Early goals see Cherries past Terriers
- Roger East
AFC Bournemouth held their nerve late on to get back to winning ways with a tight 2-1 success over Huddersfield Town.
Inside five minutes the home side were in front, Callum Wilson adding another to his season's impressive haul with a powered header from Ryan Fraser's inswinging free-kick, and the Scot soon added a second as he played the ball under the 'keeper following a swift counter.
Before the break Town pulled one back through Terence Kongolo's dipping header, and into the second half the visitors' continued muscular approach caused much concern for the Cherries with the home defence needing to stay firm to the very end to secure their important victory.
Jefferson Lerma came straight back into the team after missing the weekend trip to Manchester City through suspension, David Brooks also back in the starting 11 in the Cherries' only other change.
Any early Cherries nerves were swept aside when they took the lead after Joshua King had won an free-kick by the right apex of the box.
Fraser stepped up to swing the set piece in and with all the Huddersfield defenders moving out to play offside except one, Wilson was onside and unmarked to turn his header clinically home from eight yards.
King twice went close to doubling the lead in the minutes that followed, Jonas Lossl first turning his floated effort over before the striker adjusted to back-head a cross inches wide of the upright.
A couple of nervy moments followed in the home box, crosses needing last-ditch clearances, before midway through the half the Cherries notched a second.
It was a case of roles reversed as, after King's pass set Wilson on the chase, the England man spotted Fraser's run and precisely played the ball into his path; the winger making no mistake with a low slide of a finish under Lossl.
The hosts had Asmir Begovic to thank for keeping their two-goal advantage intact, the 'keeper down quickly to block Alex Pritchard's close-range strike, then making an even better stop to deny Laurent Depoitre's free header.
The Bosnian's personal hat-trick of good saves was then completed when he dived to repel Aaron Mooy's curling free-kick 19 yards from goal.
The Terrier's main threat was coming from aerial balls into the box and that proved to be their route back into the game, Matias Jorgensen's header keeping the ball alive for Kongolo to loop a header of his own over Begovic to redress his side's arrears.
Heading towards the break it was backs against the walls for the Cherries, who none-the-less held onto their lead until the interval.
Into the second period and the game restarted on an even keel, though King missed a gilt-edged chance to regain the Cherries' previous advantage when pulling wide in space in the area after being set up by Wilson.
Begovic proved his importance again, saving with his feet after Mooy had controlled a cross and stepped inside to fire in low, Eddie Howe soon bringing Junior Stanislas into the game as the hosts looked to wrestle control of proceedings.
The match was still well poised with 10 minutes remaining, Huddersfield's crosses looking for men while Bournemouth were having the counter attacks stifled before they get into the final third.
Cherries heads were keeping the Huddersfield hoists at bay as five minutes of additional time were signalled, and the home side saw the match out and claimed their result to start a hectic December off with a win.
Early goal switches styles
Ahead of kick-off, onlookers would have expected the Cherries to see the lion's share of possession against the Terriers - but the early goal saw the opposite the case in the first half with the visitors having to assert themselves as they looked for a foothold.
This initially played into home hands as they were able to score a second on the break, but after that Huddersfield's aerial approach began to cause panic in the home penalty area, Cherries only barely with their noses still in front at the break.
Big night at Vitality
With four straight losses coming into the game and unbeaten Liverpool visiting at the weekend, the pressure was on and the atmosphere noisy for the Cherries at kick-off, the side well aware of the importance of the midweek points.
The Cherries' second fastest goal of the season - David Brooks' opener against Crystal Palace coming seconds earlier - caught the wind in home sails before Fraser's second - but the rearguard effort was as much the match-winner from then on as the Cherries nervily crossed the finish line.