Saturday 16 February 2019

Bournemouth denied stonewall penalty in goalless stalemate with Leicester

Bournemouth's Marc Pugh in action with Leicester City's Danny Simpson
Bournemouth's Marc Pugh in action with Leicester City's Danny Simpson

Declan Warrington

Bournemouth were denied a clear penalty as they wasted numerous chances to secure a convincing victory in a 0-0 draw at home to Leicester.

Danny Simpson's handball sent Marc Pugh's early goal-bound shot wide and went unpunished, but even amid that sense of injustice, the hosts were so dominant and their visitors so poor that that should have had little influence on the outcome.

Instead Bournemouth will reflect on the costly way they dropped two points and Leicester leave relieved at avoiding defeat.

The hosts began with a belief and intensity that should have been rewarded with a goal.

In only the third minute following a fine build-up, Josh King played Jermain Defoe through on goal from where the striker struck the underside of the crossbar.

When the rebound fell to Pugh, he had a near-open goal with visiting goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel out of position, but when his shot was blocked by Simpson's outstretched hand his appeals for a penalty were ignored by referee Graham Scott.

Regardless of their misfortune, Bournemouth consistently continued to threaten.

A well-timed through-ball from Junior Stanislas sent Defoe one-on-one until the chasing Wes Morgan impressively recovered and forced him to lay off to Pugh. The midfielder was again in shooting range, but this time connected poorly and sent his effort harmlessly wide of the left post.

If he had felt discouraged it did not show when he broke down the left wing and squared to King in space just inside the area, but the forward then struck wide of the right.

Pugh had another chance approaching half-time when King ran down the right and, after Morgan unconvincingly attempted to clear the forward's ball to Defoe, Pugh took possession and shot comfortably over.

With the first half finishing goalless there was already a suspicion the hosts had wasted their finest chance of victory by not building the lead they deserved, but the second proved similarly one-sided.

Beyond Marc Albrighton's classy cross from deep on the right wing falling to Shinji Okazaki via Simon Francis' poor clearance and the forward shooting wide despite being well-placed, Leicester offered little response.

Pugh again shot over the crossbar from 25 yards, and Andrew Surman curled wide of the right post from similar range. The diving Schmeichel was then forced to tip over when Stanislas cut into the area from the left wing onto his right foot, and tested the goalkeeper with another good strike.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe replaced Defoe with Benik Afobe in his pursuit of a much-deserved goal, and his summer transfer target Demarai Gray found space on the edge of the area to routinely test his goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, but it was not to prove forthcoming.

Howe has spoken of his belief his side are already in a battle for survival and on this quality of performance, there is little need for that to be case. The finishing touch, however, was repeatedly missing in the final third, and if that continues he will be proved right and they will struggle.

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