Bournemouth - Aston Villa ruined Bournemouth's first taste
of the Premier League as Benin striker Rudy Gestede marked his debut with the
late goal that sealed a 1-0 win at Dean Court on Saturday.
Playing in the top-flight for the first time in the club's
116-year history, Bournemouth's failure to turn their first half dominance into
goals led to a painful lesson in the harsh realities of the Premier League.
Tim Sherwood's Villa played the role of party-poopers to perfection
thanks to the second half header from Gestede, signed from Blackburn for £6m to
fill the significant void left by Belgium forward Christian Benteke's move to
Demoralised by their FA Cup final thrashing against Arsenal
in May, the mood at Villa was hardly lifted by the pre-season departures of
Benteke and Fabian Delph, who joined Manchester City, but this was the kind of
gritty display they will need to replicate on a regular basis to avoid a repeat
of last season's relegation battle.
It was a frustrating start to Premier League life for
Championship winners Bournemouth, who came close to going into liquidation on
three occasions in 2008 as the club languished in obscurity near the bottom of
English football's fourth tier.
Revitalised by the astute management of Eddie Howe and the
petrochemical fortune of Russian investor Maxim Demin, Bournemouth have
embarked on a fairytale journey to the top tier.
With a capacity of 11 700, Dean Court is by far the smallest
ground in the top-flight, but in the minutes before the long-awaited kick-off,
Bournemouth's cramped stadium was a vibrant sea of red as the arrival of the
Premier League energised the sleepy seaside town.
Marc Pugh had the hosts' first sight of goal when he headed
over and Dan Gosling wasted a golden opportunity when the Bournemouth
midfielder pounced on a loose ball, only to slam his shot over the crossbar
from 12 yards.
Sherwood hopes a lengthy list of signings, including four
from France's Ligue 1, would fill the gaping holes left by Benteke and Delph.
He gave starts to debutants Micah Richards, Jordan Amavi,
Jordan Veretout, Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Ayew, but they took some while to get
Another Bournemouth chance came and went when striker Callum
Wilson raced clear of Ciaran Clark and shot straight at Villa goalkeeper Brad
Pugh was also denied by Guzan late in the first half when
his strike was blocked by the American.
But Sherwood's halftime team-talk had the desired effect as
Villa produced a far more dynamic second half display.
Gueye was close to scoring on his debut when he met Gabriel
Agbonlahor's pull-back with a shot that drew a good save from Artur Boruc.
With Villa showing more intent, Sherwood sent on Gestede in
place of the disappointing Ayew and the 26-year-old was quick to threaten with
a volley just wide.
And Sherwood's switch paid dividends in the 72nd minute when
Gestede rose highest to power his header past Boruc.