BOURNEMOUTH manager Eddie Howe believed his team were denied a winner by referee Fred Graham’s decision when leading scorer Lewis Grabban seized on a goalkeeping error in the goalless draw with Middlesbrough at Dean Court.
Grabban appeared to dispossess Boro keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos as they competed for the ball on the edge of the penalty area.
Konstantopoulos seemed to lose control and Grabban drove his shot into the vacant net for what could have been the winner, only to see a foul called.
Howe said: “I did not think the keeper had the ball in his hands. Grabbs had every right to go for it and I have to say I am disappointed with the decision of the referee for disallowing it.
“We did everything we could to win that game. Middlesbrough were dogged opponents that didn’t come out their shells, as their recent record shows in terms of defensive performances.”
Middlesbrough left the south coast with a concern about pacy winger Mustapha Carayol, who was taken off on a stretcher after tripping over the ball in the dying minutes in a challenge with Bournemouth left-back Ian Harte.
Middlesbrough’s draw was their fourth without a goal in six matches, and their 11th clean sheet in the last 16 league fixtures.
In a match of few chances the best opportunities fell to Bournemouth.
Konstantopoulos made two outstanding saves in the second half, flying to his right on both occasions to keep out shots from Simon Francis and Andrew Surman.
Middlesbrough’s best chance fell to Lee Tomlin in the 43rd minute, but the former Peterborough man volleyed over the bar from 15 yards after being set up by a Carayol pass.
Bournemouth: Camp, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Harte, O’Kane, Ritchie (Pugh 68), Arter, Surman (Rantie 88), Coulibaly (Fraser 58), Grabban. Subs Not Used: Allsop, Pitman, Smith, MacDonald. Booked: O’Kane.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Varga, Gibson, Omeruo, Friend, Adomah, Leadbitter (Ledesma 76), Whitehead, Carayol (Main 90), Tomlin (Chalobah 58), Graham. Subs Not Used: Steele, Butterfield, Luke Williams, Atkinson. Booked: Leadbitter, Whitehead, Omeruo.
Att: 9,710 Ref: Fred Graham (Essex).