Football - Howe rues Grabban absence

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was left to rue the absence of top-scorer Lewis Grabban who missed their 1-1 draw with Brighton through illness.

PA Sport Report

Matt Ritchie marked his first start of the season with the opening goal but Ashley Barnes' stunner earned the visitors a point and means Bournemouth will enter December without a win from the previous month.

Bournemouth had the clearer of the chances in the match and Brett Pitman should have scored just prior to Barnes' leveller when played clear by Ritchie but Tomasz Kuszczak rushed from his line to deny Pitman from 15 yards.

Kuszczak also had to scramble the ball off the line as Ritchie almost doubled his tally in the first half from Ryan Fraser's dangerous left-wing cross.

"Whenever you are without your best players you miss them, especially when you have a squad that is quite small without Championship experience," said Howe.

Howe was, however, delighted to see his key man Ritchie back at his best.

"He surprised me not in terms of his performance because in training he has been absolutely electric but in terms of his fitness levels. To be able to play 90 minutes surprised me," Howe said.

"It was a great time to score and he is a real threat from set-plays."

Howe said of Brighton's equaliser: "We always needed a second goal. We did not front screen the striker from the throw-in, which is disappointing from our point of view, but it is a great goal, so credit to him.

"I felt the positive was that we did look like we were going to score and in the previous home games we had struggled to break teams down."

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