Cher­ries blos­som De­foe strikes as Bournemouth grab first win of sea­son

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Sam Wal­lace CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER at the Vi­tal­ity Sta­dium

The last time Jer­main De­foe scored for Bournemouth, Ed­die Howe was play­ing cen­tre-back be­hind the then teenage loa­nee and more than 16 years on from that day the mas­ter fin­isher had lost none of his edge when it came to scor­ing a cru­cial Fri­day-night win­ner.

It was a goal from De­foe that de­cided mat­ters with Bournemouth with­out a win in their pre­vi­ous four games and also com­ing from a goal down against a Brighton team who sur­prised them at the start of the sec­ond half. Howe has had to pay a pre­mium to bring one of the English game’s great marks­man to the club and the 34-year-old duly de­liv­ered with a text­book De­foe fin­ish to de­cide the game.

His last goal for the Dorset side had come in May 2001 in a 3-3 draw at Read­ing when the clubs were in what is now League One and De­foe was a red-hot prospect on loan from West Ham. A lot has changed since those days but even now they are an es­tab­lished Pre­mier League side, things were anx­ious un­til Howe made the change that al­tered the course of the game with his side trail­ing to Solly March’s header.

That was to bring on the 21-yearold Jor­don Ibe, a £15mil­lion sign­ing from Liver­pool last sum­mer, who has yet to es­tab­lish him­self at his new club. He had a re­mark­able im­pact on this game for his man­ager, as­sist­ing the equaliser for An­drew Sur­man and then de­liv­er­ing the per­fect ball into the stride of De­foe to lash home his 160th Pre­mier League goal, now just three be­hind Rob­bie Fowler who is sixth on the all-time list.

Later Howe de­scribed the young English­man a “player of im­mense prom­ise”. “I feel that some­times we un­der­es­ti­mate how young he is be­cause it feels like he has been around for a long time,” Howe said. “He is still learn­ing lots of as­pects but as long as we see that at­ti­tude to im­prove he will get bet­ter.

“He has al­ready be­come a bet­ter player and he can give us a real lift. He has had to get used to our train­ing and how we work and un­der­stand­ing our de­mands. Some­times it can be a shock to the sys­tem and it takes time to un­der­stand what we want to do.

“The two as­sists were a re­ally good cameo of what he is all about. He is a re­ally tal­ented lad. He is dif­fer­ent to what we have got in the squad, that abil­ity to beat peo­ple, and he has real pace. He showed real qual­ity with his back-heel, which was a mo­ment of magic and with the sec­ond, the weight on the pass was per­fect for Jer­main.”

There was also credit due to Bournemouth for keep­ing their com­po­sure af­ter March scored dur­ing a pe­riod when Brighton amped up the pres­sure at the start of the sec­ond half, hav­ing been largely dor­mant be­fore the break. The nerves were fray­ing around the Vi­tal­ity Sta­dium at that point, with De­foe hardly hav­ing been given a sight of goal in the first half. “We haven’t cre­ated enough chances for him as a team, and he’s a player who thrives on open­ings,” Howe said. “He was sur­viv­ing on half-chances in the first half and it is up to us to learn to feed him the ball.”

Back when a teenage De­foe scored goals ev­ery week for Bournemouth in the third tier, Howe said he was “the best fin­isher I have ever seen”. “I couldn’t be­lieve how good he was in those days,” Howe said. “We need to know what Jer­main wants and when he wants the ball.”

Ibe came on with Brighton in the lead, March’s goal headed in from a cross by Pas­cal Gross, who has now ei­ther scored or been in­volved in all four of Brighton’s league goals this sea­son. He later went off in­jured and Chris Hughton said that in the end his team were over­whelmed by the level of qual­ity upon which Howe could call.

“We de­fended well for large parts of the game and the two oc­ca­sions we didn’t the two goals came and that was a dis­ap­point­ment,” Hughton said.

“They [Bournemouth] are a side who have fared well and re­cruited bet­ter. I ex­pect them to have a de­cent sea­son. The fact they have lost games, that can hap­pen to any side out­side the top teams. It was only a mat­ter of time un­til they started win­ning again.”

In the sec­ond half, Sur­man headed off the line twice in quick suc­ces­sion when Shane Duffy and then Prop­per headed the ball goal­wards. When Gross de­liv­ered another cor­ner, Duffy headed on and the mid­fielder Dale Stephens con­nected with a header that rat­tled the bar. Brighton took the lead when Gross made some space on the right and crossed for March to score.

For Bournemouth’s first, Ibe back-heeled a bril­liant as­sist into the path of Sur­man, who kept his nerve to fin­ish well. Ibe won the cor­ner that led to Brighton’s goal but it was his as­sist for De­foe that stood out: he waited for the mo­ment to slide a ball with the out­side of his right foot into the path of the striker who al­ways knows what to do in that sit­u­a­tion.

5,977 days since my last #AFCB goal and it feels just as good @Iam­jer­main­de­foe

Killer touch: Jer­main De­foe fires in Bournemouth’s sec­ond goal

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