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Bournemouth 2-0 Fulham Cham 23 1415 GetWestLondon

last updated Monday 29th December 2014, 6:22 PM
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Matt Lewis at GetWestLondon

Bournemouth (1) 2-0 (0)Fulham

Slow-starting Fulham were unable to topple Championship leaders AFC Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

There was no Christmas cheer for the Whites at Goldsands as Brett Pitman's goal proved the difference and the striker could even afford to miss a second-half penalty before Harry Arter wrapped up the points in stoppage time.

Kit Symons decided not to tinker with the team that thrashed Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend and named an unchanged starting XI and bench.

Bournemouth have been sensational so far this season and showed why they are the team to beat in this division in the early stages.

It took Eddie Howe's side just nine minutes to break the deadlock as Matt Ritchie whipped in a corner from the far side and an unchallenged Brett Pitman headed it home.

Marcus Bettinelli kept it at 1-0 with a wonderful double save on the half-hour mark when he beat out a Ritchie free-kick and then blocked Callum Wilson's follow-up effort.

Fulham never tested the Cherries' on-loan Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc in a disappointing opening 45 minutes from the visitors.

Disaster looked to have struck almost immediately after the restart.

Wilson's pace and trickery in the box gave the Whites defence nightmares and Jack Grimmer was adjudged to have felled the forward.

Pitman stepped up to take the penalty, drilled it right down the middle, however Bettinelli stood his ground and pushed it away to keep the visitors in the game.

That miss was just what Symons' team needed - had that gone in Pitman would have been chasing a hat-trick and the table toppers would have surely coasted to victory.

Instead it swung the momentum towards the away side and Seko Fofana and Scott Parker both shot wide as Fulham began to wake up in the cold sea air on the south coast.

But the Cherries are not top of the pile for no reason and remained organised and disciplined to frustrate the visitors as they chased that elusive equaliser.

It never came, despite Symons making all three substitutions in search of a share of the spoils, and Arter put the result beyond doubt with his fourth goal in as many games.

The result meant Bournemouth returned to the top after being briefly replaced by Ipswich earlier in the day.

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