Harry Wilson and Alex Smithies earned the praise of Cardiff manager Neil Harris after the Bluebirds came from behind to earn a 1-1 Championship draw with Bournemouth.
On his first start Cardiff start, Liverpool loanee and former Cherries man Wilson cancelled out Dominic Solanke’s opener for the visitors on a drizzly night in the Welsh capital.
But the key moment came when, with Bournemouth 1-0 up, home goalkeeper Smithies produced an outstanding save to deny Solanke from doubling his tally. before Wilson promptly equalised at the other end.
“You saw two really good teams and a point was fair,” said Harris. “It was toe-to-toe in the second half particularly. Credit to my players for coming back.
“Harry showed his class and quality and you can talk about his free-kicks and creativity, but it’s what he does without the ball as well which is important. I thought he was excellent.
“It was a great, great save from Alex. You need your goalkeeper against the best sides and Alex showed he’s up there with the best in the league.
“I think any team which finishes above Bournemouth will be promoted. They have pace and power with the ball. They are a good side, but we will get better.
“We had to dig in and show resilience and we have to back it up against Middlesbrough on Saturday.”
Bournemouth took control and deservedly moved ahead when Solanke tapped in from Jack Stacey’s cross.
Wilson was Cardiff’s bright spark, but Bournemouth should have been out of sight through Junior Stanislas and Solanke in the second half.
Smithies worked wonders when he somehow got something on Solanke’s attempted finish which deflected on to the bar.
Wilson then hit the woodwork with a trademark free-kick before the Wales international – who joined Cardiff on deadline day – equalised with a low finish from Junior Hoilett’s ball.
Stanislas hit the bar with a set-piece effort of his own which left Smithies motionless and Solanke missed a sitter of a header as the two sides shared the spoils in an entertaining game.
Bournemouth boss Jason Tindall said: “I’m disappointed we have come away with only a point because I felt we deserved all three. We should really have scored three or four goals.
“The save their keeper made was outstanding so full credit to him. We limited Cardiff – who are a very good side – to very few chances in the game, but we know all about Harry.
“If you give him room from that kind of distance, then nine times out of 10 the ball will end up in the back of the net. We have played well, but I know we can get much better.”
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