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Bournemouth move top of Championship after Swansea stalemate

Swansea City v AFC Bournemouth – Sky Bet Championship – Liberty Stadium
(Image credit: David Davies)

Bournemouth moved top of the Championship table for 24 hours at least after a goalless draw against fellow high-fliers Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

The visitors hit the top on goal difference after making up the one-point difference to previous leaders Norwich, who host Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.

Swansea came into the game with the best defensive record in the Championship, but manager Steve Cooper had to deal with a mini-crisis with both Ryan Bennett and Marc Guehi both ruled out with injury.

It meant the home boss had to give Joel Latibeaudiere his first start and get Wales international Ben Cabango to police the dangerous Dominic Solanke.

Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall was pleased to have Junior Stanislas back in action as the only change from his side that won 4-0 at Barnsley last weekend.

The Cherries pressed hard from the start and kept possession for the opening two-and-a-half minutes of the match. Their early pressure saw Lewis Cook set-up Stanislas for the first shot of the night.

Swansea took their time to build into the game and seemed happy to sit back and rely on a defensive system that had already delivered eight clean sheets in 16 games.

Freddy Woodman was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half, but there were not too many nervous moments for him in the home goal.

Korey Smith picked up a yellow card in the 10th minute for a late change on David Brooks and moments later the Wales international sent Solanke racing in on the Swansea goal, but his left-footed shot went high over the crossbar from a good position.

Brooks was then almost gifted a goal by Woodman when he miscued a pass out of defence. Brooks picked it up, drove into the box and forced the home goalkeeper into a vital one-on-one save.

Swansea’s best chance of the half came when Jamal Lowe raced 30 metres from half-way before firing in a shot that forced Asmir Begovic to go down low to save.

Bournemouth, the second-highest scorers in the league, started the second half as they had begun the first with sustained attack and Stanislas had a golden chance to break the deadlock with a volley form just behind the penalty spot.

He swung his boot and missed the target by a considerable distance.

Swansea were better on the break in the second half and managed to release Yan Dhanda down the right. He skipped past Diego Rico and drove into the box, but his fierce shot hit the side-netting.

Rico picked up a yellow card for interfering with Dhanda before his shot and will now miss the next game as a result.

Philip Billing also followed him in the referee’s notebook for pulling back Dhanda.

Bournemouth thought they should have had a penalty when Brooks went down after cutting inside Latibeaudiere in the 71st minute, but the referee waved play on after taking a long, hard look.