CHERRIES now have two games of their season left to escape relegation from the Premier League after succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.

David Silva and Gabriel Jesus struck in the first half for Pep Guardiola’s big guns to keep Cherries three points adrift of safety, having now played a game more than Watford and West Ham above the bottom three.

David Brooks fired home a consolation late on in a brave effort from the visitors.

The Dorset club currently have 31 points from 36 games played this season – after recording a 10th straight top-flight loss to City.

Joshua King was judged fit to start by Cherries after recovering from a hamstring injury – and came in as one of four changes to Eddie Howe’s starting XI.

In also came Junior Stanislas, Philip Billing and Steve Cook for the visitors.

Callum Wilson, Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks dropped to Cherries’ bench while Nathan Ake was ruled out through injury.

City boss Pep Guardiola opted to make six changes to his line-up in total.

Despite Manchester City seeing far more of the ball in the opening exchanges, it was Cherries who had the first attempt on target after just three minutes.

Diego Rico’s cross found the head of Dan Gosling, who nodded straight at Ederson in the home goal.

But it only took City six minutes to open the scoring thanks to the class of David Silva.

After the Spaniard was fouled by Jefferson Lerma on the edge of the box, he picked himself up and whipped the resulting free-kick into the top corner past Aaron Ramsdale.

City could have had a second moments later. Midfielder Fernandinho drilled an effort just wide of the post.

Cherries then looked to find their feet in the contest just past the 20-minute mark. A half-clearance allowed Billing then Gosling to flick on for King, whose strike on the turn whistled wide of the far post.

And the visitors then came within inches of making it 1-1. After Dominic Solanke was fouled 25 yards out by Nicolas Otamendi, Stanislas’s free-kick was tipped onto the post by Ederson and eventually fell away to safety.

Cherries continued to create. King’s neat through ball found Gosling, whose square ball was gathered by Solanke inside the box before being blocked to safety.

But for all their effort, Howe’s men fell two behind on 39 minutes. Brazilian forward Jesus marked his 100th Premier League appearance by nutmegging Jack Stacey, skipping away from Cook and drilling into the bottom corner.

The visitors then escaped when Lerma appeared to have felled Jesus inside the box after Ramsdale failed to gather. No penalty was given after a VAR check.

Cherries had the ball in the net on 59 minutes when King turned in Stanislas’s ball across goal – but following a VAR referral, the Norwegian striker was judged fractionally offside.

Stanislas continued to threaten. His dangerous cross was palmed into the path of Gosling, only for his fierce strike to be blocked.

VAR then came to Cherries’ benefit when referee Lee Mason gave the hosts a penalty after Steve Cook slid in on Jesus - but the video official overturned the call.

Callum Wilson, brought on in place of Solanke, then fired wide after latching on to Brooks’s cutback.

But with the roles reversed, Brooks made no mistake in sweeping in Wilson’s centre with two minutes remaining – capping off a slick counter.

Wilson then dragged wide an opportunity to grab a point after Brooks’s outside of the boot cross was deflected into his path.

Substitute Sam Surridge was then denied by Ederson in stoppage time as the hosts hung on despite Cherries’ late flurry of chances.

City: Ederson, Walker (Garcia, h-t), Stones, Otamendi, Mendy, Fernandinho, Gundogan (Rodri, 68), D Silva, B Silva (Sterling, h-t), Foden, Jesus (Mahrez, 77).

Unused subs: Zinchenko, Laporte, De Bruyne, Doyle, Carson (g/k).

Booked: Garcia.

Cherries: Ramsdale, Stacey, S Cook, Kelly, Rico, Stanislas (Brooks, 69), Gosling (L Cook, 70), Lerma, Billing (Surridge, 90), King (H Wilson, 77), Solanke (C Wilson, 69).

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

Booked: Kelly.

Referee: Lee Mason.