A LAST-GASP header from Steve Cook gave Cherries a priceless 1-0 win at Newcastle United.

The centre-half rose highest in the second minute of stoppage time to seal victory at St James’s Park, as Cherries recorded back-to-back away league triumphs.

The contest seemed destined to end goalless after Marc Pugh hit the post in the latter stages, but Cook was the hero as the Dorset club picked up their third league win of the campaign.

Having come on as a substitute during the 1-0 defeat against Chelsea last time out, Cherries striker Wilson partnered Joshua King up front, who also made his return following a back problem.

There were recalls for Harry Arter, Jordon Ibe and Marc Pugh, as boss Howe made five changes in total.

The visitors also reverted to a back four and deployed skipper Simon Francis at right-back.

The injured Benik Afobe and Junior Stanislas did not feature, while Jermain Defoe, Lewis Cook and Adam Smith dropped to the bench.

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez opted to include Dwight Gale in his starting XI to partner Joselu up front.

Ex-Cherries Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu both started against their former clubs.

And it was Ritchie who came within inches of opening the scoring after just six minutes.

After the Magpies had won the ball on the left, his thunderous strike across goal was well saved by keeper Asmir Begovic, who flew to his right to tip the ball out for a corner.

Ritchie continued to trouble his former employers as Cherries were forced to deal with another early opportunity for the hosts.

The former Swindon man delivered a cross for striker Gale at the far post, who saw his header blocked by Steve Cook at point-blank range.

Another sharp stop from Begovic then came to deny Atsu, who let fly from all of 30 yards – that was before Newcastle had the ball in the net on 16 minutes.

Ritchie’s curling strike cannoned off the inside of the post and Gayle was there to slot home on the follow-up, only to be flagged offside.

Steve Cook was then on hand to put in another block, this time from Atsu, who had cut in from the left and shot on the angle.

Gayle then dispossessed Andrew Surman in a dangerous area and played in Joselu, but the Spanish striker could only drag his shot wide.

Having soaked up a vast amount of pressure during the opening half hour, Cherries almost took the lead against the run of play on 35 minutes.

Francis cut the ball back to Wilson and his looping header forced Newcastle stopper Rob Elliot to tip the ball over. Shortly after, Elliot was called on again to smother a strike from King at his near post.

Wilson’s big moment then came six minutes after the break, but he squandered the best chance of the contest to that point.

After Ake’s headed clearance was flicked into the former Coventry frontman’s path by King, Wilson raced in one-on-one with Elliot but could only find the side netting.

King was the architect once again for the visitors just past the hour mark, he clipped a precise ball onto the head of Pugh, whose effort was gathered.

Howe then looked to the bench and introduced Defoe and Smith for Wilson and Ibe.

And just two minutes from time, Cherries almost went ahead.

Pugh’s effort from an acute angle squirmed under the body of Elliot and clipped the inside of the post.

But it was Cook who made the difference as he leapt above his man to power home Surman’s corner with his head to win it in the closing moments.

Cherries: Begovic; Francis, S Cook, Ake, Daniels; Pugh, Surman, Arter, Ibe (Defoe, 75); King; Wilson (Smith, 75).

Unused subs: Gosling, L Cook, Fraser, Mousset, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: Surman, Francis

Newcastle: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles (Clark, 55), Lejeune, Manquillo; Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Atsu (Murphy, 82); Gayle, Joselu (Perez, 68).

Unused subs: Diame, Gamez, Mitrovic, Darlow (g/k).

Booked: Lejeune, Shelvey

Referee: Paul Tierney

Attendance: 52,237