DESPITE taking the lead, Cherries came away with nothing from their trip to Villa Park.

Dominic Solanke’s penalty put the visitors in front, only for former Cherries loanee Morgan Rogers to equalise in first-half stoppage time.

Ollie Watkins then came to the fore after the restart, providing assists for Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey to seal a 3-1 win for Villa.

Here are some of the talking points from the contest.

Bournemouth Echo: Former Cherry Morgan Rogers pictured equalising

Rogers haunts his old club

It is fair to say the time Rogers spent at Cherries was largely forgettable. But his first appearance against them was one to remember.

After an impressive season out on loan at Lincoln City in League One, there was excitement around the winger’s arrival when he moved to Vitality Stadium in August 2021.

But the Manchester City youngster never quite fitted in under Scott Parker.

With Cherries in fine form, Rogers found game-time hard to come by, his season-long loan eventually cut short, having scored one goal in 17 appearances, only one of those coming as a starter.

A loan spell at Blackpool followed, before Middlesbrough made a permanent move for the England youth international in the summer of 2023.

Initially filling in as a striker, Rogers went on played 33 times in total for Boro, scoring seven goals and providing nine assists. His performances were good enough for Emery to be keen to pluck Rogers out of the Championship and into the Premier League in February of this year, for around £8million.

Having bided his time initially, Rogers has now earned a good run in the side.

Speaking after the game, his Villa teammate John McGinn said Rogers produced his “best game in a Villa shirt” against Cherries.

Drifting between the left wing and more central, the 21-year-old caused plenty of problems.

He set the tone inside five minutes, with a dummy on halfway fooling the Cherries defence and allowing Villa to flood forwards.

Rogers then drew a foul, and a yellow card, from Adam Smith after spinning away from him in the centre of the pitch.

Then, with half-time approaching, Rogers had his crowning moment, calmly cutting inside Smith in the box before smashing a high into the net.

Cherries made a switch at half-time to counter the danger, bringing on Max Aarons for Smith.

The threat of the Halesowen-born talent faded towards the end of the contest, as Watkins took centre stage, but he did go close again, this time from the right, as he saw a shot deflected behind.

Bournemouth Echo: Illia Zabarnyi was booked for this foul

Watkins v Zabarnyi

In the reverse fixture, Illia Zabarnyi did a brilliant job on one of the league’s best strikers, right up until he scored a superb header in stoppage time to earn a 2-2 draw.

In the first half again at Villa Park, the Ukraine international did well to quell Watkins.

The England striker had a half-hearted claim for a penalty waved away when he lost out in a 50:50 and was barged to the ground off the shoulder of Zabarnyi.

But in the second half, Watkins was immense and Zabarnyi had no answer.

Admittedly, the 21-year-old was at times offered little support, but in a one-on-one battle, Watkins shone.

Zabarnyi went into the book 10 minutes after the restart for dragging Watkins down as he looked to spin away from him.

Two minutes later, Watkins used his pace and trickery to get away from Zabarnyi and tee up Diaby to tuck in.

The problems kept coming, Watkins doing all the hard work before finding Bailey to seal victory.

Zabarnyi did come out on top after a poor backpass put him in trouble on 88 minutes, battling back to make the tackle in the box.

But Watkins had the last laugh, a classy pirouette away from Zabarnyi around the halfway line earning rapturous applause from the Villa faithful.

Bournemouth Echo:

Problems in attack

Due to injuries, it was very much a new-look attacking midfield three in support of Solanke.

Milos Kerkez started on the left wing, with Dango Ouattara on the right and Justin Kluivert continuing in the centre.

Kluivert’s role and importance has grown throughout the season, but he was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure as the game went on on Sunday afternoon.

He often exchanged positions with Kerkez to try and find some space in attack, but the left-back did not look natural in the centre, much more of a threat out wide, notably earning a penalty after being tripped by Matty Cash.

A couple of wasteful passes from Ouattara denied Kluivert the chance to get at the Villa defence, while the clearest example came on the stroke of half-time. Ryan Christie delayed and ran out of time to play a pass for Kluivert to run through on goal to.

The Scot was crowded out and with Kluivert and Ouattara up field, Villa broke down their left through Rogers, who equalised.

Antoine Semenyo and Enes Unal injected some extra nous to the frontline in the closing stages, which could give Iraola some food for thought going into Wednesday’s trip to Wolves.

What caught your eye from the loss at Aston Villa? Let us know in the comments below.