FORMER Cherry Matt Ritchie popped up with his first goal since July 2020 to deny his former side a win over his current employers Newcastle, a pulsating contest ending 2-2 on Tyneside.

Martin Dubravka’s slip under pressure gave Cherries a lead early into the second period through Dominic Solanke, but that was quickly cancelled out by a Anthony Gordon penalty.

Antoine Semenyo answered back to restore the away side’s lead, but former Cherry Ritchie made an instant impact off the bench to gain parity at the start of stoppage time.

Cherries head coach Andoni Iraola made two changes to the side defeated in the capital last time out, Alex Scott and Luis Sinisterra making way for Justin Kluivert and Antoine Semenyo respectively.

The opening stages were positive for the away side, but quickly indicated the pattern of the game which was to follow – an end-to-end contest with chances at both ends.

Newcastle went close early on as Kieran Trippier’s cross found Gordon at the back post, the makeshift striker somehow sending his header over the bar despite aiming the ball onto the ground.

There was another scare when Gordon closed down keeper Neto before he could clear the ball, the deflection flying backwards and thankfully away from Cherries’ goal.

At the other end Marcus Tavernier recorded the first shot on target with an ambitious effort from range, Dubravka comfortably holding to set up a Newcastle counter.

Lloyd Kelly managed to sniff out the danger and set Cherries on an attack of their own, Kluivert flying down the pitch before cutting it back to Solanke.

Cherries’ talisman was well denied by Dubravka, the rebound falling just short of Kluivert.

But that would not be Solanke’s best effort of the half.

Tavernier’s cross from the left sat up nicely inside the six-yard box, Solanke stretching to send the ball goalwards.

However, he could not get enough on the ball to steer it past Dubravka, who produced another fine stop to maintain his clean sheet.

At the start of the second period, Cherries would be gifted an opener.

Newcastle goalie Dubravka slipped whilst receiving a pass inside his six-yard box, allowing Solanke to steel in and poke home to open scores.

But before Cherries could properly process their lead, Newcastle would have an equaliser.

A free kick flung into the Cherries box was analysed to death, with VAR eventually determining that Adam Smith had hauled back Fabian Schar in an illegal fashion.

The VAR check was elongated by the fact that Schar was in an offside position, but ultimately not deemed to have impacted play.

That allowed Gordon the chance to level scores from the spot, the former Everton man creeping his effort below Neto who had guessed the right way.

Undeterred, Cherries hunted for a second to put themselves back into the lead.

After receiving the ball midway through the Newcastle half and advancing to the edge of the area, Semenyo decided to try his luck from the edge of the area.

It proved the right decision, his effort flying past Dubravka and nestling into the far corner as Semenyo leapt into a round of cartwheels to celebrate.

Despite taking the lead, Cherries did not necessarily sit back.

Holding midfielder Lewis Cook must have thought he had a rare goal when his effort bended towards goal, only for Dubravka to prove equal to the effort, pushing it away.

Cherries entered 10 minutes of stoppage time having avoided major incident, but that quickly changed after the introduction of Ritchie.

A cross into the box found the Scot only after Kelly had slipped, allowing Ritchie to capitalise on the loose ball ricocheting around the area and poke home.

Newcastle: Dubravka; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn (Livramento, 71); Guimaraes, Longstaff, Miley (White, 90+1), Almiron (Ritchie, 90+1), Barnes (Murphy, 67), Gordon.

Unused subs: Dummett, Lascelles, Krafth, Hall, Karius (g/k).

Booked: Schar.

Cherries: Neto; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly; Cook, Christie (Unal, 90+2), Kluivert (Scott, 71); Semenyo (Ouattara, 79), Tavernier, Solanke.

Unused subs: Mepham, Kinsey, Kerkez, Sinisterra, Randolph (g/k), Travers (g/k).

Booked: Christie, Senesi, Zabarnyi.

Attendance: 52,224.