Written by Frankie Rudland (@RudlandFrankie)
An outstanding display from Allan Saint-Maximin inspired Steve Bruce’s Newcastle to a 4-1 thumping of struggling Bournemouth.
The Frenchman collected a hattrick of assists as Newcastle stunned AFC Bournemouth to extend their unbeaten run to five matches. Dwight Gayle and Sean Longstaff were the lucky benefactors of Saint-Maximin’s brilliance before the break as the clinical duo put Steve Bruce’s side in complete control at the Vitality stadium.
Josh King had an effort correctly ruled out after the restart, before two sublime finishes from Almiron and Lazaro, coupled with more of Saint-Mamimin’s magic, heaped added misery on relegation threatened Bournemouth.
Dan Gosling managed to force a late consolation over the line after Nathan Ake directed a deep free-kick back across the face of goal, but it was of little reprieve to the Cherries as they fell to fourth successive Premier League defeat.
Newcastle have been something of a bogey-team for Bournemouth in recent meetings, with Howe winless in his last four meetings against the Toon outfit, a thought that would have perhaps added extra incentive going in to an already vital clash.
But the Cherries struggled to impose themselves early on, with possession gifted to the visitors on numerous occasions. And it was this carelessness that allowed Newcastle to steal an early lead. Lerma was caught out deep in his own half by Sean Longstaff, who’s tackle teed up the mercurial Saint-Maximin to slide in forgotten man Dwight Gayle, who neatly slipped his finish past Ramsdale and in to the bottom corner after just five minutes.
Bournemouth are a side currently under real threat of relegation, and the pressure perhaps told once more as Billing spurned a chance to notch a quickfire leveller as he blazed over from just outside the box following good work from Danjuma down the left.
Eddie Howe’s men were being outworked and outmuscled in the early stages, which was again evident when Longstaff shrugged off two defenders in the Bournemouth box, only to scuff a squirming effort towards a comfortable Ramsdale.
With main-man Callum Wilson suspended for picking up ten yellow cards, goal-shy Dominic Solanke partnered Josh King in attack, and the former Liverpool man’s nervousness in front of goal was again evident when he snatched at a looping ball after 20 minutes, sending his effort high and wide.
Howe made visible attempts to lift his sides energy during the newly imposed drinks break, but his efforts proved futile. Just minutes later Saint-Maximin once again had the Bournemouth defence on strings, skipping past three lethargic challenges before cutting it back to Longstaff who this time made no mistake, clinically finding the roof of the net from nine yards.
That was to be the last involvement from the all-action Geordie, who limped off just moments later with a hamstring injury, with Paraguayan Miguel Almiron his replacement.
Bournemouth looked a side completely off the pace, succumbing to Newcastle in every area of the pitch as the Magpies enjoyed almost complete control of possession, with Jonjo Shelvey metronomic in the heart of midfield.
Wide men Brooks and Danjuma proved the only bright sparks in an otherwise dismal first-half showing from the Cherries, but neither could find a decisive ball, with the latter firing what looked to be a promising free-kick comfortably wide just before half-time.
Nathan Ake encapsulated the frustrations of everyone in a Bournemouth shirt as he tore down Almiron to earn himself a yellow card from Kevin Friend, who put the whistle to his lips shortly after to bring an end to the first-half. 2-0 to the visitors at the break.
Phlip Billing was replaced by Lewis Cook at the interval as Howe looked to inspire an early reaction from his side, and he nearly did. Solanke’s effort took a wicked deflection on the edge of the area before looping over Dubravka and on to the base of the post, popping up for his counterpart Josh King to nod into an empty, only to be correctly adjudged offside.
But it wasn’t long before Newcastle and Saint-Maximin once again threatened, with the Frenchman opening his box of tricks in the midfield before stinging Ramsdale’s palms with a fierce drive.
The Cherries brief flicker of hope was fully extinguished on the 57th minute, when Saint-Maximin collected his third assist of the evening, laying the ball off to substitute Almiron who darted across the edge of the area before lifting a delicate finish into the top corner.
Bournemouth had only netted 12 second-half goals all season going in to today’s fixture, and despite David Brook’s best efforts, that stat looked set to remain as his curling effort kissed the top off Dubravka’s crossbar. That was to be the Welshman’s last involvement, as he and Danjuma were replaced by Harry Wilson and Junior Stanislas just after the hour mark.
Newcastle made their own changes in tandem, with Andy Carroll and Valentino Lazaro replacing Gayle and the inspired Saint-Maximin.
Newly introduced Harry Wilson instantly looked to test the visitor’s reserve, whipping a succession of left-foot crosses into the Newcastle area, but ultimately to no avail as the rock-solid Lascelles stood firm against the brief barrage.
Unfortunately for the Cherries, it was Steve Bruce’s substitution that paid dividends, when another devastating Newcastle break saw the classy Shelvey slip through Lazaro who lifted a neat finish over Ramsdale and into the net for the Magpies fourth of the evening on the 77th minute.
If it wasn’t embarrassing for Howe and Bournemouth before, then it so nearly was moments later. Lazaro once again collected possession before unleashing a thunderous effort from all of 35-yards that cannoned off of the Bournemouth crossbar, only for Isaac Hayden to spoon the rebound wide with the goal at his mercy.
Bournemouth huffed and puffed late on, and finally earned themselves a consolation goal when Ake nodded a deep free-kick across the face of goal for ex-Magpie Dan Gosling to poke over the line. The only blotch on an otherwise perfect afternoon for Newcastle, 4-1 the final score on the night.
The Cherries now slip below Aston Villa to 19th place on goal difference, with a tough trip to in-form Manchester United awaiting Howe on Saturday.
Teams & Ratings
Bournemouth: Ramsdale (6), Smith (4), S.Cook (C) (5), Ake (6), Kelly (4), Brooks (7), Billing (4), Lerma (4), Danjuma (6), King (5), Solanke (4).
Subs: Gosling (6), Cook (6), Stanislas (4), H.Wilson (6), Mepham (N/A)
Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Krafth (6), Lascelles (C) (8), Fernandez (7), Manquillo (6), Shelvey (8), Bentaleb (7), Saint-Maximin (9), Longstaff (8), Joelinton (6), Gayle (7).
Subs: Carroll (6), Hayden (5), Yedlin (6), Lazaro (8), Almiron (8).