GOOD things come to those who wait.

It is fair to say life on the road has been tough for Cherries fans this season, particularly in recent months.

Since cruising past Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage way back in October, 12 away trips had come and gone for Eddie Howe’s men before Saturday’s clash with Brighton at the Amex.

That is some 4,940 miles up and down the country, with all bar one of those 12 journeys home being solemn affairs after defeat, with the 2-0 win at Huddersfield last month the exception.

But those Cherries fans who loyally followed the side to Sussex at the weekend were rewarded with a piece of history – the club’s largest ever away win in the top flight.

In truth, it was hard to see the afternoon panning out the way it did after the opening half an hour.

Looking to respond to the toothless home defeat by relegation-threatened Burnley seven days earlier, Cherries were on the back foot against another side battling against the drop in Brighton.

After recent performances, Howe said he feared his side were losing their identity, but they found it back in the blink of an eye on 33 minutes at the Amex.

A fine, flowing team move was rounded off by Dan Gosling to give Cherries a morale-boosting lead going into half-time.

Ryan Fraser quickly doubled the tally after the restart with a super strike from outside the box and Brighton’s task was made even tougher midway through the second period when winger Anthony Knockaert was shown a straight red card for an horrendous lunge on Adam Smith.

Cherries then turned the screw, producing a scintillating display of counter-attacking football with David Brooks getting on in the act to put the game to bed.

The brilliant goals kept on coming with late strikes from Callum Wilson and substitute Junior Stanislas taking the tally to 5-0, matching the margin of 6-1 against Hull City at Vitality

Stadium in October 2016 as the club’s joint biggest  top-flight victory.

Cherries moved up to 12th on 41 points with the victory, 13 points clear of the bottom three and could be mathematically safe from relegation as soon as Tuesday evening, should Cardiff lose against Brighton.

Howe made two changes to the XI which lost against Burnley. Artur Boruc replaced Asmir Begovic in goal, while Steve Cook returned after missing seven games with a groin problem as Nathaniel Clyne dropped to the bench. Nathan Ake took up an unfamiliar left-back role.

Cherries made a lively start with Joshua King twice going close but Brighton, seeking just a third league win of the calendar year, grew into the contest.

Opting to take on Ake, both Knockaert and Yves Bissouma caused problems for the Dutchman but vital interceptions in the centre from Chris Mepham and Cook kept the Seagulls at bay.

However, Cherries soaked up the pressure and got their noses in front.

The visitors embarked on a passing move 30 yards from goal with Jefferson Lerma and Brooks both influential before Wilson teed up Gosling, who kept his composure and swept into the bottom corner to notch for the first time in 14 months.

A section of the Brighton fans booed their side off at the break and their mood was not improved as they fell 2-0 behind minutes later.

Wilson led the charge, bursting down the right and feeding the ball into Fraser, who brilliantly curled into the top corner from 20 yards for his seventh Premier League goal of the campaign.

The hosts were then reduced to 10 men on 68 minutes with frustration boiling over for Knockaert as he flew into a reckless challenge on Smith and was given his marching orders. 

Boosted by the extra man, a third goal duly arrived after more neat work around the box.

Brooks did the honours, playing a neat one-two with Fraser before guiding the ball in past Ryan with Lewis Dunk getting a touch to help it on its way.

The scoring was not done there as Wilson turned from provider to scorer, rattling in his 13th of the season, collecting the ball from Fraser and shifting away from his marker before slamming into the far corner.

“We want five” chanted the away fans, and they got their wish in stoppage time when Stanislas, not long off the bench, collected the ball from Brooks and raced clear before calmly firing in to cap off a memorable afternoon.

Cherries: Boruc; Smith, Mepham, S Cook (Simpson, 87), Ake; Brooks, Gosling, Lerma, Fraser; Brooks; King (Solanke, 76); Wilson (Stanislas, 83).

Unused subs: Clyne, Ibe, Mousset, Begovic (g/k).

Booked: Ake, Mepham, Gosling, Boruc.

Brighton: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Bissouma, Stephens, Propper (Izquierdo, 63); Knockaert, Locadia, Andone (Murray, 58).

Unused subs: Burn, Bong, Kayal, Jahanbakhsh, Button (g/k).

Booked: Andone.

Sent off: Knockaert.

Referee: Kevin Friend.

Attendance: 30,460.