Bournemouth’s promotion push stutters as West Brom
Bournemouth’s charge to automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship suffered a jolt with a surprise 2-0 defeat at West Brom.
Scott Parker’s side never recovered from a case of the defensive jitters which gifted early goals for Alex Mowatt and Andy Carroll and ended the Cherries’ five-match unbeaten run.
Despite boasting two-thirds of the possession count, Bournemouth’s finishing was as woeful as their early defending and they failed to seriously trouble goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
The visitors attacked first. Left-back Jordan Zemura cut inside and fired a rising drive well over the crossbar from 20 yards after exchanging passes with Jaidon Anthony down the left.
West Brom took the lead in the eighth minute – and doubled it shortly afterwards.
Mowatt sent a bobbling drive beyond goalkeeper Mark Travers from 20 yards after Bournemouth failed to deal with Darnell Furlong’s deep cross.
The leaping Carroll missed the cross in the air, Conor Townsend hooked the ball across goal before Nat Phillips hacked it high into the air and the ball eventually reached Mowatt.
It was 2-0 five minutes later. A long kick from Johnstone was missed by Phillips and Carroll turned Adam Smith one way then the other before burying a low, angled shot past Travers.
Dominic Solanke missed a chance for Bournemouth when he slid the ball wide from Ryan Christie’s cross.
But West Brom remained the more dangerous side and Mowatt drove wide from 25 yards before Semi Ajayi headed over from Mowatt’s driven corner.
The Cherries were booed off at the break after struggling to make any kind of breakthrough.
Bournemouth head coach Parker made a switch at half-time by replacing Christie with Siriki Dembele.
But the pattern initially continued into the second half as Albion sought a third goal.
Grady Diangana slid Carroll through and the former Newcastle and Liverpool striker poked the ball wide.
Bournemouth missed two good chances in quick succession.
Smith fired wildly over the bar after Solanke’s backheel gave him a good sight of goal, then Philip Billing lashed over from the edge of the box after Ajayi carelessly gave the ball to Dembele.
Bournemouth came into the game much more but their finishing continued to be poor.
Lloyd Kelly and Solanke drove hopelessly wide from distance while sandwiched in between, Zemura toe poked over the bar from point-blank range.
Albion had been forced to defend for long periods of the second half but captain Jake Livermore fired over from 20 yards, substitute Callum Robinson twice had shots saved and Townsend drove wide at the death.