Cook serves up winner as Bournemouth pull closer to safety

Date published: Saturday 12th March 2016 4:51

Steve Cook: Celebrates Bournemouth's winner

Steve Cook’s towering header 12 minutes from time earned Bournemouth a thrilling 3-2 win over Swansea to pull the Cherries ever closer to securing their place in the Premier League for another season.

The Cherries made it three wins in a row to move on to 38 points, 13 clear of the relegation zone, and surely guarantee another season in the top flight.

Goals from Max Gradel and Josh King twice put Bournemouth ahead, only for Modou Barrow and Gylfi Sigurdsson to peg them back.

But Swansea could not recover a third time after defender Cook nodded home with 12 minutes remaining.

The Swans, again without head coach Francesco Guidolin on the touchline as he recovers from a lung infection, should also be safe but an eight-point gap means there could yet be a few nervous weeks to come.

Bournemouth could have been three up after only 15 minutes but King headed Gradel’s cross over and then blazed too high from 15 yards.

Moments later the hosts were awarded a free-kick on the corner of the area and Andrew Surman’s shot came back off the post.

Max Gradel: Celebrates his goal for Bournemouth

The Cherries took a deserved lead after 37 minutes when Adam Smith burst down the right and drilled in a low cross.

Lukasz Fabianksi got a hand to it but could only parry the ball to the feet of Gradel, who crashed it back past him into the net.

It was Gradel’s first goal for Bournemouth and a sweet moment for the winger, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury in only his fourth game for the club and was sidelined for six months.

But within two minutes Swansea were level after Barrow was allowed to cut into the penalty area, tip-toe past a couple of half-hearted challenges and fire across Artur Boruc into the corner of the net.

Five minutes after the interval Bournemouth went back ahead after Leroy Fer gave the ball away in midfield.

Gradel charged forward before playing the ball through to King, who rifled it inside Fabianski’s near post for his fifth goal of the season.

Gylfi Sigurdsson: Celebrates Swansea's second at Bournemouth

However, Sigurdsson levelled again in the 62nd minute thanks to a fine run and cut-back from Barrow, the midfielder turning in the area and thumping the ball past Boruc for his seventh goal in 11 matches.

Swansea almost went ahead when another low cross from the impressive Barrow flew behind the Bournemouth back-line, but Boruc made a fine block from the lurking Alberto Paloschi.

Instead Bournemouth secured back-to-back home victories for the first time this season when Cook rose highest to meet Matt Ritchie’s cross and powered his header home.

‘We are staying up’ was the chant around Dean Court as the final whistle approached, and it certainly looks that way.

Opts stats

Bournemouth have won back-to-back Premier League home games for the first time.

Modou Barrow became the first Gambian to score a Premier League goal, meaning that 95 different nationalities have now netted in the Premier League.

Barrow was only the ninth different player (excl. OG’s) to score for Swansea in the Premier League this season; only Stoke (8) and Watford (7) have seen a lower spread of players score for them.

Mo Barrow has the squad number 58 for Swansea and only Kelechi Iheanacho (72) has scored in the Premier League this season with a higher squad number than the Gambian.

Max Gradel scored his first Premier League goal and his first in English league football since August 2011 (for Leeds).

Only Norwich City (0) have kept fewer clean sheets away from home this season than Swansea City (1).

Josh King scored in his second successive Premier League appearance and has as many goals in these two games (2) as he did in his first 21 PL apps this season for the Cherries (2).

Sergio Agüero (9) is the only player to have scored more Premier League goals in 2016 than Gylfi Sigurdsson (7).

Matt Ritchie now has 26 assists in league football for Bournemouth, 10 more than any other player at the club since he signed in January 2013.

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