Bournemouth ended a run of four defeats with a narrow victory over rejuvenated Huddersfield Town which returns Eddie Howe’s side to the top six.
The home side were well in control after early goals from Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser but David Wagner’s side were excellent from that point onwards and will count themselves extremely unfortunate to come away empty handed.
Wilson is clearly brimming with confidence after scoring for England on his debut against the USA last month.
In this fixture last year, the in-form Cherries’ striker scored a hat-trick and again tormented Huddersfield in the early stages on a chilly evening on the South Coast.
In took him less than five minutes to register this time, heading in Ryan Fraser’s free-kick at the near post after Erik Durm had fouled Joshua King.
The offside decision looked marginal with Huddersfield's defenders registering their protest with Roger East.
On second viewing, it looked to be Matias Jorgenson who had failed to hold the line, allowing the former Coventry striker a free sight of goal.
The Terriers’ three central defenders were not comfortable having to deal with the pace of Wilson and Joshua King, as well as David Brooks and Fraser in the wide areas.
Fraser’s assist was his seventh of the season, the highest in the Premier League and the diminutive Scotsman is one of a number of players flourishing under Eddie Howe.
Having seemed to have quelled the ensuing home pressure and enjoyed a good spell of their own, David Wagner’s side conceded a second as Bournemouth countered.
This time Wilson turned provider for Fraser as he collected King’s pass and slid the ball across the penalty area for the winger to tuck home.
Alex Pritchard soon went close to pulling one back for the visitors. Only Asmir Begovic’s close-range stop prevented him.
Begovic was then called into action again to turn Laurent Depoitre’s header over the bar after another Hadergjonaj break.
Wagner was roaring his team on from the technical area and they responded. After enjoying the bulk of possession, Terence Kongolo scored from a looping header after Jorgenson and Christopher Schindler had both won headers to set him up.
The first good chance of the second half went the way of Bournemouth, though King dragged his shot wide when well placed after Wilson had flicked on.
But Huddersfield were again embodying their nickname in every respect, relentlessly pressuring Bournemouth into mistakes.
Aaron Mooy soon called Begovic into action once more, firing in a low shot which the Bosnian saved well with his legs.
This was, somewhat surprisingly, a thrilling game played at a relentless pace. Wagner’s side had more than two-thirds of possession with which they ought to have created more clear-cut chances, despite having 20 shots to the Cherries’ five.
Nevertheless, Wagner’s obvious tactical and motivational skills were clear to see, with each of his players totally committed to their roles.
Howe will be delighted with his team’s mental fortitude, more than their technical skill after this result.
They were far from their fluid best and may feel fortunate to have escaped with victory.
Nevertheless, this narrow win returns them to the top six, a remarkable feat as the season approaches the halfway point.
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