GOALS from Philip Billing, Dominic Solanke, Diego Rico and Sam Surridge ensured Friday night delight for Cherries – as they surged to the summit of the Championship.

The Dorset club’s 4-0 victory over Barnsley at Oakwell saw them leapfrog previous leaders Norwich to take top spot, ahead of Saturday’s league fixtures.

Solanke and Billing set the ball rolling for the visitors in the first half in south Yorkshire – before a stunning free-kick from Spaniard Rico and Surridge’s powerful effort ensured the spoils were secured.

It was Cherries’ eighth league win from 16 games – and their first clean sheet on the road since December 2019.

Boss Jason Tindall made three changes from the side that suffered a 3-2 defeat at home to Preston last time out.

Rodrigo Riquelme and Junior Stanislas dropped to the bench and Jefferson Lerma missed out through suspension.

That meant returns to the starting XI for Billing, Surridge and Lloyd Kelly, as the visitors opted to switch to a back three.

And it was Surridge who almost made an early impact for the visitors after just two minutes.

After running on to a ball over the top, the Cherries academy graduate managed to go beyond onrushing keeper Jack Walton but having been forced wide, he failed to hit the target with the goal gaping from out on the right.

Billing was then almost the architect for the opener as Cherries piled on the pressure in the opening exchanges.

The Danish international’s precise pass was perfect for the run of Solanke, who took a touch before seeing his strike charged down by Michael Sollbauer.

Back came the Tykes with their first effort. Skipper Alex Mowatt unleashed an effort from 25 yards which was parried away by visiting stopper Asmir Begovic.

But it was that man Billing who got the breakthrough on 12 minutes. Neat interplay down the right allowed Adam Smith to surge forward from wing-back. His pass inside allowed Billing to take aim and strike left-footed into the bottom corner.

Barnsley almost had the chance to level with 34 minutes on the clock. After Callum Styles nipped in front of Smith out wide, Mowatt’s dangerous centre narrowly evaded frontman Victor Adeboyejo.

And it should have been 1-1 as Tindall’s side were caught napping five minutes before the break. A quick free-kick allowed Conor Chaplin to race in and drill the ball across goal.

After Michael Helik looked to turn it in at the back post, the ball somehow ricocheted off Barnsley defender Mads Andersen and fell wide from just three yards out.

But Cherries made the Tykes pay as they added a second in first-half stoppage time. After Lewis Cook slid in to win possession from Cauley Woodrow, Solanke burst in on goal and struck into the bottom corner.

The contest was all-but put beyond doubt within seven minutes of the restart. After Surridge was fouled on the edge of the area, wing-back Rico picked his spot from a free-kick on the angle and whipped the ball into top corner.

The strike was his first goal for Cherries in 60 senior appearances.

The Tykes looked to rally with 25 minutes remaining. After Cherries lost the ball in a dangerous area – Woodrow stung the palms of Begovic with a fierce effort the Bosnian parried away.

But Cherries were not finished at the other end and got a fourth through Surridge on 68 minutes.

After he outmuscled his man to run in on goal, the England under-21 international’s driven effort proved too hot to handle for Walton, who could only palm into the net.

Barnsley’s Andersen received the game’s first caution after a robust challenge on Dan Gosling before Riquelme, who had come off the bench in place of Lewis Cook, worked keeper Walton in the latter stages.

Tindall gave a first league appearance to Gavin Kilkenny in the dying moments.

Barnsley: Walton, Sollbauer, Helik (Halme, 64), Andersen, Brittain, Mowatt, Kane (Palmer, 82), Styles (Thomas, 59), Adeboyejo (Oduor, 59), Chaplin (Frieser, 59), Woodrow.

Unused subs: Schmidt, Halme, Miller, James, Collins (g/k).

Booked: Woodrow, Andersen, Sollbauer.

Cherries: Begovic; Mepham, S Cook, Kelly; Smith (Ofoborh, 90), Billing (Kilkenny, 90), L Cook (Riquelme, 80), Brooks (Gosling, 72), Rico; Solanke (Anthony, 72), Surridge.

Unused subs: Stanislas, Simpson, Zemura, Travers (g/k).

Booked: None.

Referee: Keith Stroud.