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Christie off the mark as Cherries claim convincing win

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

James Linington

Ryan Christie’s maiden goal for AFC Bournemouth paved the way for a convincing 3-0 win against ten-man Cardiff City as the Cherries re-established a four-point lead at the top of the Championship.

Christie opened the scoring after 25 minutes, his effort from the edge of the box taking a deflection off Bluebirds defender Mark McGuinness before finding the back of the net.

Dominic Solanke, who provided the assist for Christie’s goal, added a second, the striker taking his tally for the season to 19 with a composed finish after 68 minutes.

Jefferson Lerma looked to get in on the act but his thunderous drive seven minutes from time was credited as an Alex Smithies own goal after the midfielder's shot had hit the underside of the crossbar and struck the Cardiff goalkeeper before crossing the line.

Earlier, Cardiff had been reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time when midfielder Leandro Bacuna received a straight red card for a dreadful two-footed lunge on Phil Billing.

Skipper Lloyd Kelly and frontman Jaidon Anthony both returned to the Cherries starting line-up as head coach Scott Parker made two changes from the 1-0 win at QPR on Monday.

Kelly came in for Wales international Chris Mepham, while Anthony replaced Junior Stanislas, the pair both named among the Cherries substitutes.

As the Cherries made a fast start, Phil Billing’s cross-shot was saved by Alex Smithies at his near post before Lerma’s piledriver flew over the crossbar.

But the hosts were indebted to Mark Travers for a stunning save in the fifth minute, the Cherries goalkeeper parrying Kieffer Moore’s header from point-blank range.

Travers added another memorable save to his collection when he somehow managed to claw away the Wales international’s effort from inside the six-yard box after a long throw from Will Vaulks had been helped on by Mark McGuinness.

Lewis Cook, teed up by Solanke’s square pass in the 12th minute, was closed down by Curtis Nelson as he prepared to shoot, a promising position ending with just a corner.

Solanke’s sharp turn and shot was cleared by Bacuna before Jordan Zemura required a spell of treatment after taking an awkward fall in the middle of the pitch.

Christie drew first blood for the Cherries, the Scotsman opening his goal account for the club following his summer move from Celtic.

Solanke provided the assist by rolling the ball into Christie’s path on the edge of the 18-yard box, his left-foot shot hitting McGuinness to wrong foot Cardiff goalkeeper Smithies.  

Travers again came to the Cherries’ rescue when he made another top-drawer save to deny Moore, although the hosts would have been incandescent with rage if the Bluebirds striker had levelled.

Ryan Giles, who supplied the skidding, low cross which Moore met seven yards from goal, was a good three yards offside when he had been picked out on the left wing.

The Bluebirds were reduced to ten men when Bacuna received a straight red card for an X-rated challenge on Billing in first-half injury time.

As the Dane looked to mount a swift counter-attack, Dutchman Bacuna launched himself two-footed into the back of Billing, cynically bringing down the Cherries midfielder, leaving referee James Linington with the easiest of decisions. 

As the Cherries looked to make the most of their numerical advantage at the start of the second half, several forays into Cardiff territory failed to have the desired effect, the visitors defending doggedly.

Bluebirds striker Moore, who appeared to have taken a knock in the first half, was replaced by James Collins after 59 minutes, Cardiff’s second substitution following the half-time switch of Isaak Davies for Mark Harris.

Lerma outjumped the Cardiff defence to meet Anthony’s 64th-minute corner with a towering header, his effort going over the top of the crossbar.

Solanke doubled the Cherries’ lead with a finely-executed 19th goal of the season after trading passes with Billing in the 68th minute.

The striker clipped the ball into Billing whose delightful backheel found his team-mate, Solanke taking a touch to draw Smithies before finishing with aplomb into the bottom corner.

Although Smithies saved from Billing and McGuinness blocked Christie’s follow-up effort, the Cherries extended their lead from the resultant corner seven minutes from time.

Lerma's rasping effort after Christie’s corner had only been half cleared by the Bluebirds defence hit the underside of the crossbar and hit Smithies, the goalkeeper unfortunate to be credited with an own goal, while the Colombian was robbed of his first goal of the season. 

Christie fired narrowly past the post in the closing stages, while Jamal Lowe had an effort cleared off the line by Curtis Nelson.

AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Stacey, Kelly, Cahill, Zemura, Billing, Lerma, L Cook, Christie, Solanke (Lowe, 81), Anthony (Stanislas, 69, Marcondes, 83).

Unused subs: Mepham, Davis, Pearson, Nyland (g/k).

Booked: Solanke.

Cardiff City: Smithies, Ng, McGuinness, Flint, Nelson, Giles, Vaulks, Ralls, Harris (Davies, h/t, Colwill, 75), Bacuna, Moore (Collins, 59).

Unused subs: Morrison, Pack, Brown, Phillips (g/k).

Booked: Harris, Nelson.

Sent off: Bacuna.

Referee: James Linington.

Attendance: 8,942 (including 967 away supporters).

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