Steve Cook's late goal earned Bournemouth a vital three points as they continued a good run of form that sees them almost safe from relegation in their debut Premier League season. It finished 3-2 against Swansea City.
Gradel and Barrow in mirror image performances
Before kick-off both sides found themselves a couple of places above the dreaded drop zone but with a hint of confidence that they would earn enough points to survive relegation this season. A win for either side looked as if it would ensure safety so it was no surprise that both Bournemouth and Swansea went searching for all three points.
It took just 3 minutes for the hosts to generate the first opportunity of the game as Max Gradel found Joshua King with a cross that the striker could only head over the crossbar whilst under pressure. Whilst Swansea tried to push forward and gain a foothold in the game, King had a golden opportunity just minutes later when he fired over from a Benik Afobe pass. The Cherries went even closer on 14 minutes when Andrew Surman curled a free-kick against the post. Swansea went down the end and could have easily had a penalty when Charlie Daniels lunged in on Modou Barrow only for the protests to be waved away.
With both sides pressing, a goal was inevitably going to arrive before the break and it was Max Gradel who broke the deadlock. The winger benefited from a poor Lukasz Fabianski punch to bury his first goal for the club after a long-term cruciate ligament injury. It did not take long for Swansea to strike back though, as the talented Modou Barrow matched Gradel with his first Premier League goal, scoring a screamer when he cut inside from the left wing to curl a shot past Artur Boruc.
Cook spoils the Swansea broth
The fans at the Vitality Stadium needed all 15 minutes of half-time to recover from a breathless first half, unaware that the second was to be just as entertain. Just five minutes after the break, the energetic Gradel found King who took one touch before smashing Bournemouth back into the lead with his fifth goal of the season. As he did in the first half, Barrow was ready to follow in the footsteps of Gradel by turning provider after scoring. The winger found Gylfi Sigurdsson who turned and fired the ball into the top corner to draw Swansea level once again.
Both managers made a flurry of substitutions in an attempt to win the game as the match followed a basketball style pattern of end to end entertainment. It was no surprise that the winning goal was to follow suit. Boruc denied Alberto Paloschi from sending Swansea into the lead, before the hots broke forward and won a corner. Matt Ritchie found the head of defender Steve Cook from the resulting set piece and Cook sent his effort right into the corner to seal the three points for Bournemouth.
Man of the Match surely has to go to Max Gradel. The Ivory Coast international showed exactly what Bournemouth fans were missing when he was out for several months with an injury, producing an energetic display that resulted in a goal and an assist for his side.