Soccer-Watkins heads late equaliser as Aston Villa draw 2-2 with Bournemouth

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth v Aston Villa - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - December 3, 2023 Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

BOURNEMOUTH, England (Reuters) -A late goal from Ollie Watkins grabbed a point for Aston Villa in a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth after a pulsating, end-to-end Premier League clash on Sunday.

Bournemouth took the lead in the 10th minute when Antoine Semenyo netted his third goal of the season, and he could have had a second six minutes later, but Villa keeper Emi Martinez was able to turn away his shot form a tight angle.

Semenyo was then booked for dissent in the 17th minute and three minutes later Villa were level as Leon Bailey jinked inside Milos Kerkez before lashing the ball across Neto and in at the far post.

Semenyo somehow avoided a second yellow card despite a blatant shirt-pull a minute later, and Villa's misery was compounded when the goal they thought they had scored form the subsequent free kick was chalked off after a VAR review found Lucas Digne had been offside.

Striker Dominic Solanke put the home side ahead again seven minutes into the second half, latching on to a square from Kerkez and turning brilliantly before firing home.

Both sides continued to attack and Villa, who had been kept in the game by some fine saves by Martinez, came closest to scoring with a deflected shot from Jhon Duran that hit the post in the 72nd minute.

With the clock ticking up towards 90 minutes Watkins finally got the equaliser his side so richly deserved, twisting his body to steer home a brilliant header to take a share of the points.

The result keeps Villa in fourth place in the table on 29 points after 14 games, while the Cherries remain above the relegation zone in 16th spot on 13 points.

"We are very happy with the performance of the team, we had the better of the game and had many chances but we finish with one point. We cannot be happy with the point," Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola said in a post-match TV interview.

Villa goal-scorer Watkins was a lot happier with the point that he secured for his side.

"It was important that we came away with something - we didn't create too much in the second half, but we didn't make the most of it in the first half when it was wide open," he told the BBC.

"Our away form hasn't been up to standard and we know that, it's tough playing every few days but it's what we are here to do," he added.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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