AFC Bournemouth made it four away games unbeaten after drawing with fellow promotion hopefuls Swansea City. The Swans have only lost once at home all season and a clean sheet against a free scoring Bournemouth side will do much to boost their confidence as we head into midseason.
Story of the match
The hype before the game did not live up to expectation as both clubs took a cautious approach, focusing on patient buildup play and sturdy defending to prevent their opponents the chance to show their usual class.
Bournemouth started the brighter of the sides and had chances through Junior Stanislas and Adam Smith, but nothing clear cut. At the other end, Jamal Lowe fired a low driven shot towards the bottom corner, but Asmir Begovic got down well to stop the strike.
Chances were few and far between and with 10 minutes before the interval Bournemouth looked to break quickly on the counter attack, but Matt Grimes did superbly to prevent David Brooks from going clear through on goal with an inch-perfect tackle.
The Swans had a shout for a penalty turned down by referee Peter Bankes after Lowe's volley was blocked by Steve Cook, but the appeals for handball fell on flat ears.
The second half started much more open and The Cherries almost took the lead three minutes after the restart. Brooks found Stanislas inside the area and he leathered a volley narrowly wide of Freddie Woodman's post.
A sublime piece of skill and pass from Andre Ayew reached Yan Dhanda on the right before his cross flashed across the face of the goal as Swansea looked for an opener.
Moments later, Dhanda went through again on the right, beating his man and hammering his shot into the side netting, with the far side of the goal the much better option.
The home side had a real let off as the game headed into the final 20 minutes. Bournemouth were denied a stonewall penalty as Brooks jinxed past Ben Cabango before being tripped, but the referee disagreed and nothing was given, leaving Cherries' manager Jason Tindall fuming.
Both sides made all three subs, preventing the climax of the match to reach a solid flow and chances were scarce. Swansea did, however, get a free kick right at the death, with Connor Roberts' cross finding Joel Latibeaudiere but his header went harmlessly wide of the goal.
While the game did not live up to the pre match hype, both sides had chances to win the game, but a draw was a fair result. Bournemouth looked more inventive going forward but struggled to create a clear cut chance. Swansea had chances of their own, with Dhanda's shot from 12 yards out on the angle probably the closest to finding the opener, but it was a poor decision from the ex-Liverpool youth player to go for the near post instead of across the goal.
The talking point of the game will firmly lie with the referee after turning down a blatant Bournemouth penalty. Tindall will have every right to criticise the referee, especially as there was no action taken against Brooks afterwards too. If it was not a penalty, it was simulation, and the referee turned away from the action once the ball was cleared, offering no explanation.
Swansea City: Woodman, Naughton, Cabango, Latibeaudiere, Roberts, Smith, Grimes, Bidwell, Dhanda, Ayew, Lowe
Subs: Manning, Fulton, Benda, Gyoekeres, Routledge, Cullen, Evans, Garrick, Palmer
AFC Bournemouth: Begovic, Mepham, S. Cook, Kelly, Smith, L. Cook, Billing, Rico, Brooks, Solanke, Stanislas
Subs: Gosling, Lerma, Surridge, Riquelme, Travers, Ofoborh, Simpson, Kilkenny, Anthony