Harry Arter slipped and blazed a late penalty high over the bar as Bournemouth and Southampton played out an uninspiring goalless draw at St Mary’s.
After they had resisted much of the hosts’ pressure, Arter struck well over the crossbar when he could have secured all three points and further eased the fading threat of relegation.
A draw instead leaves Bournemouth 11th in the Premier League and level on 34 points with their 10th-placed rivals, who have two games in hand. They also sit seven points clear of the bottom three.
Following a week in which Southampton’s Dusan Tadic had complained about the frequency with which Claude Puel substitutes him and his manager had responded by telling him to respond on the pitch, the midfielder was gifted the game’s first chance.
He found himself with time and space to run into at the edge of the area in the fourth minute, but despite being well positioned the Serbian sent his left-footed shot both high and wide.
Bournemouth’s Dan Gosling shot over the crossbar from similar territory in the 29th minute after goalkeeper Fraser Forster’s unconvincing punched clearance.
Shortly afterwards, Southampton’s Steven Davis was then forced into clearing off the line after Andrew Surman touched Ryan Fraser’s right-wing corner beyond Forster, and from that point each team provided a regular threat.
Typically promising build-up play on the right wing between James Ward-Prowse and Cedric created space for the latter to cross to Tadic, and after Jay Rodriguez dummied, the midfielder curled just wide of the left post.
Tadic then played a classy ball over the top of Bournemouth’s defence towards Rodriguez, from where the forward took advantage of the kind bounce to shoot towards the top right corner. The diving Artur Boruc tipped the ball away.
Rodriguez had scored twice at Bournemouth in a 3-1 away victory in December, in perhaps his finest performance since injury disrupted his career in 2014. Here he remained an energetic presence, but the focal point and natural goal threat regularly provided by the injured Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini was sorely missed.
In the 61st minute, the visitors’ in-form Joshua King played Benik Afobe directly through on goal from where he seemed certain to score, but despite time and space he shot just inches wide.
Nathan Redmond responded by running through midfield and testing Boruc with a long-range strike, before Ward-Prowse sent the rebound wide as a goal continued to elude Southampton.
Puel responded by replacing Rodriguez and Ward-Prowse with Sofiane Boufal and Shane Long almost immediately afterwards, and the latter soon threatened when shooting just wide after another Tadic through-ball.
Bournemouth replaced King with Jack Wilshere, before striking the post when Adam Smith’s shot from the edge of the area took a subtle deflection off Ryan Bertrand.
In the 78th minute, Bertrand seemed unfortunate to be penalised when referee Jonathan Moss awarded the visitors a penalty once Fraser went down in the area after slight contact off the ball.
The stage was set for a Bournemouth victory in what was Southampton’s first match at St Mary’s in almost two months.
But Arter – much like David Beckham for England against Portugal at Euro 2004 – seemed unsteady on his feet and instead shot embarrassingly over the crossbar.