Junior Stanislas scored the only goal of the game as Bournemouth shaded Stoke City in a low-key Championship encounter in the Potteries.
The Cherries midfielder raced clear down the inside-left channel late on to latch onto a superb Lewis Cook through ball before drawing Josef Bursik out and slipping a low left-foot shot under the Stoke keeper.
Striker Dominic Solanke had wasted a similar first-half chance when set free by another superb 60-yard lofted Cook pass.
The on-rushing Bursik did enough to distract him and, although the Cherries top scorer executed a neat right-foot chip over him on the run, he gave the ball too much flight and it clipped the bar before going over.
But Stanislas showed how it should be done with a 79th-minute winner that helped Bournemouth bounce back from the defeat at Brentford – their first in six games.
That lifted Jason Tindall’s side to third, keeping them within two points of second-placed Swansea City and six behind leaders Norwich City, with a game in hand on both.
Stoke, badly missing injured top scorer Tyrese Campbell, have dropped to eighth, two points outside the play-off zone, after failing to score for the fourth time in six games.
On a cold night at the Bet365 Stadium which had second-half snow flurries compared to the fog which shrouded Wednesday’s game against Nottingham Forest, it was another match dominated by two hard-working but overmanned midfields.
Nick Powell diverted Stoke’s best chance wide, a first-half header, but just when they looked set to suffer a sixth 0-0 draw this season, and fourth in seven games, Stanislas struck with the Cherries’ first effort on target.
They might have had a second but for Diego Rico’s shot being blocked before Stoke substitute Sam Vokes went close against his old club with the final effort of the game. Defeat left the Potters with one win in eight matches.
Both sides are now in FA Cup third-round action on Saturday, Stoke at home to Leicester, while Bournemouth go to Oldham.
The Cherries resume in the Championship at home to Millwall on 12 January, when they will have an opportunity to use up their game in hand and move into the top two.
- 36SouttarBooked at 90mins
- 12ChesterBooked at 58mins
- 14SmithSubstituted forVokesat 84′minutes
- 34ThompsonBooked at 57minsSubstituted forClucasat 69′minutes
- 11McCleanBooked at 73minsSubstituted forTymonat 84′minutes
- 21FletcherSubstituted forBrownat 25′minutes
- 40Nna Noukeu
- 15A SmithSubstituted forKingat 86′minutes
- 3S Cook
- 16L Cook
- 8LermaBooked at 90mins
- 14SurridgeSubstituted forBrooksat 71′minutes
Match ends, Stoke City 0, Bournemouth 1.
Second Half ends, Stoke City 0, Bournemouth 1.
Harry Souttar (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Harry Souttar (Stoke City).
Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Nathan Collins.
Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth) is shown the yellow card.
Nick Powell (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Lewis Cook (Bournemouth).
Sam Clucas (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth).
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jack Simpson.
Attempt missed. David Brooks (Bournemouth) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Lewis Cook.
Attempt blocked. Diego Rico (Bournemouth) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Cook.
Attempt blocked. Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dominic Solanke.
Substitution, Bournemouth. Joshua King replaces Adam Smith because of an injury.
Substitution, Stoke City. Josh Tymon replaces James McClean.
Substitution, Stoke City. Sam Vokes replaces Tommy Smith.
Foul by Jacob Brown (Stoke City).
Adam Smith (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.