Last-gasp Ritchie strike ensures spoils shared between Bournemouth and Newcastle


Report from Frankie Rudland (@RudlandFrankie) at Vitality Stadium

Matt Ritchie’s stunning late strike denied his former side victory in a pulsating 2-2 draw at Vitality Stadium.

Salomon Rondon had fired Newcastle into the lead on the stroke of half-time with a spectacular free-kick, before Josh King’s penalty restored parity.

The Norwegian then crashed home to secure his brace on 81 minutes and fired the Cherries back into the lead, although Ritchie’s last-gasp intervention secured a point for the visitors.

Both sides headed into the tie off the back of positive results, with just one place separating them in the Premier League table.

Newcastle named three changes to their starting XI with Paul Dummett, Federico Fernandez and Mohamed Diame coming into the fold, whilst Nathaniel Clyne and Jordon Ibe regained their places from the off for Bournemouth.

The Magpies took the early ascendancy at the Vitality, with Isaac Hayden firing a tame effort at Artur Boruc after just one minute. Newcastle threatened again just moments later when former Cherries winger Ritchie delivered a lofted ball that narrowly evaded the head of target man Rondon at the back post.

Boruc displayed once again that age is no barrier as he raced off his line to steal possession from the toe of Rondon after Diame looked to have set him through on goal after six minutes.

Newcastle’s early enthusiasm momentarily spilt over as Ayoze Perez was the first to go into referee Mike Dean’s book for a high sliding tackle on Bournemouth talisman Ryan Fraser.

The Cherries almost responded to the visitor’s early pressure with an opening goal as King sent Fraser scampering through on goal, with the latter’s low effort striking the base of the post with nine minutes on the clock.

Fraser’s effort seemed to invigorate the Cherries, and in particular Ibe who made his return to both the match day squad and the team. The winger showed some flashy footwork and good early touches as he sought to repay Eddie Howe’s faith in him.

Just one place separated the two sides before kick off and it certainly showed as an end-to-end pattern started to emerge, with Perez the next to test Boruc with a bouncing drive that the Pole did well to keep hold of.

A high tempo was set in the early passages and Columbian enforcer Jefferson Lerma found himself just off the pace as he went late in to Miguel Almiron and earner himself an 11th yellow card of the season.

Blustery conditions seemed to halt the fluidity of the game, which was further fragmented when both Fraser and Almiron took turns to receive treatment on the half-hour mark.

Bournemouth struggled to recapture their rhythm after play restarted and loose balls from King and Nathan Ake drew frustrations from the home fans as the game approached half-time.

More frustrations ensued as Charlie Daniels floated a free-kick straight into the grateful arms of Martin Dubravka after David Brooks was tripped.

Brooks was involved again just moments later, slipping in Callum Wilson who unleashed a fierce right-footed effort that flashed just past the right-hand post in a rare moment of quality.

The game looked set to be goalless at the break before Newcastle’s winter gamble Almiron was hacked down on the edge of the area by Ibe deep into stoppage time.

Rondon stepped up and curled a sublime effort past Boruc and into the back of the net to send the visitors in a goal to the good.

After the interval, Ibe made good ground before his attempted through ball was deflected into the path of Fraser who won a corner for the hosts.

Daniels’ delivery caused havoc in the Newcastle area and amongst the melee Mike Dean spotted an infringement on Ake and made no hesitations as he pointed to the spot.

King took the responsibility from nine yards and stroked the ball straight down the centre of Dubravka’s goal to draw Bournemouth level with barely two minutes played of the second half.

Bournemouth smelt blood and yet another delivery from a corner rocked Newcastle, as Chris Mepham rose the highest in a crowded penalty area to nob agonisingly wide.

Newcastle needed a response after being hounded by the hosts in the opening exchanges of the first half, and it was Isaac Hayden’s effort from 35 yards that flashed just wide and reminded Howe’s men of the danger the Magpies hold on the break.

Rondon went close to snatching a second of the match on the hour mark, when the Venezuelan spun Mepham before watching his deflected effort squirm inches wide of Boruc’s post.

Fraser’s delivery started to cause real problems for the visitors, and with 63 minutes gone he picked out Lerma from a free-kick, with the midfielder somehow managing to head over from within the six-yard box. His blushes were partially spared as the linesman had raised his flag on the far side to render the miss meaningless.

The Cherries began to push for a second goal as the game entered the final 20 minutes, and bar the acrobatics of visiting skipper Dummett they would have had done.

The full-back produced a spectacular scissor-kick to deny Wilson his 12th Premier League goal of the season, as his looping header looked destined to cross the line.

Both managers took a roll of the dice with attacking changes as Christian Atsu and Dominic Solanke entered the fray, with the latter immediately involved as he drew a foul from Hayden, who received a yellow card for his attentions.

Bournemouth were beginning to turn the screw and on the 78th minute mark Lerma let fly again, this time controlling the ball sublimely on his chest before striking a volley narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

Solanke had been an effective change for the hosts, and proved crucial as he dribbled past a crop of Newcastle players before laying the ball off for King to curl a fine effort into the bottom left corner, restoring the Cherries’ lead.

The Magpies looked for an immediate response with a fine exchange of passes in the Bournemouth box between Ritchie and Hayden lead to the latter unleashing a low, deflected strike that bobbled just wide.

Howe has often bemoaned his side’s lack of defensive resilience and it was apparent why as cracks started to show in the Cherries’ back line.

Atsu found himself with acres of space before driving a low cross into the six-yard box that Mepham controversially cushioned back to the onrushing Boruc.

Yedlin was the next Newcastle player to find himself in an unforgivable amount of space on the right flank, and his right footed delivery was met emphatically by Ritchie at the back-post, who flashed a drive into the roof of the net.

The Cherries were forced to settle for a point, which sees Howe’s men leapfrog Everton in 11th place.

Bournemouth: Boruc, Clyne, Mepham, Ake, Daniels, Ibe (Solanke 74), Lerma, Brooks, Fraser, King, Wilson.

Unused subs: Begovic, Rico, Simpson, Surridge, Mousset, Taylor.