A clever finish from Callum Wilson was the difference as Jack Wilshere's Bournemouth debut ended in a 1-0 victory over West Brom
Jack Wilshere's Bournemouth debut ended in victory as a late Callum Wilson winner gave Bournemouth a 1-0 success over West Brom at the Vitality Stadium.
It took 79 minutes for the Cherries to break down an obdurate West Brom defence, finally breaking the deadlock when Wilson's clever flick turned in an Adam Smith cross.
The biggest surprise of the afternoon had come when Eddie Howe opted to leave deadline day arrival Wilshere on the bench, with home supporters waiting an hour for his arrival.
Howe's decision appeared to be the correct one during a first half that Bournemouth dominated, but a resurgent second-half performance from the visitors almost gave them the three points, with only a series of point-blank Artur Boruc saves from Saido Berahino and Gareth McAuley keeping them at bay.
Wilshere's introduction had an immediate impact when the Arsenal star created opportunities for Josh King and Junior Stanislas, before Wilson sealed Bournemouth's first win of the Premier League campaign.
Bournemouth dominated the opening period, Jordon Ibe's indecision costing them a possible early lead, as their record summer signing caught Brendan Galloway napping to meet an excellent Harry Arter pass, but he dallied on the ball and his eventual strike was deflected behind.
West Brom defended resolutely throughout the first period, happy to cede possession to Bournemouth. It took a fierce drive from Stanislas as the ball broke to him 25 yards out to wake up the home crowd just before the interval, but Ben Foster was able to claw it to Wilson, who could only blaze over the rebound.
The game burst into life after the interval, transforming into an end-to-end contest as Albion committed more bodies forward and showed real attacking intent.
Berahino almost gave them the lead after 50 minutes, as Galloway's low cross across the six-yard box was spilled by Boruc to his feet, but the giant Pole somehow smothered the striker's effort from just two yards out.
Minutes later, Boruc was again called into action to somehow repel a McAuley header as the Baggies pressed for what had seemed an unlikely winner.
Wilshere had an immediate impact following his introduction on the hour, his tricky footwork creating an opportunity for King, but his low drive was saved by Foster. He then cued up Stanislas after 70 minutes, but Foster saved his low effort with his legs.
As the game appeared to be drifting towards a goalless finish, Smith burst down the right and squared for Wilson, who somehow managed to flick the ball with his instep beyond the sprawling Foster and into the goal to give the home side a much-needed victory.
Key Opta stats:
- Callum Wilson scored his first Premier League goal since September 19th 2015 (vs Sunderland).
- Despite not scoring in almost one year, Wilson is still the Cherries' second highest goalscorer in the Premier League (six, behind Josh King's seven).
- Bournemouth kept their first clean sheet in seven home league meetings with West Brom.
- The Baggies have scored just seven goals in their last 14 Premier League games.
- Indeed, since Tony Pulis took charge West Brom have failed to score in 21 Premier League matches, the joint-highest number among current clubs in the division (level with Crystal Palace).
- Eddie Howe's side picked up their first home victory in the Premier League since beating Swansea 3-2 back in March.