Newcastle United made it five games unbeaten with a convincing 4-1 victory over a relegation threatened Bournemouth side at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The home side went into the game needing a win as their battle to survive relegation continued, yet were architects of their own downfall as Jefferson Lerma gifted Dwight Gayle an opening within five minutes, before Sean Longstaff's impressive finish doubled Newcastle's lead prior to the break.
Joshua King had a goal rightly disallowed straight after the break, before two excellent finishes from Miguel Almiron and Valentino Lazaro made it a comfortable last 30 minutes for the visitors, despite a late consolation from Dan Gosling.
Key Talking Point
It's the Cherries fifth successive season in the Premier League, but it's looking like it could well be their last.
Eddie Howe sprung a few surprises in his starting XI, handing former Bristol City full-back Lloyd Kelly his first Premier League start, while winger Arnaut Danjuma was recalled for his first league start since December. With wide-man Ryan Fraser on his way out of the club and striker Callum Wilson serving a two-game suspension, the Cherries were left to rue the lack of attacking options, as Dominic Solanke put in another below par performance.
Not only did they look light upfront, but Howe's men were also found wanting defensively, with Jefferson Lerma punished for a poor first touch just outside his own box to allow Dwight Gayle to score, while full-back Adam Smith was beaten far to easily by the electric Allan Saint-Maximin in the build-up to the second goal.
Things didn't exactly get any better in the second-half with Dan Gosling's late consolation doing little to aid a Cherries looking a side destined for the drop.
Bournemouth Player Ratings
Starting XI: Ramsdale (7); Smith (5), Cook (6), Aké (6), Kelly (6); Brooks (7*), Billing (6), Lerma (5), Danjuma (6); King (6), Solanke (5).
Substitutes: L Cook (6), Stanislas (6), H Wilson (6), Gosling (7), Mepham (6).
He may have only lasted 60 minutes, as he continues his return from injury, but the Welshman was the only real bright spark in what was otherwise a disappointing and costly defeat. The former Sheffield United playmaker showed his trickery early on, breezing past Javier Manquillo to draw a free kick, while his stinging second-half effort rattled the crossbar in one of his side's rare attempts on goal.
With the Cherries facing the drop, Brooks could be a player that heads for the exit door with a number of top clubs likely circling for his signature.
Key Talking Point
With Newcastle all but safe from the drop, Steve Bruce made six changes from the side who were comfortably beaten by Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-final at the weekend. Andy Carroll (and sadly without his magnificent facial hair) was back on the bench, as too were Miguel Almiron and Danny Rose.
As part of Bruce's changes, young midfielder Sean Longstaff was deployed as an unlikely strike partner to Joelinton. While it seemed a strange move at first, it quickly paid off with the 22-year-old chipping in with an assist and a tidy finish before his game was cruelly cut short through injury.
His replacement Almiron was just as influential, however, notching a delightful finish early in the second half - followed by an equally as clinical finish from Lazaro - to add some gloss to what was a really impressive away performance.
Newcastle United Player Ratings
Starting XI: Dubravka; Krafth, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo; Bentaleb (7), Shelvey (9*), Longstaff (8); Gayle (7), Joelinton (6), Saint-Maximin (8).
Substitutes: Almiron (8), Carroll (6) , Lazaro (8), Hayden (N/A), Yedlin (N/A).
While it would be unlikely to see Jonjo Shelvey lining up alongside Lionel Messi any time soon, his performance on Wednesday did illustrate his undoubted talent. Despite often being infuriatingly inconsistent and erratic, the former Liverpool man was at his swashbuckling best on the south coast, pulling the strings alongside Nabil Bentaleb as Newcastle continued their fine recent form.
It may have been his French teammate Saint-Maximin providing the energy and zip that has often been lacking in the Magpies attack, but Shelvey was a surprisingly calming presence at the centre of the park, providing the assist for Newcastle's fourth goal.
If he only he turned up every week.