Walsall manager Ray Graydon saluted keeper James Walker for two spectacular second-half saves which helped earn the second division promotion-chasers a crucial point at Dean Court.
Bournemouth raced into a two-goal half-time lead through Eddie Howe and Jermaine Defoe, but Walsall hit back through a Ronnie Ekelund penalty and a Darren Byfield header two minutes from time.
But it was Walker who was Graydon’s hero after denying Defoe midway through the second half soon after tipping over a 25-yard half-volley from Cherries midfielder Carl Fletcher.
Howe has been the subject of transfer speculation all week and was making his first appearance for Bournemouth after being withdrawn just minutes before the start of his side’s last match against Port Vale.
But he put all the rumours of a move to Burnley behind him by heading home a Claus Jorgensen corner after only five minutes.
And Defoe added to Howe’s first goal in more than a year by picking up a mis-hit Stephen Purches shot and shooting low inside Walker’s right-hand post from 20 yards.
But Defoe was denied in the second period by Walker who tipped the 18-year-old’s cross-shot around the post soon after denying Fletcher.
Graydon said: “James was fantastic in the second half and we are indebted to him for a point.”
“It didn’t look good for us at half time because Bournemouth pressurised us very well in the first half and made it very difficult for us to get the game to flow.”
“But we knew that if we could get a goal we would be back in the game and that’s how it proved.”
“Darren has now scored two headers in a week after scoring for the reserves a few days ago and it was great to see him put the ball in the back of the net at the end.”
“Jermaine Defoe is a great player and we knew all about him but couldn’t stop the goal.”
“It was a fantastic strike after some great movement and speed of foot.”
Bournemouth manager Sean O’Driscoll said: “My side were fantastic this afternoon and battled away very well.
“We were 2-0 up at half time, but Walsall are a side at the top of the table and we knew they would pose a lot of problems for us in the second half.”
“That’s how it proved and now we just have to look ahead to our game at Swindon on Tuesday night.”