Southampton have played Bournemouth a total of 26 times throughout football history. Saints winning twelve, drawing seven, and losing the other seven.
The first match between the two teams was in the 1953/54 season. It was a cup match played at the Dell in the FA Cup. After drawing at home the replay was played four days later at Dean Court with Bournemouth winning 3-1.
Not the best way to begin a rivalry with a club in the nearest town to the west of Southampton. In fact, it got worse that year before it got better as Saints needed to travel to Dean Court once more for a Division Three South Game on Christmas day.
The home team again won 3-1, and with two wins at home, and a draw away, they must have felt confident when turning up for the next match. Saints, however, managed to win 2-1 and the tide was slightly turned in our favour.
The season of 1954/55 saw the two teams evenly matched and both succeeded in holding the home team to a draw. Season 1955/56 finally saw Saints gain the upper hand. Winning away 3-1 and at home 3-2 Saints were able to enjoy local supremacy.
The two teams met a few times more in the Division Three South, and then in League One which was still the third tier of English football. Normally the home side would win though there was the odd draw.
Saints won promotion to Division Two in 1960. We were comfortably in the top half of the League for six years before rising to Division One for the first time in our history in 1966.
Apart from meeting in the League Cup, the two sides were kept apart until Southampton dropped down through the leagues to League One. Still the third tier. But after some changes by the Football League management, some name changes had been made.
Season 2010/11 saw Saints maintain their supremacy over their local rivals Bournemouth by winning home and away. Bournemouth reached the Premier League in 2015, and the rivalry was re-ignited.
Some close fought games were played out since then with Saints maybe slightly fortunate to keep the edge. The Cherries have played with some verve and will count themselves unfortunate not to have won more than they have.
Now though we come to the game that could decide our fate for this season. It is a must-win game for Saints, but we will be playing a side determined to beat us, and ready to throw everything at us.
We just have no choice but to win, and that means our team has to be prepared to go toe to toe with their opponents who will be fully intent on playing with vigour, strength and skill as Eddie Howe demands.
To lose is not an option. We must fight to keep our unbeaten home record against the Cherries and pray it’s the catalyst for Premier League survival.