King Anthony stars in win over Blues
- James Linington
A polished first-half display paved the way for AFC Bournemouth to register a 3-1 win over Birmingham City – the Cherries’ ninth successive victory in all competitions against the Blues.
Goals from Ryan Christie and Dominic Solanke gave the Cherries a deserved 2-0 lead at the interval with Scott Parker’s team also hitting the woodwork on two occasions.
However, after Jefferson Lerma had seen red following a clash with Onel Hernandez midway through the second half, the Blues soon halved the deficit.
But although Hernandez’s heavily-deflected effort made it 2-1, man of the match Jaidon Anthony struck 14 minutes from time to seal the points for the hosts.
Anthony, who took his personal tally for the season to seven, had a hand in both goals in the first half and also crossed for Phil Billing to hit the post with a header.
New signings Nat Phillips and Todd Cantwell were both handed their league debuts as head coach Parker made two changes following the 1-0 win at Barnsley in the Championship.
Phillips and Cantwell had both featured in the FA Cup defeat by Boreham Wood on Sunday after completing their respective loan moves from Liverpool and Norwich City on deadline day.
The Cherries made an encouraging start with Phillips heading narrowly wide from a Christie free-kick inside the opening 60 seconds.
And after forcing a flurry of corners, a stretching Solanke just failed to connect with Cantwell’s dangerous cross from the left.
Phillips then flicked Lyle Taylor’s header over his own crossbar after the former Cherries striker had climbed to meet Gary Gardner’s ball back across goal.
Jefferson Lerma bust a gut to run half the length of the pitch in an attempt to charge down Neil Etheridge’s clearance after Maxime Colin’s backpass had put the Blues goalkeeper under a bit of pressure.
Solanke and Cantwell combined to set up a chance for Christie, the Scotsman seeing his delicate effort beat Etheridge but come back off the crossbar.
However, the Cherries were not to be denied just seconds later, the opening goal owing much to Jaidon Anthony who recycled the ball near the byline after Christie’s initial shot had hit the woodwork.
Anthony’s persistence paid off as he found Jordan Zemura who, in turn, slipped the ball into the path of Phil Billing, his cross to Christie swept home by the Scotland international from around eight yards.
The hosts appealed in vain for a penalty after the ball had struck the arm of Kristian Pedersen as he challenged Solanke, referee James Linington deeming it not to have been deliberate.
Solanke doubled the Cherries’ lead in the 31st minute with Anthony and Christie, two players who were instrumental in the hosts’ rampant first-half showing, both involved in the build-up.
Anthony was in the right place to gather the ball after it had slipped away from Ivan Sunjic, the winger threading the ball to Christie in space.
And after his cleverly-disguised pass had foxed the Blues defence, Solanke fastened on to the ball and finished with arrow-like precision into the bottom corner for his 20th goal of the season.
Pedersen then lost possession near the halfway line and was booked for hauling back Solanke, the Blues defender spared a red card as team-mate Colin was behind him.
Anthony was again in the thick of the action, his delightful cross picking out Billing whose header had Etheridge beaten all ends up but hit the base of the post.
Etheridge saved comfortably from Anthony's 20-yarder before an opening period dominated by the hosts ended with Pedersen failing to get on the end of a Jordan Graham free-kick.
The Cherries were indebted to Mark Travers for preserving their 2-0 lead, the goalkeeper parrying Gardner’s bullet header from a Jeremie Bela cross seven minutes into the second half.
A trio of substitutions saw Lukas Jutkiewicz replace Scott Hogan for the Blues in the 54th minute and Siriki Dembele and Lewis Cook come on for Christie and Cantwell five minutes later.
A flashpoint midway through the second half resulted in Lerma receiving his marching orders and Blues’ second substitute Onel Hernandez earning a booking.
Lerma’s poor challenge on Hernandez sparked a shoving match between the pair with referee Linington deciding to send off the Cherries player and book the Blues man.
The visitors halved the deficit in the 69th minute when Hernandez’s shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection off Phillips to completely wrong-foot Travers.
Travers then distinguished himself by making a top-drawer save to keep out Jutkiewicz’s effort from close range, the Cherries goalkeeper pushing his shot around the post.
Anthony was finally rewarded with a goal his excellent performance deserved, the young winger again displaying great endeavour.
His probing run into the Blues 18-yard box looked destined to come to nothing after he was surrounded by three visiting defenders.
But Anthony stuck to his task and fired the loose ball past Etheridge after it had fallen kindly for him following a challenge.
Travers, who must have run Anthony close for the man-of-the-match plaudits, kept out a thunderous drive from Sunjic in the dying seconds.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Stacey, Phillips, Kelly, Zemura, Cantwell (Cook, 59), Lerma, Billing (Moore, 87), Christie (Dembele, 59), Solanke, Anthony.
Unused subs: Mepham, Pearson, Cahill, Woodman (g/k).
Sent off: Lerma.
Birmingham City: Etheridge, Colin, Pedersen, Mengi (Hernandez, 63), Bela, Sunjic, Gardner, Bacuna, Graham (Woods, 89), Taylor, Hogan (Jutkiewicz, 54).
Unused subs: James, Walker, Campbell, Trueman (g/k).
Booked: Gardner, Pedersen, Graham, Hernandez, Sunjic.
Referee: James Linington.