Marcus Tavernier earns Bournemouth crucial win at Wolves
Marcus Tavernier marked his return from injury with a winner off his thigh as Bournemouth snatched a vital 1-0 victory in their relegation battle with Wolves.
The midfielder, who was making his first start since November, flicked in Dominic Solanke’s cross in the 49th minute at Molineux to end the Cherries’ long winless run.
It was the south-coast club’s first league triumph since the World Cup break and their first since confirming Gary O’Neil as full-time manager in November.
Tavernier’s goal was also only their third in that time and, while there was an element of fortune about it, there was no denying its value.
Until then Wolves, seeking a third successive win, had been the brighter side but, while the contest was an open one, there was a distinct lack of quality in front of goal.
In Adama Traore, Wolves did have a player capable of troubling the Bournemouth defence on a regular basis but chances were few and far between.
Matheus Cunha had an early Wolves penalty appeal rejected after apparently minimal contact from Jefferson Lerma before the Bournemouth defence scrambled clear when Neto fumbled a corner.
Traore excited the crowd when he retrieved a seemingly lost cause on the touchline to get in a cross but it came to nothing. The Spaniard then made a lung-bursting run from deep only to be crudely hauled down by Philip Billing.
Pablo Sarabia had the best chance of the first half when he forced Neto into a save although Hamed Traore almost caught home keeper Jose Sa out with a corner that curled and appeared to clip the outside of the post.
Wolves hoped to step it up after the break but they were caught out as Solanke burst into the box and drove the ball across goal. Tavernier was in the right place and stuck out his leg to divert it in.
The hosts responded positively but continued to struggle in the final third.
When Traore finally did create a clear-cut chance by laying off for Cunha, Jack Stephens slid in to make a brave block.
A neat move ended with Ruben Neves shooting well over and Neto palmed over a Craig Dawson header from a corner.
Wolves sent on Diego Costa and Raul Jimenez as they pushed to the end but to no avail.
Neves did threaten when he struck a sweet long-range volley in stoppage time but Neto saved and Bournemouth held on.