Marcus Tavernier’s stunning strike helps Bournemouth stage comeback win over Fulham

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Bournemouth star Marcus Tavernier scored a second-half stunner at the Vitality Stadium to inspire a precious comeback victory over Fulham, with the weakened Cottagers falling to their fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions.

Cherries fans hoping to see signs of a revolution following the international break were left bitterly disappointed early in the game, with Fulham winning every 50-50 and the hosts failing to muster a shot of any description inside half an hour. The Cottagers had already inflicted plenty of damage by that time as Andreas Pereira made a bursting run into the box and slotted home in the 16th minute, before Antonee Robinson thumped the crossbar with a long-range thunderbolt.

The prospect of going two goals down seemed to spur something in Bournemouth, who came into the match with the Premier League’s worst goal difference, and the pendulum finally swung their way before the interval. Dango Ouattara was heavily involved but ruefully wasteful, dragging a left-footed shot wide before smashing the woodwork from all of five yards out, only for his blushes to be spared by the offside flag.

Gary O’Neil responded with a double substitution at the break, and Tavernier repaid the Bournemouth boss’ faith within five minutes as his spectacular left-footed curler made it eight goal contributions in his last five matches. The visitors were visibly rattled, and with the threat of relegation looming, the Cherries made the gutsy decision to go for the jugular. Jefferson Lerma fired the first warning shot as his deflected strike looped onto the roof of the net, but the crucial moment fell to Dominic Solanke, who got his reward for following in as Ryan Christie’s effort was palmed into his path for a simple finish.

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With the bottom nine clubs separated by just four points heading into this weekend’s fixtures, each point is vital for Bournemouth, and adding three more to their tally puts daylight between them and the drop zone. Meanwhile, Fulham’s European hopes appear to be slipping away, with the suspended Willian and Aleksandar Mitrović proving a big miss on the south coast.