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Posted Sat 21 Mar 15 at 14:00 PM

AFC Bournemouth 3-0 Middlesbrough

AFC Bournemouth moved to the top of the Sky Bet Championship with an important 3-0 win against Middlesbrough.

The Cherries produced one of their best performances of the season to go ahead of Boro, who had beaten Ipswich Town and Derby County ahead of their visit to the Goldsands Stadium.

Eddie Howe’s team took the lead in the 12th minute, with Yann Kermorgant scoring from the penalty spot after Callum Wilson had been fouled in the box by Tomas Kalas.

The home side went on to dominate possession and create further chances in the first half, but it wasn’t until after the break that their dominance truly paid off.

Harry Arter’s superb strike put daylight between the two sides before substitute Brett Pitman sealed the victory with an emphatic penalty.

They recaptured top spot ahead of fixtures involving Watford and Norwich City, which are set to be played later this afternoon.

The Cherries had taken the lead in all but one of their home league games before kick-off and once again went about making a quick start.

Dimi Konstantopoulos had to make a full-stretch save to deny Kermorgant from a free-kick after just 90 seconds and was then picking the ball out of the back of the net shortly afterwards.

Wilson had gotten away from Kalas on the byline with some clever footwork, only for the on loan Chelsea defender to leave a leg hanging to bring him down.

Kermorgant took responsibility from the penalty spot and although the goalkeeper guessed the correct way, he couldn’t prevent the Cherries going ahead in the 12th minute.

The opener gave the home side plenty of confidence, and Albert Adomah’s wild strike from distance, they went on to control the early proceedings.

Simon Francis picked out Wilson with a deep cross and having taken a touch, Kalas got back just in time to make a crucial interception before the top scorer could get a shot away.

Boro were well and truly on the backfoot at this stage and Konstantopoulos had further saves to make from Kermorgant and Matt Ritchie.

Howe’s team held a one-goal advantage at the interval and it looked as if it could prove costly if the visitors improved in the second half.

But Tommy Elphick signalled the Cherries’ intentions with a header, which required a strong stop from Konstantopoulos.

However, he could do nothing to stop Arter making it 2-0 with a thunderous strike just moments later as he added another to his personal list of goal of the season contenders.

The hosts went on to find another gear and Wilson was once again fouled in the area, with referee Anthony Taylor pointing to the spot.

Wilson went to pick up the ball, but he stepped aside for Pitman, in a role reversal from last weekend's match against Blackpool, and he made no mistake from 12 yards out.

Cherries: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie (Smith 66), Surman, Arter, Pugh, Kermorgant (Pitman 61), Wilson (Rantie 86).

Unused substitutes: Camp, Ward, MacDonald, Fraser.

Booked: Arter

Goals: Kermorgant (pen 12), Arter (48), Pitman (pen 74)

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Nsue (Forshaw 55), Kalas, Gibson, Friend, Adomah, Leadbitter (Whitehead 79), Clayton (Kike 55), Reach, Tomlin, Bamford.

Unused substitutes: Ripley, Vossen, Omeruo, Wildschut.

Booked: Clayton, Nuse

Attendance: 10,998 (including 1,345 Middlesbrough supporters)

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