When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Match report: AFC Bournemouth 1 Blackburn Rovers 3
OFF-COLOUR Cherries were mercilessly put to the sword by a clinical Blackburn side whose performance was inspired by unplayable Norwegian international Josh King.
Championship goal machine Jordan Rhodes bagged a brace while returning strike partner and former Cherries loanee Leon Best scored one of several presentable chances to hand Rovers an unassailable three-goal lead at the interval.
But it was former Manchester United man King who was instrumental in Cherries’ downfall with an imperious display that led the likes of Simon Francis and Tommy Elphick a merry dance all afternoon.
Eddie Howe shuffled his shell-shocked Cherries pack at half time, but the dismissal of experienced midfielder Richard Hughes for two bookings inside five second half minutes put paid to any hopes of a fightback.
Livewire Ryan Fraser, whose display as a second-half substitute was one of few positives for the hosts, grabbed his first senior goal to reduce the arrears with 16 minutes to play.
But the game was already up as an effective and well-drilled Rovers outfit continued to press and probe a home side that lacked their usual verve and tempo.
Howe made one change to his starting line-up with Shaun MacDonald replacing Hughes in the middle of the park, but stuck with the 3-4-1-2 formation implemented at Middlesbrough.
In a lively opening, Tokelo Rantie had a goal ruled out for offside after Brett Pitman had centred following a quickly taken short corner.
However, Cherries were architects of their own downfall as Blackburn pressed and forced nervous back-passes in areas that made the home crowd wriggle uncomfortably in their seats.
During an erratic couple of minutes, Rhodes raced away only for Ryan Allsop to gather at his feet before Best charged down Steve Cook’s ball back to his keeper.
Cherries never truly recovered from those lapses and a simple but effective move saw goal machine Rhodes open the scoring in the 10th minute.
King rolled Best down the left whose fierce low centre was met by Rhodes’s stooping header which found Allsop’s bottom left corner.
Elliott Ward forced a routine save from Jake Kean at the other end but appeared fortunate not to concede a penalty moments later when his flailing arm caught a deep cross from the right.
Cherries found themselves penned in their own half and Allsop did well to punch away Rhodes’s swirling 20-yard free kick after Shaun MacDonald had lunged at King.
Rattled Cherries continued to retreat and it came as no surprise when Tom Cairney threaded on-rushing midfielder Corry Evans through to drive across the exposed Allsop’s goal for Best to apply a simple far-post finish.
King and Cairney twice combined to set up the former Newcastle striker, but Cherries' reprieve didn’t last as Tommy Elphick sent King sprawling to give referee Rob Lewis no option but to point to the spot with Rhodes confidently stroking home from 12 yards.
Rantie continued to try to liven up the hosts but visiting skipper Scott Dann was on hand to halt his direct run with a brave block.
Boss Howe shuffled his pack at half time, reverting to 4-4-2 with Ryan Fraser replacing Brett Pitman and Steve Cook moving across to left-back.
But any plans to settle down the contest quickly went up in smoke when Hughes, who had been booked for a late lunge on Cairney less than 30 seconds after the restart, clattered Evans from behind five minutes later and was inevitably dismissed.
However, the hosts held it together and Cherries went close when Rantie teed up Pugh to rattle Kean’s post.
Rovers remained dangerous on the break but Cherries kept plugging away and almost snatched a lifeline when Marc Pugh’s inswinging free-kick was met on the volley by Elphick, whose crisp effort was beaten away by Kean.
And the home crowd finally had a goal to celebrate when Rantie dropped deep and turned Hanley to play in Fraser to roll a delicious finish into Kean’s bottom left corner with 16 minutes to play.
Buoyed by his first career goal, Fraser was just crowded out moments later with Grabban’s snap-shot comfortably held by Kean as Cherries threatened to build up a head of steam.
But Rovers soon settled and Rhodes’s daisy cutter was as close anyone came to another goal as the match petered out.
Cherries: (3-4-1-2, then 4-4-2) Allsop, Elphick, Ward, Cook, Francis, O’Kane, MacDonald (Hughes, 32), Pugh (Coulibaly, 80), Pitman (Fraser, h-t), Grabban, Rantie.
Unused subs: Harte, Coulibaly, Surman, Addison, Flahavan (g/k).
Goal: Fraser, 74.
Booked: MacDonald, Elphick, Hughes.
Sent off: Hughes.
Blackburn: (4-4-2) Kean, Kane, Dann, Hanley, Spurr, King, Lowe (Marrow, 84), Evans (Williamson, 63), Cairney, Best (Olsson, 63), Rhodes.
Unused subs: Kilgallon, Taylor, Morris, Eastwood (g/k).
Goals: Rhodes 10, 41 (p), Best 24.
Booked: Evans, Best, Lowe.
Attendance: 9,441 (including 997 away fans).
Referee: Rob Lewis (Shropshire)
Comments are closed on this article.