King strikes at death to keep Palace in the mire
If you go to watch Bournemouth, do not leave early. For the seventh game in a row involving the south-coast club, a goal was scored after 89 minutes and they have now won 18 points from losing positions.
Here, Joshua King bundled in Steve Cook’s flick-on at the far post with a minute of normal time remaining, to spoil Crystal Palace’s afternoon.
It looked as though Palace would once again have Wilfried Zaha to thank for a moment of magic giving them a precious victory in their fight to beat the drop.
“I have confidence in the team and I think the team has shown confidence, but it’s going to be a dogfight,” said a frustrated Roy Hodgson, the manager.
Palace have opened up a three-point gap on the bottom three, but this draw would have felt like a defeat, given that Bournemouth’s equaliser came so late.
“We couldn’t hold on to the lead on two occasions and we certainly created enough chances to put the game to bed,” added Hodgson. “If we continue to play like that over the next five games, we have to believe we can take enough points.”
With Brighton, Watford and Leicester to play, the Eagles should be confident in their ability to survive, but losing points late on in their past two games is sure to have had an effect on confidence.
Hodgson will point to a host of chances squandered in the second half, though Bournemouth were full value for their point.
“We have got players here who want to go the extra mile to enhance their careers and I think that has shone again today,” said Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager.
It looked as though the brilliant but frustrating Zaha would once again prove the match-winner for Palace as he scored 15 minutes from time – but Bournemouth claimed their 18th point from losing positions with King’s strike.
This game showed both sides of the Ivorian’s game. A brilliant reverse pass to set up a chance for Andros Townsend and a bamboozling 360-degree turn to set up his goal were the good; constant chastising of his team-mates and petulance towards the referee and opposition players, the bad.
Bournemouth had the better of the first half and might have taken the lead after 40 seconds had Callum Wilson managed to make a proper connection with Charlie Daniels’ low cross.
Bournemouth had accrued 21 points in 2018, a number bettered only by the current top four. That run has lifted them clear of danger, not that Howe is ready to admit his team are safe.
Palace made the perfect start to the second half, with Luka Milivojevic curling in a 25-yard free-kick after Jermain Defoe had brought down Yohan Cabaye. Bournemouth were quick to respond with Marc Pugh and Lewis Cook drawing saves from Wayne Hennessey.
Bournemouth substitute Lys Mousset took one crisply struck shot as he swept in from the edge of the area after good work from Ryan Fraser. That did little for Zaha’s petulance as the Ivorian continued to berate each of his teammates whenever the ball failed to reach him. His spirits improved as he executed a 360-degree turn to evade Fraser on the edge of the area before scoring, via a slight deflection.
With the fourth official preparing his board, Bournemouth won a corner. It was flicked it on and King provided the crucial touch, giving the hosts parity.
Late leveller: Joshua King slots home in the 89th minute to earn Bournemouth a point