SALOMON Rondon’s first-half double meant Cherries suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

The Venezuelan frontman condemned Cherries to a 2-1 defeat at St James’s Park.

Midfielder Jefferson Lerma’s first-half header proved consolation for Cherries.

Howe’s men were also rocked by what appeared a serious knee injury to Adam Smith on his 200th appearance for the club. 

He was stretchered off after 30 minutes on Tyneside.

Cherries made one change to their starting XI for the clash in the north east.

Junior Stanislas was ruled out of the squad with a groin problem, meaning Jordon Ibe made his first Premier League start since May.

His inclusion meant winger Marc Pugh was named in a Premier League squad for the first time this season having been listed among the substitutes.

Striker Joshua King remained out with an ankle injury.

Newcastle were without without skipper Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto, who all picked up injuries against Watford last time out.

Cherries almost fashioned the first shot on goal inside the opening two minutes.

Charging forward on the counter, Callum Wilson slid the ball to Ibe, whose rasping drive was charged down by Federico Fernandez.

But on seven minutes with their first attempt, the hosts were ahead.

After a slick run and cross from DeAndre Yedlin, frontman Rondon fired in from close range at the second attempt after his initial effort was parried away by Asmir Begovic.

Just one minute later, Cherries had shouts for a penalty waved away by referee Lee Probert.

After Ryan Fraser charged down the left and squared for David Brooks, the attacking midfielder went to ground inside the box after defender Fernandez had attempted to clear. Boss Howe questioned the fourth official.

At the other end, former Cherries star Matt Ritchie then looked to double the hosts’ advantage. He sent a fierce volley fizzing just over the top of the bar from 20 yards out.

Cherries continued to surge forward however. After Ibe’s initial strike was charged down, skipper Simon Francis, on his 300th appearance for the Dorset club, saw his stinging shot deflect across goal to safety.

Fraser’s free-kick was then parried away by keeper Martin Dubravka on the angle, after the Scotland star had been fouled by Mohamed Diame.

Half way through the opening period, Cherries were then rocked by an injury to Smith.

After winning a free-kick and looking to take it quickly, the full-back went down writhing in pain clutching his knee.

He was replaced by Charlie Daniels after receiving treatment and being stretchered off.

And on 40 minutes, Newcastle doubled their advantage. Kenedy’s menacing cross found frontman Rondon, who got ahead of Nathan Ake to plant a header into the net.

It could have been 3-0 before the break. Kenedy stabbed at goal from close range with an attempt which was smothered by Begovic.

The Bosnian stopper then had to be alert to tip over Wilson’s inadvertent header towards his own goal after Ki-Sungyueng’s dangerous free-kick.

But six minutes into time added on at the end of the first half, Lerma’s maiden goal for Cherries pulled one back.

The Colombian stooped to head Fraser’s corner into the far corner from inside the box.

That was to be Lerma’s last act however as he was replaced at half-time by former Newcastle man Dan Gosling.

Following the break Rondon was nearly at it again for the hosts. He flung himself at Ritchie’s pinpoint centre, only to glance wide of the far post.

Fraser continued to threaten for Cherries. He drove at the United defence on the counter and rifled a deflected strike at Dubravka.

Ibe then skipped down the right and crossed for Wilson, who headed over the bar.

Ex-Liverpool man Ibe then had a glorious chance himself to level for Cherries.

A slick passing move saw substitute Gosling play in the winger but he blazed over the top when he should have done better.

Former Cherries loanee Christian Atsu was introduced by Rafa Benitez with 10 minutes left and he almost had an instant impact.

The winger cut inside and drilled a left-foot fizzer which Begovic tipped round the post.

Piling on the pressure late on, Cherries had the ball in the net five minutes from time through ex-Magpie Gosling but he was flagged offside.

Rondon was then denied his hat-trick late on. Begovic thwarted him after the West Brom loanee had charged through on the counter.

Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Dummett; Ritchie (Hayden, 74), Ki, Diame (Atsu, 80), Kenedy (Clark, 77); Perez; Rondon.

Unused subs: Murphy, Manquillo, Joselu, Darlow (g/k).

Booked: Schar, Rondon.

Cherries: Begovic; Francis, S Cook, Ake, Smith (Daniels, 30); Ibe (Defoe, 82), Lerma (Gosling, h-t), L Cook, Fraser; Brooks; Wilson.

Unused subs: Surman, Pugh, Mousset, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: L Cook.

Referee: Lee Probert.

Attendance: 49,266.