By Jimmie Lyden
A dramatic finale ensured that Bournemouth took a share of the spoils from this pulsating six-goal thriller with Everton, coming from behind twice to eventually draw 3-3 with the Merseysiders on a windy afternoon at the Vitality Stadium.
The game started brightly for the Cherries in the opening 15 minutes, with Dan Gosling narrowly shooting wide after good build up play from Junior Stanislas and Tim Howard needing to be alert to palm away a stinging drive from Josh King.
However, after Adam Federici was nearly stretched off following a clash with centre-back Steve Cook, Everton made the breakthrough after a succession of corners which eventually resulted in their Argentinian centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori planting a powerful header past Federici in the Cherries net to give Everton the lead.
They proceeded to double their advantage 10 minutes later after in-form Romelu Lukaku scored his 10th goal of the PL season, showing impressive strength to hold off Cook and fire past Federici.
Bournemouth almost clawed their way back into the game immediately as Cook’s header appeared goalbound until John Stones made it back to clear the ball off the line and give a big centre-half a taste of disappointment.
It remained 0-2 until half-time but Bournemouth decided to make two changes in the second half, Federici was clearly struggling so he was replaced by Ryan Allsop for his Premier League debut and Adam Smith replacing Steve Cook in defence.
The game went back and forth for the majority of the second half, with both sides creating decent openings in a very attacking game, Glenn Murray replaced Harry Arter with 15 minutes to go due to an injury which was Bournemouth’s last throw of the dice in order to try and get a goal back.
Surprisingly, it was one of the other substitutes that gave the Cherries a path back into the game. Bournemouth looked destined to be thwarted until Adam Smith smashed a rocket shot into the far corner from the edge of the area.
The goal, coupled with the roars from the home fans, got Cherries tails up and they went looking for an equaliser immediately, Smith seemed unlucky not to win a penalty after going down from Brendan Galloway’s challenge but Bournemouth would not have to wait long for satisfaction.
A spot of quick thinking by Murray from a free kick found King on the right who picked out Stanislas in the middle to smash Bournemouth level and make the scores 2-2.
However, it appeared like another heartbreaking moment for Cherries fans when, in the 5th minute of added time, Ross Barkley capitalised on Bournemouth’s cavalier approach when he exposed the lack of defence to slide past Allsop and send Everton fans delirious again.
Amazingly, the drama had one final twist for Bournemouth, the fans and players being sent from agony to ecstasy when the impressive Stanislas connected from an inch perfect cross from Daniels to thunderbolt a header past Howard and send Cherries fans home happy again.
The result of 3-3 leaves Everton still in 7th but moves Bournemouth up one place to 18th, overtaking Newcastle who were trounced 5-1 by Crystal Palace and 2 points behind Sunderland, who beat Stoke 2-0 and Norwich who have a game in hand against Arsenal at home tomorrow.