Bournemouth tighten title grip

Date published: Tuesday 14th April 2015 9:06

Victory, which at least guaranteed them a play-off spot, was secured by a goal from the prolific Callum Wilson. Andrew Surman struck an upright from long range and Wilson tucked in the rebound.

Bournemouth entered their 50th match of the season on an unbeaten run of nine games. The leading marksmen in England’s four divisions, with 89 goals prior to kick off, had scored 22 in their past eight fixtures.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe fielded a strong side, as expected, in an attempt to secure a vital win in the Championship title race.

Reading boss Steve Clarke did likewise, which was surprising considering his team’s FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday.

Before the quarter-final replay against Bradford, Clarke made nine changes to his starting XI – and lost 4-1 at Watford.

Bournemouth made the slicker start and were ahead in the fourth minute when Surman took aim from 20 yards and struck the base of Adam Federici’s left-hand post.

The Reading defenders stood still and Wilson was able to guide in his 22nd goal of the season – and Bournemouth’s 90th. In only four matches in all competitions this season have they failed to score.

Reading responded positively and almost equalised in the 17th minute.

Hal Robson-Kanu slung over a cross from the left and Jamie Mackie toe-poked a volley at Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who made a magnificent point-blank save.

The home side went close again soon after.

Nathianiel Chalobah nodded Jordan Obita’s corner firmly at the far post, but the effort was blocked.

Chalobah then returned the compliment, setting up Obita, but the left winger blazed his shot over Boruc’s crossbar.

Reading, with only two wins in their past 12 matches, kept up the momentum, with Robson-Kanu driving a shot over.

However, Bournemouth finally regained their momentum approaching half-time, with Charlie Daniels shooting wide and Yann Kermorgant nodding off-target from a Marc Pugh cross.

Bournemouth worked hard to re-establish themselves early in the second half, mainly through the midfield graft of Surman and Harry Arter. Their efforts were appreciated by the 4,259 travelling fans.

Matt Ritchie tried his luck from distance with a curling 20-yard attempt, but, with Federici well beaten, it drifted just over the bar.

Reading centre-back Michael Hector was fortunate to escape a second yellow card near the end for a clumsy foul on Wilson. A dismissal would have ruled him out of the trip to Wembley.

Bournemouth had to hold on in the closing stages after a frantic Reading rally, but did so without any major scares.

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