Bournemouth's brilliant fightback exhausts birthday boy boss Eddie Howe
Published 28/11/2015 | 21:41
Eddie Howe refused to head straight into birthday celebrations despite Bournemouth's dramatic 3-3 draw with Everton providing fresh belief they can survive in the Premier League.
Junior Stanislas scored the crucial equalising goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time, after Ross Barkley had put Everton 3-2 up three minutes earlier.
It secured a point that looked beyond Bournemouth for almost the entire game.
Stanislas had already equalised in the 87th minute, shortly after Adam Smith had scored the hosts' first goal. Everton's Romelu Lukaku and Ramiro Funes Mori had given the visitors what appeared a comfortable lead, but they were reeled in.
The nature of the result means that Howe's improving, resilient team finally have the momentum required to inspire survival, even if the manager insisted he was yet to recover from the "emotional turmoil" he had experienced since kick-off.
"I'll be in a better mood, I don't know if celebrate is the right word," said Howe, who turns 38 on Sunday but has injury concerns over goalkeeper Adam Federici and midfielder Harry Arter.
"I'd have preferred three points. My birthday's the least of my worries, the emotional turmoil a game like that gives you means it'll be an early night for me."
There was a sense that the draw felt almost like a victory for Bournemouth, and can send them on a run up the table.
"It does in many ways, I certainly hope it can," Howe said. "The most important thing for me is we've looked like a really good side of late. To score three against an Everton side who have been pretty tight all season is a huge boost.
"We really needed Adam Smith's goal to spark us with the belief that we could get something from the game.
"(Federici) just seems to have twisted his ankle coming down from a corner, Harry Arter just felt something in his hamstring. The injuries are something we can do without but I really want to focus on the positives.
"I'm really proud of the fightback."
The result understandably disappointed Roberto Martinez, whose Everton side were largely in control until Smith's goal in the 80th minute, and represents a significant setback in their pursuit of the Premier League's top four.
"At times you have to accept those moments, that are nearly impossible to explain, happen," the Everton manager said.
"Our first-half performance was exactly what we wanted.
"In the second half we could have done a little bit better, I thought we could have managed the game much better.
"For us to get that third goal was the big moment. What happened at that point is something that is out of our control. All we need to do is see the game through, it's a hopeful ball into the box that drops into the back of the net.
"It felt we lost two points twice during the game, and that's very difficult to explain.
"You couldn't see Bournemouth getting back into the game. They deserve huge credit for having that desire and belief to get the third goal. It should have been enough for us."