By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
Matt Ritchie scored a last-gasp equaliser to deny his former side all three points in a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
The Cherries looked to have secured a crucial victory after Josh King’s second half brace, including a penalty had cancelled out Salomon Rondon’s first half free kick.
However, Ritchie had the final say rifling in a sublime half volley, into the top corner to snatch a point for his side.
Eddie Howe made just two changes to the side which beat Huddersfield last week. Nathaniel Clyne and Jordon Ibe replaced Adam Smith and Andrew Surman.
Rafa Benitez made three changes to his side from last week’s stunning victory over Everton. Paul Dummett, Federico Fernandez and Mohamed Diame replaced Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles and Ki Sung-yueng.
Ryan Fraser almost gave the hosts an early lead. The scot received the ball from Josh King on the left-hand side, before smashing the post with a fierce effort.
Ayoze Perez produced Newcastle’s first meaningful effort on goal, testing the palms of Artur Boruc with a fierce strike.
Despite a cagey opening period, the game was not without its fair share of spice and drama and bitter conditions undoubtedly contributed to this.
Perez was handed an early booking for a strong challenge on Fraser, before Jefferson Lerma received his 11th booking of the season after lunging in on Perez.
Callum Wilson finally found some space in the area late on in the half, after being slipped in on goal but the angle was always against him and he failed to find the target with a fierce effort.
Charlie Daniels’ late free kick could only find the palms of Martin Dubravka, as the game looked to be heading for a half time stalemate.
But the visitors had other ideas and went in front on the stroke of half time. January signing Miguel Almiron raced through on the counter attack and was halted by Jordon Ibe on the left-hand side.
Salomon Rondon stepped up to take the free kick and curled the ball over the wall and past Boruc, who was rooted as the ball flew past him into the corner, for his eight goal of the season.
Eddie Howe’s side, who failed to manage a shot on target during the first period needed a response in the second half and this came almost immediately.
Within minutes of the restart, Ibe led a powerful charge through the midfield and his attempted pass deflected into Fraser’s path, who secured a corner.
The resulting set-piece was whipped into the path of Ake who was brought down in the box by Fernandez with referee Mike Dean pointing straight to the spot.
Josh King, who scored one and missed one against Wolves three weeks ago, made no mistake from the spot, smashing his penalty straight down the middle to restore parity.
The equaliser seemed to invigorate the Cherries and they almost had a second minutes later. Chris Mepham rose highest from Fraser’s corner; however his header went inches wide.
The visitors responded soon after. Ritchie fired a teasing cross into the box which Ake calmly cleared behind for a corner.
Former Arsenal trainee Isaac Hayden launched a precise shot from range, which drifted just past the post.
Ritchie then almost restored the Magpies’ advantage. Rondon received the ball in the box with his back to goal, before spinning and striking his effort, which Ritchie was unfortunate not to latch on to as he dived in at the far post.
The game ebbed and flowed, with both sides holding a share of the opportunities. Josh King teed up Lerma in space in the midfield, however his curling effort from 25 yards drifted just wide.
The Cherries came agonisingly close again with 20 minutes remaining. Fraser’s corner caused havoc in the Newcastle area, with the defence failing to clear their lines.
The ball eventually fell to Wilson, who headed over Dubravka before Paul Dummett made an excellent last-ditch clearance off the line, to keep the scores level.
Howe freshened things up with the introduction of Dominic Solanke in place of Ibe, whilst Benitez threw on Christian Atsu for Ayoze Perez.
Lerma, whose only previous Cherries goal came in the reverse fixture in November had another audacious attempt, teeing himself up on the volley before his shot went just wide.
Minutes later, Bournemouth took the lead for the first time. Substitute Solanke drifted into the box, faked to shoot and then found King on the edge of the box, who fired home on the spin to hand the Cherries a deserved second half lead.
The visitors searched for an equaliser, with Ritchie’s free kick from the edge of the box evading everyone.
The home side looked to put the game out of reach but failed to create any clear openings. Fraser’s free kick from the right hand side reached Daniels on the left, but the full back launched his effort straight into the stands.
With the match now into three minutes of stoppage time, the Magpies had a case for a back pass when Atsu’s dangerous, low cross fell to Mepham. The Welshman passed back to Boruc who collected the ball, however referee Mike Dean waved away the protests from the Newcastle players and faithful.
However, the visitors were not to be deterred and former Cherries winger Matt Ritchie had the final say.
The 29-year-old smashed in an exquisite half volley into the top corner, to send the Newcastle supporters into raptures and seal a precious point.
The stalemate means Bournemouth move up into 11th place on 40 points, whilst Newcastle remain in 13th on 34 points.