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Bournemouth 2-0 Fulham Cham 23 1415 BournemouthEcho

last updated Monday 29th December 2014, 6:29 PM

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Neil Perrett at Bournemouth Echo

Bournemouth (1) 2-0 (0)Fulham

GOALS from Brett Pitman and Harry Arter helped Cherries write another chapter in the Dean Court record books thanks to a deserved Boxing Day victory over Fulham.

The win saw Eddie Howe's team return to the top of the Championship as Cherries registered 45 or more points at the halfway stage of a season for only the fifth time in their history.

It also saw them maintain their impressive sequence of having beaten every relegated Premier League team at home since they returned to the Championship 18 months ago.

Were you at the game? See all of our pictures here.

Pitman's ninth-minute header, his eighth goal of the season, paved the way for Cherries to extend to 13 matches their unbeaten run in the Championship.

The striker marked his 250th league appearance for the club by opening the scoring from a Matt Ritchie corner.

Pitman then saw his 50th minute penalty saved by Marcus Bettinelli after Callum Wilson had been fouled by Jack Grimmer.

And after Cherries had held firm at the back, Arter capped a deserved win when he doubled their lead with an unstoppable drive in added time.

Cherries boss Howe was able to name an unchanged starting line-up for the fourth league game in succession and their knack of scoring early almost came to fruition when a break after just 25 seconds went close to them making the breakthrough.

But after Callum Wilson had wriggled free, his driven cross deflected into the arms of Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Pitman lifted a presentable chance over the crossbar following an incisive move involving Harry Arter and Charlie Daniels in the seventh minute.

And as Cherries continued to create, Wilson's close-range effort from a Simon Francis's cut-back struck a defender and flew past the post for a corner.

From the resultant flag-kick, Ritchie's delivery was met by Pitman, the Jerseyman timing his run to perfection and glancing the ball past Bettinelli at the goalkeeper's near post.

Cherries were convinced they had won a penalty after Pugh had been shoved by Lasse Vigen Christensen, only for the winger to have strayed offside.

Wilson's snapshot hit Seko Fofana before nestling in Bettinelli's hands before a tremendous double save from the Fulham goalkeeper prevented Cherries from adding a second.

Firstly, he got down smartly to his left to parry Ritchie's blistering strike following a short free-kick from Andrew Surman.

And after Wilson had seized on the loose ball, Bettinelli reacted quickly to snaffle his effort from a tight angle with Pitman lurking inside the six-yard box.

Arter squandered a glorious chance to test Bettinelli when he blazed over the crossbar with a free hit following excellent build-up play between Pugh and Daniels.

Artur Boruc did well to pouch a swirling cross from Konstantinos Stafylidis at the start of the second half before two Fulham players contrived to miss Ross McCormack's cross-shot.

Cherries were handed an opportunity to double their lead when referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot after Wilson had been sent sprawling by a Jack Grimmer challenge.

But Bettinelli guessed correctly and pulled off a fine save to keep out Pitman's penalty five minutes after the break.

As Fulham looked to capitalise, Fofana's side-footed effort failed to trouble Boruc before Scott Parker's 20-yarder was touched wide by Surman.

A flurry of corners came to nothing as Cherries briefly took the sting out of Fulham's threat, while a Pitman header from a Francis centre flashed past the upright.

Bettinelli clutched Ritchie's shot, which skidded along a greasy surface, before the winger's first-time effort following a corner flew past the post.

Ritchie was then the architect of a chance for Marc Pugh, but after picking out his team-mate at the far post, the Lancastrian's shot went straight down Bettinelli's throat.

Cherries had their hearts in their mouths after George Williams had gone to ground inside the penalty area but the Fulham man was booked for diving.

Arter put the finishing touches to the victory when he strode forward in added time and unleashed a low left-footed drive past Bettinelli from the edge of the box.

Cherries: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Smith, 90), Arter, Surman, Pugh, Wilson (Kermorgant, 90), Pitman (Gosling, 85).
Unused subs: Fraser, O'Kane, Cargill, Camp (g/k).

Booked: Wilson, Gosling.

Fulham: Bettinelli, Grimmer, Hutchinson, Bodurov, Stafylidis, Parker, Ruiz (Roberts, 79), Fofana, Christensen (Williams, 66), Rodallega (Woodrow, 87), McCormack.
Unused subs: Zverotic, Hyndman, Burn, Kiraly (g/k).

Booked: Williams.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

Attendance: 10,926 (including 1,382 away supporters).

AFC Bournemouth's top five record points hauls at the halfway stage of the season: 1971-72 (46*), 2009-10 (46), 1968-69 (45*), 1973-74 (45*), 2014-15 (45). *Tallies include two points for a win counted as three.

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