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AFC Bournemouth: Ritchie at the double as Cherries sink Glovers
MECURIAL Matt Ritchie netted twice as Cherries ended their Dean Court win drought in style following an emphatic 3-0 victory over Yeovil today.
Ritchie’s double, coupled with a stunning Eunan O’Kane strike, also saw Cherries register back-to-back Championship wins for the first time this season.
Eddie Howe’s men had been bidding to halt a four-match winless home run and effectively had the points wrapped up after scoring three times in 16 second-half minutes.
Ritchie, who returned last month following a long injury lay-off, set the ball rolling when he despatched a venomous drive past Glovers goalkeeper Marek Stech five minutes after the break.
And the winger quickly took his tally to five goals in six starts when his delightful clipped effort found its way past Stech, possibly with the aid of a deflection.
O’Kane capped another excellent individual display with his first goal in the Championship, the midfielder completed the scoring with a low drive after 66 minutes.
The only downside for Cherries was a fifth booking of the season for Harry Arter which will rule him out of Sunday’s clash against Ipswich.
The teams traded early chances with Liam Fontaine heading wide following an Ed Upson corner and Ritchie’s effort failing to trouble Yeovil goalkeeper Marek Stech.
A sweeping move from Cherries, started inside his own half by Harry Arter, ended with the midfielder just failing to get on the end of a Charlie Daniels centre.
Cherries went close to drawing first blood after eight minutes when Andrew Surman’s bullet header from a Ryan Fraser cross was punched away by Stech.
Surman then had a penalty appeal waved away after he had gone to ground under a Joe Edwards challenge before the Glovers also went close to breaking the deadlock.
Ishmael Miller, on loan to Yeovil from Nottingham Forest, bustled into the area and saw his shot from a tight angle well saved at his near post by Cherries goalkeeper Lee Camp.
Stech had to be on his toes to beat away a Ritchie header from another precision cross from Fraser with Lewis Grabban blazing the rebound way off target.
Grabban was crowded out by Stech and two defenders after he had been put through by Ritchie, the winger pouncing on James McAllister’s mistake to set up the chance.
The Glovers gave the Cherries defence a couple of scares when Miller and Joel Grant worked in tandem to create two half chances, which both, ultimately, came to nothing. Stech clutched Arter’s stinging free-kick and then pawed away Elliott Ward’s glancing header after the defender had dived full length to meet a Daniels cross.
Ward then burst into the box a second time, only to curl his effort narrowly wide of the post, before Stech got down smartly to keep out Grabban’s low drive.
Referee Craig Pawson took centre stage on the stroke of half-time, the official chalking off a Ward strike after deeming Tommy Elphick had fouled as he tried to meet Fraser’s corner.
Cherries broke the deadlock early in the second half when Ritchie was on hand to rifle an unstoppable drive past Stech after latching on to the loose ball following good work by Fraser.
The Scotsman linked with Daniels before embarking on an electrifying run into the Yeovil 18-yard box, the ball eventually coming back to Ritchie after Fraser’s shot had been blocked.
Ritchie showed great awareness and skill to double Cherries’ lead seven minutes later, even if he may have had a slight helping hand from Yeovil defender Shane Duffy.
The winger spotted Stech marginally off his line and lofted a delightful left-foot effort towards the top corner, his shot appearing to glance off Duffy before finding the back of the net.
O’Kane then posted his contender for the goal of the game, the midfielder finishing with a composed left-foot shot following a surging run which took him past three defenders.
Surman fired over the crossbar from O’Kane centre before a last-ditch clearance denied Shaun MacDonald a tap in after Ritchie had again caused havoc in the Yeovil 18-yard area.
Ritchie and Simon Francis both went close to adding to Cherries’ lead before Upson hit the post late on for the Glovers with goalkeeper Lee Camp keeping his first clean sheet for the club.
Cherries: Camp, Francis, Elphick, Ward, Daniels, O’Kane, Ritchie, Arter (MacDonald, 60), Surman, Fraser (Pugh, 81), Grabban (Rantie, 74).
Unused subs: Pitman, Addison, Harte, Allsop (g/k).
Glovers: Stech, Edwards (Hayter, 62), Duffy, Fontaine, McAllister (Davis, 62), Dawson, Lundstram (Foley, 62), Ralls, Grant, Upson, Miller.
Unused subs: Moore, Hoskins, Twumasi, Dunn (g/k).
Booked: Dawson, Lundstram, Upson, Ralls.
Referee: Craig Pawson (Yorkshire).
Attendance: 10,717 (inc 1,367 away supporters).
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