April 20 (Reuters) – Relegated Fulham ruined Eddie Howe’s 500th game as a manager by beating Bournemouth 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday to secure their first away Premier League win of the season.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored the only goal from the penalty spot after 53 minutes after the striker had been brought down by a careless challenge from Jack Simpson.
The defender would never have been on the pitch had it not been for a bizarre series of injuries as Adam Smith was hurt in the warm-up and his replacement Junior Stanislaus went off after 23 minutes.
The Cherries still started strongly enough with Josh King side-footing over from close range after fine work from Ryan Fraser, who was also denied by a fine save from keeper Sergio Rico.
But the visitors showed great resilience to stay on level terms before showing more of a threat themselves with Denis Odoi’s header forcing a fine save from 39-year-old keeper Artur Boruc.
With Ryan Babel heading over when free on goal, the visitors continued to impress although Mitrovic was fortunate to stay on the pitch after clashing with Nathan Ake.
The result gave Fulham, who beat Everton last week, their first back-to-back Premier League wins since April 2014. I
Mitrovic paid tribute to Fulham’s long-suffering fans, who had seen them take just two points on the road all season.
“It was unbelievable; since we were relegated everywhere we go our stand is full — we have the best fans in the world, we really appreciate this,” said the striker.
“This season they were world class and deserve more. We need to keep fighting, playing for us, playing for them, for the club.
“We showed we can play in the Premier League. Of course we are really disappointed.”
(Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon)