During the second half of the current 2018/19 Premier League campaign, some sections of the Cherries support had questioned the desire that some of the playing squad had shown.
This had become more and more evident following the defeats at Dean Court to strugglers Burnley and Fulham.
It left a pretty low feeling amongst the travelling support to our closest neighbours Southampton on Saturday. A team out of form, decimated by injuries set to face a side that AFC Bournemouth usually fail to turn up against in a City that the Cherries have never won in.
After 20 minutes the 3,000 that travelled had seen their worst fears played out before them, an early goal for Southampton and AFC Bournemouth under siege from the home side.
With Simon Francis, Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels and Diego Rico all out injured, only Nathaniel Clyne, recently injured and out of form the only full back option.
Howe tried Nathan Ake and Jack Simpson on the left side of the defence, tried a three-man defence and a four-man defence before succumbing to an early change by dragging off Chris Mepham for Ryan Fraser, who had struggled before the game with a calf injury.
Against the run of play, AFC Bournemouth drew level through Dan Gosling and then shocked the Southampton home crowd to take the lead at half time through Callum Wilson.
The second half saw Southampton return to their early dominance and another two goals saw the game swing back to Southampton’s favour.
England striker Callum Wilson once again found the net to make it 3-3 and very nearly claimed all three points and a hat-trick, but his late chance was denied.
The game ended with Southampton time wasting and keeping the ball in the corner, desperate to hold on to a point.
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe told afcb.co.uk…
“…I think after 20 minutes we’d have done anything for that point, but ask me after 95 minutes, I’m maybe not so happy.
“We obviously had a big chance at the end when Callum went through, but the fighting characteristics of the team were back.
“We’ve not come back from losing positions enough this season and to do that was a great sign.
“The main thing from the team today is that the fighting spirit and determination was there and there was a real pride to wear the badge…”
Charlie Austin defending the ball in the corner for his life.
Team celebration at the end.
Hassenhuttel really going out of his way to make sure his team recognise the importance of getting a point at home to a better team than they. – Join the conversation, click here.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) April 27, 2019