FORMER Dean Court youngster Danny Ings and Che Adams sent hammer blows to Cherries’ Premier League survival hopes after Southampton sealed victory at Vitality Stadium.

Ings, who was handed his first professional contract by Cherries boss Eddie Howe, fired the first strike in Saints’ 2-0 victory at Vitality Stadium.

And after Sam Surridge’s late goal for the hosts was ruled out for offside against Callum Wilson following a VAR check, Adams slotted home a second to condemn their misery.

Should Watford now avoid defeat against Manchester City on Tuesday night, Cherries’ five-year stay in the top flight would come to an end.

If the Hornets lose to City – Howe’s men would have to win at Everton on Sunday to have any chance of beating the drop.

Cherries made two changes for the crucial clash against their south coast neighbours.

After both impressed from the bench in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last time out, David Brooks and Callum Wilson came in for Dan Gosling and Dominic Solanke.

Saints made five changes in total from the side who drew 1-1 with Brighton.

And the visitors signalled an early warning when Ings latched on to a through ball. He took aim from an acute angle but saw his effort blocked by Lloyd Kelly.

Cherries then looked to threaten. A long ball forward to Joshua King almost found strike partner Callum Wilson – but the ball failed to drop for the England frontman. Diego Rico fired well wide shortly after.

The hosts continued to apply the pressure. Kelly’s low drive following a half-cleared corner deflected just wide of the post – Callum Wilson then glanced over Junior Stanislas’s cross.

After bursting into the box, King then went to ground under the challenge of Jack Stephens – but referee Craig Pawson was having none of his claims for a penalty.

Some sublime goalkeeping from Aaron Ramsdale then kept the scores level on 16 minutes.

A precise pass from James Ward-Prowse split the hosts’ backline and allowed Nathan Redmond to run in on goal. But England under-21 international Ramsdale was out sharply to deny the former Norwich forward.

Despite Cherries having the better of the contest, Ward-Prowse could have broken the deadlock for the visitors on 28 minutes.

He found space to head Oriol Romeu’s cross at goal unchallenged, only to be denied by Ramsdale. Redmond’s fierce volley was then clutched by the Cherries stopper five minutes before the interval.

But it was Ings who flattened the spirits of Cherries on 41 minutes with his 21st league goal of the campaign.

The clinical frontman skipped away from two defenders before squeezing the ball into the bottom corner to put Saints a goal up.

Howe opted to go to the bench at the interval and replace Brooks with Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson.

But it was Ings who hunted another for Saints two minutes after the break when he drilled just wide after cutting onto his right foot once again.

It almost went from bad to worse for Cherries but young stopper Ramsdale came to the rescue just before the hour mark.

Referee Pawson pointed to the penalty spot for a handball against Harry Wilson in the box following a VAR check. Ings’s spot-kick was saved by the Cherries keeper, who dived to his left to keep out the effort.

Wales international Harry Wilson had a golden chance to level the scores on 66 minutes. He found space to hit the ball across goal after good work from King – but Alex McCarthy was alert to thwart the effort.

More changes from Howe almost paid dividends. After the hosts kept alive the ball in the box, substitute Dominic Solanke’s strike on the angle was blocked by McCarthy.

Cherries continued to throw men forward. Billing’s cross found the head of Callum Wilson, who glanced into the side netting.

And Harry Wilson’s curled effort in stoppage time looked to be goalbound – only for McCarthy to somehow tip it round the post.

Cherries then thought they had found a lifeline when Surridge converted after a long throw into the box – only for Callum Wilson to be judged offside by VAR official David Coote, denying the academy graduate his first top-flight goal.

Howe’s men then suffered another cruel blow in stoppage time as Adams turned in the ball late on for a second for Saints.

Cherries: Ramsdale, Stacey, S Cook, Kelly, Rico, Brooks (H Wilson, h-t), Billing (Gosling, 87), Lerma (Surridge, 82), Stanislas (Solanke, 69), King (L Cook, 69), C Wilson.

Unused subs: Surman, Danjuma, Simpson, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: Billing, L Cook.

Saints: McCarthy, Vestergaard, Stephens, Walker-Peters, Bertrand, Romeu (Hojberg, 76), Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Armstrong, Long (Adams, 66), Ings.

Unused subs: Obafemi, Smallbone, Vokins, Danso, Valery, Ferry, Gunn (g/k).

Booked: Vestergaard, Ward Prowse.

Referee: Craig Pawson.

VAR: David Coote.