Tuesday 17 October 2017

Defoe strike lifts pressure on Howe

Bournemouth 2 Brighton 1

Jermain Defoe of AFC Bournemouth scores their second goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion at Vitality Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
Jermain Defoe of AFC Bournemouth scores their second goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion at Vitality Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Purewal

Jermain Defoe fired Bournemouth to their first win of the Premier League season to relieve mounting pressure on boss Eddie Howe.

The 34-year-old rifled his first Bournemouth goal in 16 years, as the Cherries came from behind to sink visitors Brighton.

Solly March's header had Brighton dreaming of a second successive Premier League win but Andrew Surman coolly levelled before England poacher Defoe stole the victory. Defoe last scored for Bournemouth on a loan spell in May 2001, and the veteran exhibited all his stunning staying power to settle this south coast derby.

Bournemouth were in real danger of losing five successive Premier League matches for the first time when March capped a flowing move, but manager Howe's men responded in style to kick-start their season.

Defoe has turned out for West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Toronto FC and Sunderland since his loan stint on the south coast as a teenage goalscorer of rich promise.

A full generation of strikers has come and gone in between, but still Defoe keeps on delivering, adding again to his impressive haul that included 15 Premier League goals with the Black Cats last term. The Cherries' success leaves Crystal Palace as the final top-flight team still seeking points, with Defoe securing a crucial boost to Howe.

Super sub Jordon Ibe laid on both goals in a clinical cameo that will raise hopes of the former Liverpool starlet finally making good on his £15million transfer fee.

A nervy first-half saw Shane Duffy play in Josh King and Harry Arter hand possession straight to Davy Propper. Neither man could produce a finish however, leaving the clash deadlocked at the interval.

The emboldened visitors struck after the break with a clinical and eye-catching move, Pascal Gross chesting down to Anthony Knockaert who played the ball back into the German's path. March then despatched Gross' whipped cross with a smart header, sucking the air out of Bournemouth and their fans.

Howe had asked his men for fight though, and that steel showed itself in an equaliser of high quality. Surman traded passes with Ibe, collected the replacement's neat backheel, cut inside Lewis Dunk's rash challenge - and coolly side-footed home.

With the match finally alight, Ibe soon played in Defoe, who turned, scurried on and buried a drive past Seagulls goalkeeper Mathew Ryan. A timely finish from a timeless striker.

Irish Independent

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