Eddie Howe revealed his “sympathy” for referee Graham Scott despite him missing the penalty decision that potentially cost Bournemouth victory at home to Leicester. The hosts convincingly outplayed their visitors but repeatedly wasted the numerous chances from which they should have scored.
In only the third minute, Danny Simpson’s outstretched hand tipped Marc Pugh’s goal-bound shot wide when goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was out of position, but with his vision obscured, Scott allowed play to continue. Bournemouth refused to be disheartened by the injustice and created sufficient chances to secure a one-sided victory, but their wastefulness in front of goal ultimately means they remain in the Premier League’s bottom three.
“I can’t be clever: I’ve got sympathy for him because I didn’t see it at the time,” said the manager, whose team remain 19th. “It was on the opposite side of the pitch to me The only thing I saw was Marc Pugh’s reaction and knowing the player as I do, that gave me a sign that there was something. “It’s only when you see it again, slowed down, that you see it’s a clear-cut penalty, but that’s not the reason we didn’t win.
It’s very much in our hands and we didn’t take those chances when they came. “We started really well and did well to maintain that throughout most of the game: created a number of clear-cut chances. “I’m very pleased with the team’s performance, very pleased with the team’s defensive shape. A first clean sheet of the season is a big moment for us so I have to cling to those positives but we’re desperately disappointed not to win.
“It’s a positive day, a very good performance, and if we continue to hit those levels we’ll be fine.” Howe’s opposite number Craig Shakespeare refused to say that Bournemouth had deserved a penalty from the incident, but acknowledging Leicester had performed poorly. “It was a hard call, it happened really quickly, there was not much movement from Danny’s arm. The referee made a quick decision and didn’t give a penalty.”
The hosts began with a belief and intensity that should have been rewarded with a goal. In only the third minute following a fine build-up, Josh King played Jermain Defoe through on goal from where the striker struck the underside of the crossbar.
When the rebound fell to Pugh, he had a near-open goal with visiting goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel out of position, but when his shot was blocked by Simpson’s outstretched hand his appeals for a penalty were ignored by referee Graham Scott. Regardless of their misfortune, Bournemouth consistently continued to threaten.
A well-timed through-ball from Junior Stanislas sent Defoe one-on-one until the chasing Wes Morgan impressively recovered and forced him to lay off to Pugh. The midfielder was again in shooting range, but this time connected poorly and sent his effort harmlessly wide of the left post.
If he had felt discouraged it did not show when he broke down the left wing and squared to King in space just inside the area, but the forward then struck wide of the right. Pugh had another chance approaching half-time when King ran down the right and, after Morgan unconvincingly attempted to clear the forward’s ball to Defoe, Pugh took possession and shot comfortably over.
With the first half finishing goalless there was already a suspicion the hosts had wasted their finest chance of victory by not building the lead they deserved, but the second proved similarly one-sided Howe has spoken of his belief his side are already in a battle for survival and on this quality of performance, there is little need for that to be case.
The finishing touch, however, was repeatedly missing in the final third and if that continues he will be proved right and they will struggle.
Bournemouth: Begovic, A Smith, Francis, Ake, Daniels, Stanislas (Fraser 88), L Cook, Surman, Pugh (Ibe 69), King, Defoe (Afobe 82). Subs not used: Boruc, S Cook, Gosling, Mousset.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton (Mahrez 75), King (Iborra 45), Ndidi, Gray, Okazaki (Iheanacho 69), Vardy. DSubs not used: Chilwell, Hamer, Amartey, Slimani. Referee: Graham Scott Attendance: 10,444