Bournemouth secure first home win over Southampton since 1958
Bournemouth 2 0 Southampton
Published 01/03/2016 | 22:23
Fourth official Kevin Friend was rushed to hospital after collapsing and banging his head as Bournemouth saw off Southampton 2-0 in the Premier League.
Steve Cook and Benik Afobe struck as the Cherries claimed their first home league win over south coast rivals Saints since 1958 in a low-quality encounter. Match official Friend passed out and received immediate treatment as a hush descended across the stadium at the tail end of the first half.
Referee Mike Dean quickly blew for half-time, before Friend was taken off for further treatment at hospital. Non-league referee Dean Treleaven, in the ground as a spectator, was pressed into service as Friend's replacement.
On the field Bournemouth secured their first win in five matches in all competitions, Cook and Afobe both profiting from Matt Ritchie free-kicks.Toothless Southampton had few answers as Bournemouth edged further away from the Premier League drop zone.
Saints boss Ronald Koeman had only extolled the virtues of the wing-backs formation on Monday, as a means of fielding two strikers amid cluttered Premier League midfields.
The former Holland defender was forced to abandon that ploy after little more than half an hour on Tuesday night however, reverting to a flat back four after Bournemouth took the lead.
Maya Yoshida was the unfortunate fall guy, with Koeman sending in Steven Davis to reinforce the midfield. Whatever Koeman tried however, Saints failed to fire on a frustrating night for the visitors. Charlie Austin should have put them ahead right from the off, with a snap side-foot from James Ward-Prowse's cutback, but missed the target.
Ritchie and Josh King handed Southampton plenty of warning signs by sneaking in behind the visitors' wing-backs, but Koeman's men failed to heed the threat.
Bournemouth's territorial dominance kept Saints pinned back for the majority of the opening half-hour, with Sadio Mane hardly helping matters by conceding possession cheaply on at least four occasions. Mane blasted over the bar on a rare Saints foray, failing to capitalise after being played through by Oriol Romeu.
Saints paid for their disorganisation when King outwitted Jose Fonte on the right flank. Norway forward King first picked Fonte's pocket, then forced the Portugal defender into conceding a cheap free-kick for obstruction.
Ritchie duly whipped in a dangerous ball that Forster could only parry among the bodies, and Cook acrobatically hooked home to hand the hosts the lead. Koeman's response was immediate and merciless, Yoshida sacrificed and the 3-5-2 formation along with him.
As the half petered out, fourth official Friend passed out and cut his head on the dugout, receiving immediate medical attention. The start of the second half was delayed by five minutes, with Friend taken to hospital for further treatment and replaced by Treleaven.
Saints hitman Austin limped out of action just ahead of the hour, replaced by Graziano Pelle, and Shane Long hobbled out shortly afterwards. Long had been rated just "50-50" by Koeman in advance of this clash as he battled a hamstring problem.
Pelle briefly added bite to Saints' attack, but not nearly enough. Bournemouth doubled their advantage from another Ritchie set-piece, this time former Wolves poacher Afobe heading home his fourth goal for the Cherries to seal a precious victory.