By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
Nathan Ake scored at the death to dent Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League hopes, who were reduced to nine men on a dramatic afternoon at Vitality Stadium.
The game looked to be heading for a stalemate, after debutant Mark Travers had made a string of excellent saves to deny the visitors and referee Craig Pawson had dismissed Son Heung-min just before the interval and substitute Juan Foyth, following the restart.
However, Ake pounced from Ryan Fraser’s corner to head home the Bournemouth winner and spark wild celebrations inside Vitality Stadium.
The victory for Bournemouth was their first against Spurs in eight attempts, with six defeats and a draw prior to this.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe sprung a surprise with his team selection, handing 19-year-old goalkeeper Travers his debut with Artur Boruc dropping to the bench. Ryan Fraser, Jordon Ibe and Adam Smith also returned.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino might have been forgiven for having one eye on Wednesday’s crunch Champions League second leg with Ajax, however his selection was at full strength with Son, Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko all coming in.
It was almost a nightmare start for the debutant Travers, with Lucas Moura spotting him off his line and attempted to beat him from the half way line, however his shot went just wide much to his relief and the home contingent inside Vitality Stadium.
Fraser had Bournemouth’s first meaningful effort winning a free kick following a driving run. The Scot stepped up himself, curling the free kick just wide of Hugo Lloris’ near post.
The visitors looked to test Travers from range, yet the youngster more than proved his worth palming away Dele Alli’s fierce effort behind for a corner.
The 19-year-old was called into action minutes later and had to be at his very best to tip over Lucas Moura’s powerful strike, after the Brazilian had raced onto the ball ahead of Jack Simpson.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure, with Moura finding himself unmarked in the Cherries box however Travers was on hand, saving the resulting attempt with his feet.
Spurs almost found the breakthrough minutes later, with Danny Rose’s cross finding Dele Alli unmarked in the box but Travers was at full stretch to palm the effort over the crossbar.
With the game approaching the interval, the home side had two credible shouts for a penalty.
Hugo Llloris raced out of his goal to halt the onrushing Josh King and appeared to make contact with the Norwegian but referee Craig Pawson waved away the appeals and instead pointed for a corner.
The Cherries claims for a penalty increased a decibel when Eric Dier swiped down Callum Wilson in the box, but once again the referee waved away the accusations much to the dismay of the home supporters.
The visitors picked up the first of their two red cards just a minute before the break, following a moment of madness from Son Heung-min.
The South Korean brought down Fraser, before shoving Jefferson Lerma off the ball in the aftermath with referee Craig Pawson handing him a straight red.
The Cherries almost capitalised in first half injury time, with Ake uncharacteristically heading a free header straight at Lloris, as the referee brought an eventful first period to a close.
Mauricio Pochettino made a double change at half time, bringing on Juan Foyth and Victor Wanyama on in place of Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier respectively, with both players already booked.
However, the substitution of Foyth could not have been any less effective with the Argentinian handed a straight red just two minutes after coming on for a lunge on Jack Simpson, reducing the visitors to nine men.
The visitors attempted to re-group and dropped substitute Wanyama to centre-half to partner Davinson Sanchez.
With the North Londoners reduced to nine men, the Cherries began to step on the gas but were lacking a real clinical edge.
Callum Wilson and Nathaniel Clyne both wasted opportunities in the box, with the latter firing wide in space.
Jordon Ibe forced Lloris into a smart save, with the Frenchman at full stretch to palm away the winger’s fierce strike.
Eddie Howe made his one and only substitution, throwing Lys Mousset on in place of Jordon Ibe and the Frenchman had a glorious chance almost immediately sending a free header straight into Lloris’ grasp.
With the game heading towards a stalemate, the home side had the final say.
Nathan Ake pounced highest to head home Ryan Fraser’s corner in stoppage time, sparking wild scenes from the home faithful and confirming a dramatic victory.
The result still leaves Tottenham in pole position to finish in the top four in third on 70 points, whilst Bournemouth remain on course for their highest ever points tally in 12th on 45 points.