Bournemouth twice came from behind to draw a thrilling south coast derby with Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 at the Amex Stadium in the first Premier League game of the year.
Bournemouth began the game in a precarious position five points worse off than last New Year’s Day. They got off to the worst possible start in the fifth minute when Brighton’s Anthony Knockaert rounded off a flowing move by squeezing the ball in at the far post for his second goal of the season.
The goal was Brighton’s fastest ever in the Premier League. However, it was far from one-way traffic and both keepers were kept busy before Steve Cook equalised against the club where he began his career with a clever back-flick header from a corner on 33 minutes.
Glenn Murray also scored against his former side to restore Brighton’s lead at the start of the second half and the home side should have had a third when man of the match Jose Izquierdo shot instead of passed to Davy Propper, who was perfectly placed to score.
Bournemouth took full advantage and, after Jordan Ibe hit a post, equalised for the second time after a protracted scramble in the area from another corner. The ball eventually fell to Callum Wilson who stuck out a boot to divert the ball into the net.
The result left both teams hovering above the relegation zone. Cook said: “Normally when you score twice away from home you expect to win but I think it was a fair result and completed a good Christmas for us.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton said he was delighted to see his side score twice for the first time in 11 games but was unhappy at twice conceding from set pieces. “It was a game that on chances we should have won,” he said.
Hughton refused to elaborate when asked about speculation the club were keen to sign Celtic striker Moussa Dembele. “I am aware of the speculation but that is all it is,” he said.
Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Christian Radnedge