Mark Hughes will be disappointed that his Stoke team did not leave the Vitality Stadium with more than a point today after their 2-2 draw with Bournemouth in which he watched his team waste a score of good opportunities.
Eddie Howe will be much the happier manager as despite his team’s lacklustre performance, this result ensured their survival in the Premier League for another season.
The game got off to a rather tepid start as it appeared that both teams had one eye on their impending holidays with the Premier League next season all but guaranteed for both of them.
Both teams were set up in a tight, compact style with Bournemouth especially happy to sit back with the ball and let Stoke try and take it off them.
Possession switched quickly between the teams and there were a few early half-chances but as the game wore on it became clear that poor finishing and decision making would become a major theme of the game.
It was not until the 21st minute that any team had a proper chance on goal and somewhat surprisingly it fell to fullback Adam Smith, who on his 26th birthday fired in a left footed shot which ricocheted off the post. Harry Arter really should have been sent off shortly after for a two-footed slide tackle on Joe Allen which former Bournemouth captain Roy Gater, who died earlier this week, would have been proud of.
Bournemouth were beginning to look dangerous on the counter-attack but it was Stoke who broke the deadlock after Mousset headed into his own net from a corner.
It was Stoke’s third corner in quick succession and Bournemouth should have done better to defend it. Bournemouth had a spur of energy right towards the end of the half but the first 45 minutes finished with Stoke in the lead.
It appeared that neither manager’s team talk had much effect as the second half got off to an equally uninspiring start.
It was not until the 61st minute when Bournemouth equalised through Stanislas that the game really came to life. After this both teams had good chances but seemed incapable of finding that final pass into the box.
Stoke took the lead once again through Diouf whose first goal of the season was scrappy, fortuitous and involved a double deflection. Stoke deserved their lead at this point but Bournemouth managed to pull another goal back through a rather controversial Shawcross own goal.
Josh King appeared to be in an offside position when the ball came off him, though it deflected into Shawcross who turned it into his own net.
Both Bournemouth and Stoke kept up the pressure as the game reached its conclusion, but it ended with the points being shared as both managers start making their plans for the Premier League in 2017-18.
Written by Dom Clarke.
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