly robbed the ball in dangerous positions.

It was Southampton who had started the more impressively and they had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the 12th minute.

The visitors won a corner which James Ward-Prowse delivered and Virgil van Dijk rose well, only for his header to swerve wide of the left post.

A second opportunity was not long in coming. Jeremy Pied’s initial fluffed cross was cleared back to him by Nathan Ake and the Frenchman checked back on his left peg, swinging in for Dusan Tadic to strain and send his header over the top.

Suddenly, Cherries exploded into life and two golden opportunities quickly came and went. From outside the box, Smith lashed a shot towards goal which Defoe diverted, the ball hitting the shoulder of goalkeeper Fraser Forster and somehow staying out.

Moments later, another chance. Lewis Cook lofted in a cross which Ake dived to meet at the far post, only for Forster to make the save.

Lewis Cook’s effort from distance rose well over the crossbar and a Stanislas free-kick hit the wall. Cherries were growing in confidence.

The hosts were up in arms when they were not awarded a penalty just after the half hour. Smith burst into the area and after Sofiane Boufal slid in late, the Cherries ace went over his flailing leg.

Referee Jon Moss elected to award a free-kick and booked Smith – meaning he will be suspended for the trip to Crystal Palace – with Defoe also cautioned in the aftermath.

Saints soon had a shout for a penalty of their own. Tadic’s thunderous effort hit the arm of Francis, whose back was turned as he attempted to block. Referee Moss was unmoved.

Smith fired off-target and fellow full-back Charlie Daniels smashed a curving strike from distance which screamed past the far post.

Three minutes before the break, the breakthrough arrived. The industrious King picked Hoedt’s pocket and played the ball square to Andrew Surman, who showed fine composure to lay the ball into the path of Fraser.

The Scotland international made no mistake, curling the ball through Virgil van Dijk’s legs, beyond Forster and into the far corner. Vitality Stadium erupted.

Southampton had a good chance to level in the dying embers of the half. Ryan Bertrand sent in a low cross from the left wing but Boufal leaned back and ballooned into the stand.

Nathan Redmond replaced Ward-Prowse for the second period and Saints soon showed their attacking intent, with Begovic having to get down low to deny Boufal.

But Cherries had a spring in their step. Daniels and Defoe smuggled the ball to King and the Norwegian moved the ball on to the far post, where Stanislas slid in a fraction too late to double the lead.

Stanislas then latched on to Smith’s pull-back to the edge of the box. The former Burnley man’s shot took a nick off Steven Davis on the way through but Forster still had to dive low to his left to make the save.

A last-ditch challenge by Francis prevented Tadic from getting an effort on goal when well placed but Saints were upping the pressure and after the hour, they got their reward.

Oriol Romeu won the ball and released Redmond on the right side of the box. His low ball into the near post was met crisply by Austin and Begovic was beaten. A flare was thrown to the side of the pitch in the aftermath.

Sensing blood, the visitors cranked up the pressure further. Bertrand found space down the left side but his delivery across the face was neither a cross or a shot, frustrating Austin who had been desperate for his second.

Howe sent on Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe and within moments of their entrance, Austin headed against the bar. However, the flag had already been raised, while a deflected shot by Boufal landed on the roof of the net.

With 15 minutes left, Cherries were again denied a second. Daniels bulldozed to the goal-line and pulled back for King, who spun and shot. Forster parried against Wilson and the ball bounced harmlessly behind.

Redmond thumped a couple of yards wide and Austin would have been disappointed not to convert when he headed Bertrand’s near-post cross marginally off target with nine minutes left.

Romeu had Saints' final effort of consequence but hammered over, while Ake nodded off target in the game's final act.


Cherries (4-4-1-1): Begovic; A Smith, Francis, Ake, Daniels; Stanislas (Ibe, 69), L Cook, Surman, Fraser (Afobe, 90+2); King; Defoe (Wilson, 69).

Unused subs: S Cook, Gosling, Pugh, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: A Smith, Defoe.

Southampton (4-2-3-1): Forster; Pied, Hoedt, van Dijk, Bertrand; Davis (Gabbiadini, 85), Romeu; Ward-Prowse (Redmond, h-t), Boufal, Tadic (Lemina, 74); Austin.

Unused subs: Yoshida, Hojbjerg, Targett, McCarthy (g/k).

Booked: Lemina.

Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire).