AFC Bournemouth recorded a fifth straight win this evening, beating Huddersfield Town 2-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Goals from Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke in the first-half put Jonathan Woodgate’s side on course for the win, but they were made to sweat on their points after Jonathan Hogg’s header gave Carlos Corberan hope of a vital point.
Ultimately, that point evaded Huddersfield and leaves these two sides fighting at opposite ends of the table during the run-in.
"We haven't done anything yet," is the simple message from Woodgate and the #afcb camp. Whilst that's true, what they have done is wrestle control of the race for the play-offs with five straight wins.
— AGB (@BurnsAlfie) April 13, 2021
Given the differing nature of this pair’s form heading into the fixture, the early exchanges were naturally dominated by Bournemouth.
Woodgate’s side were looking to Arnaut Danjuma on the left, aiming to isolate him with Rarmani Edmonds-Green as the Huddersfield youngster featured as a makeshift right-back.
A well worked throw-in on that left-edge resulted in the game’s first chance, but Ryan Schofield was down well to deny Lloyd Kelly’s stabbed effort.
Lewis O’Brien’s drive would earn Ben Pearson a yellow card and then create a shooting chance for Aaron Rowe, but on the opposite side of the field, it was Danjuma causing all the real problems.
The Bournemouth winger turned Edmonds-Green into trouble before shooting low at Schofield. His reaction save was good, but it only fell the way of Billing, who stooped to head into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
Billing was almost celebrating again minutes later, but his deflected shot fell the wrong side of the post.
Despite the early dominance of Bournemouth, Rowe was managing to find space out on the left, receiving a raking pass from Hogg before forcing Asmir Begovic into a second low save on 22 minutes.
The golden chance for the game’s second goal fell to the best player on the pitch, but Danjuma could only blaze Adam Smith’s cross into the empty stand after brilliant work from the Bournemouth right-back.
As the game drifted towards half-time, chances were few and far between, but that all changed for Solanke minutes before the break.
A long ball from Kelly got the striker running into the penalty area, but he could only pull his finish across Schofield’s goal. However, he would make no mistake when a second chance came.
Loose play from Edmonds-Green saw a pass fall the way of Pearson, whose simple ball into Solanke allowed him to turn on the edge of the penalty area and finish excellently beyond Schofield.
Huddersfield had missed the regular drive of O’Brien from the midfield in the first-half, but the 22-year-old was still looking to provide that from left-back, bursting into the penalty area on 49 minutes and crashing a shot off the angle of the woodwork.
Despite that brief show of creativity and fight, Huddersfield’s performance continued to drift towards the hour, with Bournemouth cruising and just waiting to click through the gears.
Danjuma and Kelly were benefitting from the attack-minded approach of Rowe and Rolando Aarons, breaking into space time after time. Naby Sarr would block Solanke’s shot on the turn, with the away side carrying the only threat of adding to the scoring.
Jefferson Lerma should have converted a lovely Danjuma free-kick for a third goal on 72 minutes, but the midfielder’s guided header was just off-target.
That miss was casually brushed off by the laid-back Lerma, but Bournemouth’s evening would become far more tense than it should have been on 76 minutes when Hogg met Duane Holmes’ corner with a superb header of his own to put Corberan’s side back in contention.
Aarons, Sorba Thomas and Scott High injected some intensity into Huddersfield’s play in the final third, keeping the Bournemouth defence on their toes after stepping off the bench.
Sarr could not direct Thomas’ late corner on target, whilst Sam Surridge came off the bench to keep Schofield’s fingertips warm with a cute effort following a cross from the left.
Woodgate’s defence would do well to repel late pressure and hang on for a crucial fifth win on the bounce, which keeps their Championship play-off hopes in their own hands and extends a majestic run of form at just the right time of the season.
FT: Huddersfield Town 1-2 AFC Bournemouth.