CHERRIES returned to the top of the Championship table after playing out a hard-fought goalless stalemate with Swansea.

Both sides knew victory at Liberty Stadium would take them top of the pile, but chances were hard to come by for both throughout, with David Brooks going closest to breaking the deadlock.

The point proved to be enough for Cherries, though, to nip back ahead of Norwich for a day at least on goal difference.

Cherries made one change from their 4-0 win over Barnsley on Friday night. Goalscorer and man-of-the-match Sam Surridge had to settle for a spot on the bench as Jason Tindall altered formation by recalling Junior Stanislas.

Jefferson Lerma was available again from the bench after serving his suspension. He took the spot of Jordan Zemura.

Cherries were having plenty of the ball in the early stages, trying to move it around on a poor Liberty Stadium pitch.

But chances were few and far between until two in the space of a few moments.

First, the lively Brooks slipped through Dominic Solanke, who blazed over left-footed. Then, after a mistake from Freddie Woodman in the Swansea goal, Brooks pounced on the loose ball but his effort from a tight angle was stopped by the keeper.

Jamal Lowe saw a shot saved in a rare Swansea attack, while the tricky Yan Dhanda also blazed over as the hosts grew into the contest.

Lewis Cook was next to try his luck for the visitors, lashing wide from 25 yards as the first half ended goalless.

Cherries created the first chance after the restart, with Stanislas volleying wide of the post from the edge of the box.

Down the other end, Lowe was denied by an excellent Steve Cook slide, before former Liverpool youngster Dhanda fired into the side netting. As soon as the ball had gone behind, referee Peter Bankes cautioned Diego Rico for an earlier foul on Connor Roberts, which means the Spaniard will now miss Saturday’s clash with Huddersfield due to suspension having picked up five bookings this season.

Neither side were able to get into a rhythm, but Cherries did almost pick the lock with 20 minutes to play. Stanislas slipped a neat ball through Rico, whose cutback found Adam Smith. The defender’s shot was charged down and cleared just before Brooks was able to get to the rebound.

Another chance quickly followed as the visitors turned the screw. Philip Billing expertly controlled a ball out the sky to tee up Solanke, but his shot was charged down.

The Cherries bench were then up and protesting after Brooks went down under Joel Latibeaudiere’s challenge in the box, but referee Bankes was unmoved.

Steve Cooper turned to his bench, introducing both Viktor Gyokeres and Kasey Palmer for the last 15 minutes.

But it was Cherries who almost broke the deadlock out of nothing, with Lewis Cook’s left-footed strike flying narrowly wide.

Tindall then threw on Surridge against the club he spent the first half of last season on loan at.

But the striker could not come back to haunt his former club as the game ended all square.

Cherries: Begovic; Mepham, S Cook, Kelly; A Smith, Billing (Lerma, 85), L Cook, Stanislas, Rico; Brooks (Surridge, 82); Solanke.

Unused subs: Simpson,Ofoborh, Gosling, Kilkenny, Riquelme, Anthony, Travers (g/k).

Booked: Solanke, Rico, Billing.

Swansea: Woodman; Naughton, Cabango, Latibeaudiere; Roberts, K Smith, Grimes, Bidwell; Dhanda (Palmer, 74), Ayew; Lowe (Gyokeres, 74).

Unused subs: Manning, Fulton, Routledge, Cullen, Evans, Garrick, Benda (g/k).

Booked: Smith.

Referee: Peter Bankes.