Stevenage 2-2 AFC Bournemouth: Groves takes a point in first game in charge
AFC Bournemouth crept into the top half of League One with a hard-fought draw against Stevenage.
The second half failed to live up to the first period which saw four impressive strikes. Neither side could break the deadlock in the second half - meaning the points were shared at Broadhall Way.
Speaking to the Cherries' official website, new interim manager Paul Groves said: "I though the players application was fantastic, and particularly in the first half, we controlled the game. We made the home team change their shape, so it was a great effort from the lads."
Bournemouth in fact will be disappointed they did not take all three points, after taking a two-goal lead. After eighteen minutes Wes Thomas opened the scoring for the Cherries with a rocket after a good ball in from Harry Arter. Thomas' strike ends an 11-game streak without a goal.
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Although Thomas' opener was impressive, he was outdone by his team mate Scott Malone who unleashed a thunderous drive to put the Cherries in a comfortable position.
However, Stevenage found a way back into the game before the break. Former Arsenal striker Luke Freeman scored with another long-range effort, just two minutes after the home side fell two goals behind.
The hosts had all the momentum and the ambitious finishing was not over as Stevenage equalised before the break. Michael Bostwick hit a low volley, with Darryl Flahavan rooted to the spot to tie up the scores and set up a mouth-watering second half.
However, neither side could find a third goal in a frustrating second period. The Boro created the first real opening when Flahavan was forced to make a fine save to deny Lawrie Wilson.
Thomas had a good opportunity to hand Groves a win in his first game in charge, but he could only direct his header straight at Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day.
It took some desperate defending in the closing stages for the Cherries to hang onto a point. Miles Addison and Marc Pugh put in last-ditch challenges to prevent the home side stealing all three points.
Cherries captain Adam Barrett returned to the squad after injury, but did not feature during the game. Groves will take charge at Dean Court for the first time against Yeovil Town on Saturday.