Bournemouth 2-1 Brighton: Defoe Grabs Late Winner to Hand Cherries First Win of the New Season
Jermain Defoe struck a vital first goal since re-signing for Bournemouth on Friday night to hand the Cherries their first victory of the season over a spirited Brighton and Hove Albion at Dean Court.
Defoe struck with around 15 minutes to play to complete an impressive turnaround for the hosts, who had fallen behind initially to a well-worked goal from Brighton's Solly March. Andrew Surman had slotted home from close range for the hosts to equalise before Defoe popped up with an instinctive finish into the corner to secure all three points.
The win comes as a huge relief to Eddie Howe's side, who had been beaten by West Brom, Watford, Manchester City and Arsenal in their opening four games of the new campaign. Though not quite enough to take Bournemouth out of the Premier League's bottom three given their inferior goal difference to direct rivals, the win will come as a real boost in confidence.
It was confidence that was obviously lacking for Bournemouth in the opening exchanges - and for almost the entirety of the first half - as Howe's side struggled to find a way through a strong Brighton defensive unit. Defoe came closest to breaking the deadlock with a shot that went just wide in the first 45, though the Seagulls never really looked in danger.
Bournemouth's poor crossing and below-par final ball meant the visitors had little issue in the first half, but it was ironically Brighton - from as precise a cross as you'll see - who struck first in the 55th minute. Anthony Knockaert and Pascal Gross combined brilliantly on the right side, and March rose highest to direct an excellent header past Asmir Begovic for 1-0.
4 - Pascal Groß has been involved in all four of Brighton's goals in the Premier League this season (two goals, two assists). Talisman.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 15, 2017
The goal, and the introduction of Jordon Ibe, however appeared to rattle Bournemouth into life. Ibe's presence and threat was integral to the turnaround, as he first set up Surman to stroke a neat finish past Mathew Ryan in the 67th minute, and then played in to Defoe who struck into the same corner to decide the destination of the points.
Brighton have fallen to their third defeat of the campaign and remain on four points, but the Cherries will now take huge confidence going into next weekend's match with Everton.