MIDDLESBROUGH could not make it three wins on the bounce in their crucial week in the Championship as Bournemouth eased to victory.
Penalties from Yann Kermorgant and Brett Pitman either side of a Harry Arter thunderbolt sealed a convincing win for Bournemouth, who went top of the Championship before the 3pm kick-offs.
Middlesbrough’s defence is the best in the division but there was little evidence on their first-half horror show at the Goldsands Stadium.
As early as the first minute, there was frailty not seen this season in the Championship from Boro, with George Friend barging into Matt Ritchie. Kermorgant’s resulting free-kick was pushed away by Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Such indiscipline was punished in the 12th minute when Tomas Kalas, playing centre-half due to the absence of both Dani Ayala and Jonathan Woodgate, hauled down Callum Wilson in the area. Kermorgant made no mistake from the spot.
Wilson and Kermorgant went close with chances after that as Boro struggled to get any consistency going, although Adam Reach did bring a save from Cherries goalkeeper Artur Boruc when he flicked goalwards from Patrick Bamford’s cross.
Too many passes went astray for the Teessiders as Bournemouth sprayed the ball around with ease, and Aitor Karanka’s side were fortunate to go in at half-time only one goal down.
Bournemouth got off to the perfect start to the second half when Arter fired a loose ball goalwards, arcing perfectly past Konstantopoulos and in off the post.
Kalas cleared after getting into a mix-up with Konstantopoulos, before Ritchie spooned over from point-blank range as the Cherries piled forward.
Middlesbrough switched to a 3-5-2 formation when they brought Kike on after 55 minutes, but it had little effect, and Bournemouth extended their lead further on 74 minutes when referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot when he believed Grant Leadbitter had pulled down Arter. Pitman rammed in the spot kick.
From there, it was a long way back for Middlesbrough, both figuratively and literally.
Credit: NorthEast Echo
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