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Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Bournemouth returned to the top of the Championship table despite failing to hold their lead against the Terriers.

Yann Kermorgant opened the scoring in the first half, completing a finely executed corner from Matt Ritchie, before James Vaughan turned in Jack Robinson’s shot after 65 minutes.

Late efforts from Callum Wilson and Steve Cook looked likely to give Bournemouth maximum points, but an inspired Alex Smithies kept his team in contention.

With neither Middlesbrough nor Derby playing a league game today, collecting three points against mid-table Huddersfield seemed vital for the Cherries, as a win would give some much needed breathing space between the top of the group and the chasing pack.

Although the Cherries sit at the top of the table, wins for the teams with a game in hand would see Bournemouth drop to third, and out of the automatic promotion places.

Further disappointment was inflicted on Bournemouth as key midfielder Harry Arter picked up his ninth booking of the season, meaning he misses the subsequent two league fixtures, as he failed to reach the April amnesty.

Eddie Howe’s men settled into the match comfortably during the initial stages. Yann Kermorgant’s close header after eight minutes was comfortably stopped by Smithies in the Huddersfield goal.

Chris Powell’s game plan seemed conservative, as the Huddersfield defensive line rarely left the confines of their penalty area during the first half.

With so much space in the centre of the park, Matt Ritchie came close to opening the scoring as his long range effort was well saved by Smithies, who diverted the shot past his left hand post.

Andrew Surman forced a well-earned corner, which provided the breakthrough for the Cherries.

Ritchie’s low driven corner was executed to perfection, with Kermorgant meeting the ball after a dummy from Arter took the Huddersfield defenders by surprise.

Kermorgant’s ninth league goal of the season gave Bournemouth the deserved lead, and maintained their record of scoring first in every league game at the Goldsands this season.

Southampton loanee, Artur Boruc, was untroubled in the Cherries goal, before Tom Smith’s extravagant effort required intervention from the goalkeeper.

Harry Arter almost added to his tally of six league goals after stealing the ball from David Edgar, running the majority of the pitch, and his shot trickling just wide.

Bournemouth possessed a real spark in their play, and should’ve extended their lead further before the break, as top scorer Callum Wilson was unable to convert a rebound, as Smithies parried Ritchie’s strike into the forward’s path.

Huddersfield were unable to string together a quantity of passes, and James Vaughan grew increasingly frustrated in the front line, as he lacked any support from his team mates.

With a one goal cushion twice being lost earlier in the week, during the 2-2 draw against Derby, going into the halftime break with just a one goal advantage would’ve unsettled Eddie Howe.

The second half lacked the same intensity from Bournemouth, and they struggled to produce the same quality chances of the first half.

Chris Powell pushed his men higher up the pitch, which allowed them to create a few more chances of their own, sculpting attacks that lacked enough precision to produce a serious threat.

The equaliser came from James Vaughan, scoring three in as many games, as he managed to deflect Robinson’s scuffed effort beyond Boruc, left helpless after Huddersfield’s first dangerous opportunity.

Bournemouth’s rhythm reinstalled after the goal, and a double substitution brought fresh legs to the Cherries attacks.

15 of the game’s 17 corners were awarded to Bournemouth, and numerable chances went by from set plays, with Smithies running the show.

Despite Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith being pushed into more attacking wide roles, Huddersfield’s defence proved too resistant for Bournemouth, giving them their first point in four matches.