GREAT GRABBAN NEVER IN DOUBT
Two-goal return is so timely
EDDIE HOWE says he always believed in Lewis Grabban after the striker ended a 14-game goalless run with two strikes to give Bournemouth a winning start to Championship life.
The striker ended his drought with a first-half header, before Yann Kermorgant acrobatically equalised for Charlton minutes after the break.
But Grabban smashed a stunning long-range strike past Ben Hamer to make it 2-1 and Bradley Pritchard’s red card ended Charlton’s hopes of mounting a comeback.
The Cherries’ excellent start to their first campaign in the second tier for 23 years leaves them third in the early table.
Though Howe says he was blown away by the efforts of his players, he admitted they will need to replicate their excellent performance every week in a competitive league.
“We were immense and the players gave everything for the cause once again,” said Howe.
“A lot of people get bogged down with stats, but we have always believed in Lewis.
“His work rate never drops. His confidence may have taken a knock last season but they were two very special strikes today.
“We are delighted for him and he deserves it for his attitude
“We will have to be ruthless in front of goal and water-tight at the back and show the effort we did today in every game in this league.
“The only disappointing thing is conceding, but the positive is we have responded really well and ended up winning.
“Charlton finished very well last season so we were under no illusions, but surely that win will give us great confidence that we can compete in this league.
“A win on the first day gives you that psychological edge.”
Bournemouth took the lead when Marc Pugh’s quickly-taken corner caught Charlton off guard in the 26th minute and Grabban met Harry Arter’s cross with a firm header.
The Cherries could have doubled their lead two minutes later through Wes Thomas, who met another Pugh cross, but his effort just missed Hamer’s left post.
The Robins hit back immediately after the interval, when a Rhoys Wiggins cross deflected off Shaun MacDonald, and Kermorgant volleyed the rebound past Ryan Allsop.
But, after an hour, Grabban put the Cherries back in front with a powerful first-time effort from 30 yards that flew past Hamer and into the bottom corner.
Pritchard had an effort cleared expertly off the line by Elliott Ward after Allsop had misjudged his lofted cross.
But Pritchard was sent off with seven minutes to go for a wild challenge on the tricky Ryan Fraser and the Cherries eased to victory.
Athletic manager Chris Powell could only admire Grabban’s winning goal but rued his team’s failure to maintain their momentum after the equaliser.
“We had the momentum then and really put our foot on the gas to put them under a lot of pressure,” said Powell.
“We were right back in it but for an outstanding winning goal. Should we have shut it down? We could have.
“We kept going and had one cleared off the line but it was not to be. We started off quite sluggish, but there were seeds and signs of what I want from them.
“I haven’t seen the sending off again, but my first reaction is that it didn’t look good.
“The referee made his decision and there’s no problem, but it’s a shame really when he was starting to get into the game.
“We dust ourselves down and go again.
“We have got the cup game next, which I can look to make a couple of changes for.”
BACK ON SONG: Lewis Grabban is congratulated by Bournemouth team mates
ALL SQUARE: Yann Kermorgant equalises for Charlton