Burnley 3 AFC Bournemouth 2
There was no miracle comeback for former Burnley boss Eddie Howe on his Turf Moor return as the home side edged a five-goal thriller in the Premier League.
Bournemouth looked down and out when trailing 3-1 against Liverpool at the Vitality Stadium last weekend only to turn the tables on their opponents to win 4-3.
This time the Cherries trailed by the same scoreline as Republic of Ireland internationals Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward netted in the first half before George Boyd scored his first goal of the season in the 75th minute, becoming the 11th different scorer for the club this term.
Charlie Daniels did add to Afobe’s goal late on but the visitors failed to repeat their heroics on this occasion as Sean Dyche’s side held on for a 3-2 triumph and maximum points.
The Clarets looked to be heading in to the interval with a two-goal cushion until added time controversy reared its ugly head once more.
Sean Dyche was critical of Craig Pawson’s decision to allow Arsenal to take, and consequently score from, a corner beyond the allocated time indicated by the fourth official at Turf Moor in October.
And it appeared to be a concoction of Martin Atkinson’s option to extend the amount of time added on in the first half and some slack defending that caused the Burnley boss’s frustration and animation on the touchline on this occasion.
The home side had taken the lead with an early contender for goal of the month. Matt Lowton, who returned to the XI, fired the pass in to Hendrick and the club’s record signing controlled beautifully, teed himself up with his knee before rifling a perfectly executed volley in to the top corner.
The Clarets then doubled their lead just four minutes later when Artur Boruc saved Ben Mee’s header from a Steven Defour corner but Ward was on hand to convert the rebound from close range.
But Dyche was faced with the inconvenience of altering his team talk at the break when the visitors reduced the deficit.
Cherries skipper Simon Francis played the ball in to the penalty area where Afobe, unmarked on the penalty spot, swept the ball past Tom Heaton and in to the corner.
It was the first goal that the England international had conceded in front of the Jimmy McIlroy Stand in more than a year, with Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson the last man to beat him at that end.
The visitors, who put four past Liverpool at the Vitality Stadium last weekend, pressed early on and worked the ball well in the final third.
Dan Gosling passed the ball just wide of the upright as space opened up for the midfielder from Adam Smith’s assist on the edge of the box.
Heaton was then called in to action to deny Afobe, saving well from the striker after he’d jumped on the pieces of Ryan Fraser’s blocked effort.
Bournemouth started as they’d left off against Jurgen Klopp’s men and went close again when Dan Gosling’s shot from 20 yards out just climbed over the bar.
However, the hosts broke the deadlock in the 13th minute and Hendrick won’t score many better than this.
The Republic of Ireland international left Boruc with no chance when lifting a volley out of the goalkeeper’s reach and inside the near post.
And it was Hendrick’s international team-mate that made it 2-0 when converting from close range after Boruc had foiled Mee.
The home side could’ve added a third as they gathered momentum but Boruc did well to save Michael Keane’s header at the foot of his post.
Defender Steve Cook guided the ball just wide of the upright from Fraser’s corner as the visitors sought a response while Heaton was forced to turn Smith’s set-piece over the bar.
Burnley had defended well until that point but their first lapse in concentration at the back was detrimental.
Afobe pulled away from his marker and was unchallenged as he found the corner to make it 2-1 at the break.
That mounted the pressure on the hosts in the second half but, after Smith drilled wide of the near post early on, Dyche provided the masterstroke that put control back in their hands.
Andre Gray and Ashley Barnes were introduced, with Sam Vokes and Defour withdrawn, as the hosts switched from a 4-1-4-1 to a 4-4-2.
Barnes almost impacted immediately when sweeping Lowton’s pass over the bar with his first touch and Gray got in on the act soon after, poking the ball in to Boruc’s arms after latching on to his strike partner’s flick on.
Burnley, though, made their next attack count with 15 minutes remaining. Gray’s cleverly disguised pass set George Boyd on his way and the winger fired across Boruc and in to the far corner to make it 3-1.
At that point, with nothing to lose, Bournemouth threw everything at finding a route back in to the game which ultimately left them exposed.
Fraser’s measured attempt dropped beyond the far post in his last action of the half but, as they continued to commit men forward, Burnley began to exploit the gaping holes.
Gray raced clear from Hendrick’s pass only to be denied by Boruc from an acute angle and Scott Arfield steered wide of the post after being found in space by Lowton.
Loose marking afforded the visitors a way back when Daniels was allowed to turn in the box from a short corner to thump the ball past Heaton, but the Clarets withstood the late pressure to claim three important points.