CHERRIES returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 2-0 win over beleaguered Derby County.

Dominic Solanke’s strike in first-half added-time seemed to be all that was required heading into the final stages, before Jamal Lowe continued his late scoring exploits to seal Cherries’ first victory over Derby since 1985.

Boss Scott Parker made three changes to the side that were held at the Vitality Stadium four days earlier, with Jordan Zemura and Siriki Dembele on the left-hand flank exchanged for Leif Davis and Jaidon Anthony.

The only other change was enforced, with the suspended Philip Billing replaced by the returning Jefferson Lerma, who recently served a ban of his own.

Whilst Derby had the first shot on target of the game with Malcolm Ebiowei’s low drive, Cherries produced the first proper chance of the game around the 24th minute mark.

After Cantwell’s driving run was slowed, the Norwich loanee relinquished possession to allow Anthony to try his luck from outside the box.

Perhaps slightly unsighted by the Rams players in the way, former Cherries ‘keeper Ryan Allsop got just enough to send the effort away from goal.

Davis was simultaneously lucky and unlucky, after the Leeds loanee should have been punished for a clumsy foul on Ravel Morrison in the box.

The incident proved to be the left-back’s last interaction, with the defender coming off for Zemura, seemingly due to a knock.

Following the trend of recent performances, Cherries dominated possession without creating many chances of note.

However, they would find an opener deep into first-half stoppage time.

A well-intended yet over-hit switch of play from Solanke was somehow kept in play by Anthony, with former Cherries Loanee Max Byrne subsequently knocking the ball out for a throw-in.

From the resultant set-piece, substitute Zemura linked-up with Anthony to send the winger tearing into the box.

Jinking this-way and that-way, the youngster poked the ball through the legs of two Derby defenders before a sliding intervention sent the ball into the air.

Solanke was on hand to send the ball into the back of the net and open scores.

Shortly after the break Solanke was close to another, with his header from a corner clawed away by Allsop.

Derby still posed a threat of their own, and after Solanke lost the ball with a bad touch, Mark Travers had to get down low quickly to deny Buchanan’s near-post drive.

The resultant corner produced a scare for the hosts, with Zemura chucking himself in the way of Curtis Davies’ seemingly goal-bound strike.

Both sides then failed to take control as the game entered a lull. Sloppy passes from both sides were not seized up by opposing players, producing a slog outside of either box.

Travers was again key as he saved well from Morrison’s effort at a tight angle.

The game continued to be an open affair without much goalmouth action.

Match official Andrew Madley allowed play to continue after Zemura was felled on the left-hand flank, allowing Christie to take the ball forward and feed Solanke.

A neat one-two saw the ball fall back at the feet of Christie, who could only send his shot down the throat of Allsop.

As the final whistle crept closer, Christie believed he should have had a penalty after a challenge in the box after a Max Bird left a foot in, but official Madley instead showed a yellow to the Scot for simulation.

Any arguments over the incident were quickly forgotten as Cherries sealed the game with a second goal.

Solanke’s mazy run saw him cruise past Davies before flinging a shot towards Allsop, who only managed to palm the ball into the path of substitute Lowe.

The former Pompey striker showed no hesitation as he placed the ball into the empty net for his fourth goal in five games.

A smartly taken volley by Eiran Cashin found the back of the net for the Rams, but any hope of a consolation goal was quelled when the assistant referee flagged for offside.

After Huddersfield dropped points away at West Brom on Friday evening, Cherries are now two points clear of the Terriers with three games in hand.

They face another side stuck in the relegation battle on Tuesday, when they take on Reading at the Vitality Stadium.

Cherries: Travers, Stacey, Phillips, Kelly, Davis (Zemura, 29), Cook, Lerma, Cantwell (Lowe, 66), Anthony, Solanke, Christie (Pearson, 90)

Unused subs: Cahill, Woodman (g/k, Dembele, Marcondes

Booked: Stacey, Cantwell, Christie

Derby: Allsop, Byrne, Davies , Bielik (Ebosele, 66) , Bird, Lawrence, Morrison, Buchanan, Ebiowei (Knight, 76), Cashin, Plange (Kazim-Richards, 66)

Unused subs: Roos (g/k), Stearman, Forsyth, Thompson

Booked: Morrison, Davies

Referee: Andrew Madley