Christie seals Bournemouth comeback to condemn Leicester to another defeat

Bournemouth fell behind early on but recovered to beat struggling Leicester 2-1 and pile the pressure on Brendan Rodgers

For Bournemouth, there was a prospective new owner in town, the Las Vegas-based billionaire Bill Foley, and a touch of razzmatazz to match as two goals in four second-half minutes secured a comeback victory against a lackadaisical Leicester that gives little credence to the suggestion by Brendan Rodgers only a matter of days ago that his struggling side had turned a corner.

For Leicester, this display was a pale imitation of the demolition of Nottingham Forest on Monday, a result that Rodgers had stressed his players needed to back up with another win here. Instead familiar failings resurfaced and Rodgers was left thumping his thighs in frustration as Philip Billing and Ryan Christie rendered Patson Daka’s opener redundant as his side crumbled to a defeat that leaves them in the relegation zone and, in effect, back at square one.

By the end the home support invited Foley, whose wife, Carol, was wearing a Bournemouth shirt, to send them a wave from the directors’ box but the mood was decidedly more sombre among those of a Leicester persuasion.

Just as the pressure had diminished on Rodgers, suddenly successive home games against Crystal Palace and Leeds loom large in terms of their significance. Leicester’s owners decided during the international break to give Rodgers a chance to turn things around but they will act if relegation becomes a distinct possibility. Asked whether this result damages the impact of victory against Forest, Rodgers replied: “No, it doesn’t. There has been a definite mood change, that’s for sure, but when you look purely at the result and where we’re sat in the league then of course it looks like we’re in a difficult moment. We have got in front, we’re in control but this is a league where you can never get too comfortable and that’s something we have to learn from.”

Bournemouth, meanwhile, remain unbeaten since Gary O’Neil took interim charge at the end of August, an impressive run of two wins and three draws. Foley, who will become the new chairman, flew in to attend his first Bournemouth game. Providing the 77-year-old passes the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test, his £120m takeover is expected to be ratified by the end of the month, ending the Russian-British businessman Maxim Demin’s 11-year reign.

Foley, who watched training on Thursday, plans to explore building a new stadium and invest in the squad in January. “I hope he [Foley] enjoyed it,” O’Neil said. “He popped into the changing room at the end to see the boys to say ‘well done’. There is a big belief in the group.”

Patson Daka celebrates with James Maddison after his early strike put Leicester ahead
Patson Daka (right) celebrates with James Maddison after his early strike put Leicester ahead. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

When Daka, preferred to Jamie Vardy in attack, swivelled and finished on 10 minutes Rodgers could be forgiven for thinking his side would put their foot down on the accelerator but instead they regressed.

Wout Faes, Leicester’s only outfield summer signing, misjudged a bouncing ball and Dominic Solanke bounded towards goal. Faes did enough to block Solanke’s tame effort but was powerless to prevent Billing lashing in on the volley. Afterwards Rodgers bemoaned a tangible anxiety in his players and, for the fifth time this season, they allowed their lead to slip.

Bournemouth’s equaliser came seconds after Rodgers made a double substitution, introducing Vardy presumably with the hope of putting the game to bed – but how things unravelled, as more slack defending allowed Solanke to nod down for Christie to convert from close range.

Leicester, who have kept one clean sheet on the road in the league in 31 attempts, were susceptible at the back and they have lost all five away games this season, conceding 19 goals. Bournemouth thought they had a third in second-half stoppage time courtesy of the substitute Jaidon Anthony but the goal was disallowed for offside. Leicester have lost seven of their past eight league matches and the sullen looks on supporters were understandable as they headed home.

As Bournemouth begin to look towards an exciting new era, Leicester are entrenched in a battle they did not envisage. “Clearly we come off of it [in games],” Rodgers said. “It’s something we have to be better at managing. We were too safe, too happy to play it backwards in the second half. You have to stay aggressive. The job is not done until the final whistle goes.”


Ben Fisher at the Vitality Stadium

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