Relegation blow despite last-day victory
- Chris Kavanagh
AFC Bournemouth’s five-year stay in the Premier League came to end despite Eddie Howe’s team finishing the season with a 3-1 win at Everton.
Joshua King’s penalty and goals from Dominic Solanke and Junior Stanislas proved in vain at Goodison Park.
Their fate was sealed elsewhere as relegation rivals Aston Villa secured the point they needed to stay up, the Midlanders drawing 1-1 at West Ham.
Howe’s team will be joined in the Championship next season by Watford, the Hornets going down 3-2 against Arsenal.
The Cherries reached the break leading 2-1 and were rewarded for taking the game to their hosts during an impressive first-half showing.
King drew first blood for Howe’s team in the 13th minute, the striker keeping a cool head to score from the penalty spot after Richarlison had handled.
And although Moise Kean restored parity four minutes before the break, Solanke’s header in first-half stoppage time put the visitors back in front.
Substitute Stanislas came off the bench to add a third goal for the Cherries ten minutes from time but it proved scant consolation as events elsewhere conspired against Howe’s team.
Adam Smith made a welcome return to the Cherries starting line-up as boss Howe made three changes following the 2-0 defeat by Southampton.
Smith, sidelined since suffering concussion in the 0-0 draw with Tottenham, came in at right-back with Dan Gosling and Solanke also earning recalls.
Jack Stacey, Phil Billing and Stanislas dropped down to the bench and were joined by Nathan Ake who returned having missed the past two games with a groin injury.
The visitors made an encouraging start and Joshua King’s darting run down the left ended with Diego Rico’s cross just eluding Solanke.
King was again in the thick of the action after Rico’s centre had fallen invitingly for him at the far post, the Norway international’s angled drive saved by Jordan Pickford.
And as play quickly switched to the opposite end, Cherries goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was forced to beat away a stinging drive from Seamus Coleman.
Pickford made a fine one-handed save to keep out Callum Wilson’s ninth-minute shot following good build-up play involving Solanke and King.
The Cherries were awarded a penalty after Brooks’s 12th-minute free-kick had been handled by Richarlison.
And although Pickford guessed correctly by diving to his left, King’s well-directed strike found the bottom corner.
Just minutes later, a second penalty appeal fell on deaf ears after a Brooks shot had hit Lucas Digne on the hand with VAR ruling it had been unintentional.
Lloyd Kelly did well to block Richarlison’s 20-yarder before Ramsdale spread himself to save superbly after Theo Walcott had taken aim from an acute angle.
As the Cherries went in search of a second goal, Pickford gathered a header from Callum Wilson after another probing cross from Rico.
Walcott teed up Gylfi Sigurdsson after surging into enemy territory but the midfielder lifted his effort high over the crossbar in the 35th minute.
However, there was no reprieve for the visitors four minutes before the break when Kean levelled for the Toffees.
The young Italian was afforded a tap-in at the far post after Coleman and Walcott had combined to create the opening.
Kean then saw his tame header from a Digne centre comfortably saved by Ramsdale before the Cherries restored their lead on the stroke of half-time.
Lerma and Solanke both jumped to meet a dangerous free-kick from Rico, the goal eventually credited to the former Chelsea and Liverpool frontman.
Pickford showed great reactions to parry Callum Wilson’s venomous strike at the start of the second half, the striker latching on to Ramsdale’s huge clearance.
Sigurdsson’s timely challenge prevented Brooks from testing Pickford after the Cherries midfielder had embarked on a driving run to the edge of the 18-yard box.
As Everton pressed for a second equaliser, Kelly blocked an effort from Kean before Ramsdale’s pouched a header from the Everton striker.
A double substitution saw Solanke and Brooks replaced by Billing and Stanislas after 64 minutes.
Gosling fired wide following a flowing move from the Cherries before Leighton Baines’s crucial challenge denied Callum Wilson a shooting chance in the 75th minute.
Michael Keane was booked for a foul on Callum Wilson, the resultant free-kick taken by Rico cleared by the Toffees.
The Cherries extended their lead through Stanislas ten minutes from time, the winger firing under Pickford from a tight angle following a great one-two with King.
King made way two minutes from time with Harry Wilson replacing the Norwegian who left the pitch following an indefatigable shift.
Harry Wilson’s effort had Pickford scrambling across his line but flew wide before referee Chris Kavanagh brought proceedings to a close after four added minutes.