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Bournemouth climb to top of Championship table with narrow victory over Luton

AFC Bournemouth v Luton Town – Sky Bet Championship – Vitality Stadium
(Image credit: Steven Paston)

Bournemouth climbed to the top of the Championship with a 2-1 victory over Luton as the Cherries continued their unbeaten start to the season.

First-half goals from Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke proved enough for Scott Parker’s side, despite Reece Burke pulling one back in the second half.

With West Brom having played on Friday evening, Bournemouth had the chance to pass them with a win over Nathan Jones’ side.

Parker named an unchanged side from the one which went to Cardiff and won last weekend, with the likes of David Brooks and Emiliano forced to settle for a place on the bench.

It was Luton who threatened first with Elijah Adebayo having two excellent chances to put the Hatters in front after a quarter of an hour.

The first came as Harry Cornick burst down the right and squared the ball to Adebayo who somehow managed to miss an open goal as the ball deflected from one foot onto the other.

Moments later, the powerful forward charged down an attempted clearance from Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers who was glad to see the rebound run kindly for him.

Parker released Adebayo when manager of Fulham so the 23-year-old will have been especially frustrated not to have made his mark.

He would soon regret those misses with Bournemouth taking the lead just a minute later.

A clever move involving Solanke and Jefferson Lerma saw Ryan Christie deftly lob the ball into the path of Billing who scored with a side-foot volley.

Parker’s side were in cruise control as they doubled their lead after half an hour. Christie was once more the architect, chipping the ball up invitingly for Solanke who planted a header down into the corner.

They might have been three up by half-time had Lerma capitalised on a slip from Luton keeper Simon Sluga – the Colombian could only drag his shot wide.

There were a few signs of a fightback from Luton at the beginning of the second half. Travers saved well for Bournemouth after Henri Lansbury’s whipped free-kick was diverted towards his own goal by Adam Smith.

They gained a foothold in the game when Luke Berry got down the right flank and slid the ball across for Burke to bundle it over the line via Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly.

Luton’s spirit was admirable and Jones was roaring his players on relentlessly from the technical area.

But Bournemouth seem to have discovered a real resilience under Parker and remain unbeaten in the Championship so far this season.