English Premier League

Newcastle United 2-2 Bournemouth

Newcastle United 2-2 Bournemouth. Matt Ritchie’s first Premier League goal since 2020 earned Newcastle a dramatic point and denied Bournemouth their first top-flight victory of 2024.

Eddie Howe’s team were trailing going into added time, but second-half substitute Ritchie converted from close range after the visitors failed to adequately deal with Bruno Guimaraes’ inswinging delivery.

Bournemouth will be deeply frustrated not to have claimed all three points at St James’ Park after twice taking the lead in an entertaining and, at times, chaotic second period.

Dominic Solanke capitalised on a Martin Dubravka slip to break the deadlock, only for Newcastle to equalise seven minutes later through Anthony Gordon’s contentious penalty.

Antoine Semenyo appeared to have earned Bournemouth their first victory since 26 December with a thunderous finish from the edge of the penalty area, but winger Ritchie had the final say against his former club.

Newcastle stay seventh in the table, while Bournemouth move nine points clear of the bottom three.

Manchester United’s pursuit of Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth has dominated the headlines on Tyneside this week, with Howe saying on Friday that he wants a “quick resolution” to the issue.

The fear is that speculation over Ashworth, who was in attendance on Saturday, could have a destabilising effect on Howe’s team as they seek an immediate route back into Europe this season.

Newcastle were indebted to goalkeeper Dubravka in the first half as their defence was repeatedly stretched by Bournemouth’s front three.

Dubravka’s luck deserted him for Bournemouth’s opener, the Slovakia international losing his footing and gifting Solanke an easy tap-in – moments after Miguel Almiron had blazed over the crossbar for Newcastle.

Newcastle’s penalty was awarded following a lengthy review by the video assistant referee (VAR), which centred on whether Adam Smith’s tug on Fabian Schar’s shirt was inside the box and if the Switzerland international had been in an offside position.

Referee Michael Salisbury eventually pointed to the spot and Gordon made no mistake, beating Neto low to his left.

Bournemouth remained a threat, however, and Semenyo’s strike – the 12th goal Newcastle have conceded in their past four home matches – left the hosts staring at the prospect of a third home defeat in four top-flight games.

But Ritchie, who has been reduced to a bit-part role since Newcastle’s Saudi Arabia-backed takeover in 2022, earned a point from close range.

Despite looking the more accomplished of the two teams early on, Bournemouth were given a huge let-off inside 10 minutes when Neto’s attempted clearance struck the onrushing Gordon and bounced past his left-hand post.

They could have taken the lead after that, though, as Dubravka saved well from Marcus Tavernier before twice denying Solanke from close range.

There was an element of fortune about Solanke’s opener but the striker’s 14th league goal of the season was no less than Andoni Iraola’s team deserved.

Bournemouth responded well to Gordon’s penalty, and Semenyo’s fourth goal of the season left them on course for their first league double over Newcastle – but they could not see the game out.

Bournemouth have lost 19 points from winning positions in the top flight this season – only Brentford, with 26, have lost more.

Bournemouth host champions Manchester City on 24 February but, with matches against Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton in the next few weeks, Cherries fans will be confident of seeing their team return to winning ways sooner rather than later.

source – BBC

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