VAR was the subject of controversy in the New Forest derby as Southampton pushed Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth to the brink of relegation with a 2-0 win at the Vitality Stadium.
Sam Surridge thought he had equalised with his first Premier League goal in the 94th minute, but Callum Wilson was adjudged to be in an offside position in the build-up.
Danny Ings’ 21st goal of the season and a 98th minute strike from Che Adams sealed all three points from the Saints in their penultimate game of the season to consolidate their incredible away form this season: only champions Liverpool have secured more points away from home than Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side.
Bournemouth dominated proceedings early on, and were rewarded shortly before half-time when Winchester-born Ings took a fine shot from just outside the penalty area to take the lead.
Ings had the chance to double the Saints’ lead and put the game out of reach for the Cherries when Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson handled the ball in the box. Referee Craig Pawson pointed straight to the spot, but it was an easy save for Aaron Ramsdale as Ings’ penalty was weak. Scoring would have taken the former Liverpool striker to within one goal of Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.
Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy – who has had some fantastic games since the restart – produced some brilliant saves in the second half to keep the Cherries out in their desperate fight for a point in this derby game and he was finally breached in the 94th minute, when substitute Sam Surridge struck his first goal of the season. VAR, though, intervened and, with Callum Wilson offside, Eddie Howe’s side were still 1-0 down deep into stoppage time with this goal ruled out.
Che Adams’ last-minute strike wrapped up all three points and means Eddie Howe’s side could be relegated without playing another minute of football – a point for managerless Watford at home to Manchester City will relegate the Cherries. Indeed Bournemouth’s slim chances of staying up require Watford to lose both their final games – including a final day trip across north London to the Emirates to face FA Cup finalists Arsenal – and a win for Howe’s side at Everton which swings their goal difference enough to keep them up.
The Premier League season ends on Sunday, with all final day games kicking off at 4pm.
Ralph Hassenhuttl’s Southampton – on their longest unbeaten run since 2016 – are up to 11th in the table. They can not finish any higher, but Sunday’s game at home to Sheffield United will give them a chance to end the season on a high.
Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Stacey, S. Cook, Kelly, Rico, Brooks (H. Wilson 45′), Billing (booked) (Gosling 87′), Stanislas (Solanke 70′), Lerma (Surridge 82′), King (L. Cook 69′ (booked)), C. Wilson. Unused Subs: Boruc, Surman, Danjuma, Simpson.
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Vestergaard (booked), Bertrand, Ward-Prowse (booked), Romeu (Hojberg 77′), Redmond, Armstrong, Long (Adams 66′), Ings (Obafemi 90’+4′). Unused Subs: Smallbone, Gunn, Vokins, Danso, Valery, Ferry.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Alex McCarthy (Southampton)
Referee: Craig Pawson.