Fulham 1 – 0 Bournemouth

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s second-half penalty spoiled Eddie Howe’s 500th game as a manager as already relegated Fulham won their first away game of the season at Bournemouth.

Serbia international Mitrovic won the penalty after being fouled by Cherries substitute Jack Simpson and sent home goalkeeper Artur Boruc the wrong way as he rolled his spot-kick into the bottom-left corner.

It gave the Cottagers, who won against Everton last weekend, their first back-to-back Premier League victories since April 2014.

The result leaves Bournemouth in 12th while Fulham remain second bottom of the Premier League.

The Cherries had been unbeaten in all of their 10 home matches against promoted opposition, but they struggled to break down the division’s second-worst defence after missing several early chances.

Howe’s side were also hampered by injuries to right-back Adam Smith in the warm-up and his replacement Junior Stanislas midway through the first period, as they turned in a disjointed performance.

It means they have now gone five league home games without a win for the first time since February 2017.

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Mitrovic and Rico set the tone
Having gathered just two points on their travels all season, the odds were stacked against Fulham when they arrived on the South Coast.

With their relegation to the Championship confirmed a fortnight ago, it was hard to see how the division’s second leakiest defence could contain a Bournemouth side that looked so irresistible when scoring five at Brighton last Saturday.

However, after taking time to grow into the game and capitalising on the Cherries’ early wastefulness, caretaker manager Scott Parker saw his side earn a more than merited victory.

Spanish goalkeeper Sergio Rico made several excellent saves, twice denying Callum Wilson in the second period to preserve Fulham’s advantage.

While at the other end of the pitch, Mitrovic caused problems all afternoon.

The 24-year-old lashed a left-foot volley over in the first half when well placed, but made no mistake from 12 yards after drawing a foul from 22-year-old Simpson.

His nuisance value was underlined by his five shots on goal, which was only bettered by Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser.

The numbers were all stacked in Bournemouth’s favour prior to and during the first half of this fixture, but the game went dramatically off script once Mitrovic had stroked home from the penalty spot.

The Cherries had enjoyed close to 70% of the possession in the first 20 minutes but Wilson’s ballooned effort inside the first minute ended up setting the tone for an unproductive afternoon.

That was the first of a number of gilt-edged chances that came and went for Howe’s team.

Josh King blazed over from 10 yards after excellent work by Fraser on the left, and the diminutive Scotland winger also twice tested Rico without success.

Bournemouth’s reorganisation in defence, with both captain Steve Cook and Chris Mepham utilised at right-back and fellow central defender Nathan Ake deployed at left-back, also proved a hindrance as Fulham carved out nine chances in the second period.

It leaves Bournemouth one victory short of what could be a club record of 13 in a Premier League season and five points adrift of their best ever points tally (46 in 2016/17).

Source – BBC Sport

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