It had to be Dominic Solanke, didn’t it? The striker who Scott Parker described as better than Aleksandar Mitrovic hadn’t scored a Premier League goal since November 5th, but he found the net for the fourth consecutive game against Fulham at Dean Court this afternoon as a storming second half comeback sealed a vital win for Bournemouth – lifting Gary O’Neill’s men out of the relegation zone and up to the dizzying heights of fifteenth.

Solanke’s winner was as scuffy as substitute Marcus Tavernier’s equaliser was sublime. Where the winger had curled an outstanding finish into the far corner from 22 yards after Bernd Leno looked to have got decent distance on his punch from a corner, the striker bundled in a winner from close range having sniffed an opportunity when the German goalkeeper had parried an effort from Ryan Christie. There was even a suspicion that ball made have cannoned in off Antonee Robinson – but nothing was going to stop Solanke from claiming his fifth goal of the season.

A disbelieving Marco Silva seethed on the sideline. There were no outrageous refereeing decisions to blame here – Fulham were flat in the second period and Bournemouth brought everything to the battle for survival having been strangely subdued in the first half. The Portuguese head coach threw on a succession of substitutes but only Dan James managed to get a sight of goal, whereupon the Welsh winger’s shot was tame and easily fielded by Neto.

The home side had dominated the early possession but the flowing football came from Fulham, decked out in their mystifying mint green third strip. Andreas Pereira looked lively in the opening exchanges but lost his footing as he looked to unleash a long-range effort. But the Brazilian did start and finish the move that saw Silva’s side hit the front on sixteen minutes. He linked up beautifully with his compatriot Carlos Vinicius, in for the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic, only the left flank and kept on running as first Manor Solomon and then Harrison Reed moved the ball towards the centre of the box. Pereira’s unerring low drive from the edge of the area survived a VAR check for offside against Solomon to stand.

For a while, it looked as if the visitors would be able to score at will. Robinson rattled the crossbar with a rasping drive from outside the box after another piece of patient approach play and Fulham continued to control possession. Bournemouth’s threat was initially sporadic but undoubtedly dangerous – clever combination play between Solanke and Philip Biling gave Dango Ouattara a sight of goal and Burkinabè forward shot fractionally wide of Leno’s goal.

That was the cue for Fulham to come again. Bobby Decordova-Reid lofted a lovely ball towards Pereira, whose appetite for acrobatics took over, and he went close to scoring his second with an outrageous bicycle kick. But there was another alarm at the other end before the break as Ouattara drilled an effort against the underside of the bar went it seemed simpler to score, oblivious to the fact that he had been flagged offside.

O’Neill turned to his bench and changed the complexion of a contest that appeared to be passing the Cherries by. Tavernier turned the game on its head with his first appearance since aggravating a hamstring issue when he scored the winner against Wolves last month. He was denied a dream return when Tim Ream blocked a goalbound shot, but rustled up his moment of magic anyway – with a curler that brought the long-suffering home fans to their feet.

Belief surged through Bournemouth again. Tavernier was now their talisman and was only thwarted from adding a second at point-blank range by a superb reaction stop from Leno. The hosts were pressing ferociously and Fulham’s poise in possession had largely disappeared. The Londoners did offer the occasional threat on the counter, with Vinicius trying a shot on the turn and Pereira heading wide, but the momentum was now with the hosts.

Solanke was involved in most of Bournemouth’s build up play but hadn’t had a serious sight of goal until eleven minutes from time when he was in precisely the right place to gobble up the rebound after Christie’s strike had been saved by Leno. He departed to a standing ovation at the end of the ninety minutes. Fulham looked as if they’d used up all their fight at Old Trafford in the FA Cup – and their impressive return to the top flight is in danger of petering out after a fourth defeat in succession.

AFC BOURNEMOUTH (4-4-1-1): Neto; Smith, Kelly, Stephens, Senesi; Rothwell (Traore 72), Lerma, Ouattara (Christie 45), Anthony (Tavernier 45); Billing; Solanke (Semenyo 90). Subs (not used): Travers, Zabarnyi, Vina, Cook, Brooks.

BOOKED: Lerma.

GOALS: Tavernier (50), Solanke (79).

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno; Tete (Cedric Soares 82), A. Robinson, Diop, Ream; Palhinha (Wilson 80), Reed (Cairney 69); Decordova-Reid (James 69), Solomon, Pereira (Lukic 82); Vinicius. Subs (not used): Rodak, Adarabioyo, Duffy, Francois.

BOOKED: Pereira, Tete, Cairney, A. Robinson.

GOAL: Pereira (16).

REFEREE: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).