Dominic Solanke scored twice as Bournemouth staged an incredible second-half fightback to beat their promotion rivals Reading 4-2. The Royals looked to be cruising at half-time after Lucas João’s early penalty and a rare Sone Aluko goal had put them 2-0 in front. Solanke’s double coupled with an Arnaut Danjuma effort and a a superb Lewis Cook goal enabled Bournemouth to leapfrog Reading at the top of the Championship table.
Bournemouth were without Josh King after the striker tested positive for coronavirus during international duty with Norway but their captain, Steve Cook, returned from a ban. Reading were boosted by the return of their skipper, Liam Moore, from injury and came storming out of the starting blocks.
Alfa Semedo’s jinking run on the byline drew a foul from Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and João calmly scored from the penalty spot after only four minutes.
João could have doubled Reading’s lead soon afterwards when he got on the end of Semedo’s drilled cross but could only guide his header wide of the far post with Begovic beaten.
It took until the 18th minute for Bournemouth to call the Reading goalkeeper, Rafael Cabral, into action. David Brooks, who scored for Wales against the Republic of Ireland during the international break, fizzed a low shot goalwards from just inside the penalty area and Rafael did well to fling himself to his right and turn it behind for a corner.
Reading continued to soak up Bournemouth pressure and posed a threat on the counterattack. Their patient approach paid off two minutes before half-time when Aluko pounced to make it 2-0. The former Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria rolled the perfect pass into the feet of Aluko and he side-footed coolly past a despairing Begovic and into the bottom corner. It was Aluko’s first goal since January 2019 and only his second in 44 appearances.
Bournemouth were back in the game 11 minutes after the break when Solanke thundered his shot into the roof of the net from Junior Stanislas’ teasing low cross. Brooks then played in Danjuma to make it 2-2 just three minutes later with a cleverly disguised pass.
Lewis Cook completed the turnaround with a stunning 25-yard effort that fizzed into the top corner with 13 minutes remaining.
Reading thought they had equalised when João’s header from a corner clattered off the inside of the post and Begovic somehow managed to claw it off the line. Solanke sealed the points in the 89th minute with a composed finish from the edge of the penalty area after dispossessing the hapless Rafael.
There was still time for Begovic to make another superb save to deny the Reading substitute Michael Olise as the Royals crashed to a fourth straight defeat.