Dom at the double on memorable day for Smith
- Matt Donohue
Jamal Lowe’s opener and Dominic Solanke’s double earned AFC Bournemouth a 3-0 victory against Coventry City at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Easter Monday.
It capped a memorable day for Cherries defender Adam Smith who played his 300th game for the club and climbed above Eddie Howe in the list of all-time record appearance-makers.
Smith marked his 271st league game for the Cherries by providing the assist for Lowe’s 12th-minute goal, his delightful cross headed home by the striker.
And Solanke bagged his 26th and 27th goals of the season either side of half-time as the Cherries ended a run of three games without a victory.
Huddersfield’s 2-0 win against Middlesbrough in the lunchtime kick-off had seen the Terriers cut the gap on Scott Parker’s team to just one point.
But the Cherries’ exploits saw them register a first victory in the city of Coventry since 1963 to re-establish a four-point lead in second place with five games remaining.
Lowe and Jaidon Anthony were restored to the starting line-up as head coach Parker made two changes following the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough on Good Friday.
The pair replaced Phil Billing and Todd Cantwell who were named among the Cherries substitutes with Chris Mepham returning to the bench.
Coventry striker Viktor Gyokeres drew a fine save from Mark Travers after beating the offside trap in the sixth minute.
The Swedish frontman’s angled drive across the Cherries goalkeeper was parried past the upright by the big Irishman.
And after the resultant corner had fallen to Todd Kane, his shot from 30 yards was blocked by Anthony.
Anthony’s clever back-heel to Smith started the move which saw the Cherries take the lead through Lowe in the 12th minute.
It set Smith galloping down the left flank before the defender delivered a delicate cross which Lowe firmly headed home off the underside of the crossbar.
As the Sky Blues looked for a quick response, Kane dragged his effort wide after being picked out by Gyokeres.
Jefferson Lerma’s timely interception prevented Callum O’Hare from pulling the trigger from a dangerous position midway through the first half.
The visitors were indebted to Travers for preserving their lead when he kept out O’Hare’s low drive with another fine save after Gustavo Hamer’s pass had dissected the Cherries defence.
Hamer was on hand to unleash a thunderous shot from 25 yards after the resultant corner had fallen for him, his effort deflected past the post.
Travers was in the right place to pouch a close-range header from Gyokeres after Jake Bidwell’s centre had picked him out.
The Cherries doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Solanke took his tally for the season to 26, including 25 in the Championship.
Lerma showed great vision to roll the ball first time into Solanke’s feet after the Colombia international had seized on Dom Hyam’s attempted clearance.
And after Solanke had made his way into the 18-yard box and taken aim, his shot struck Michael Rose and looped into the back of the net with goalkeeper Simon Moore wrong footed by the deflection.
Gyokeres’s speculative strike cannoned off Lloyd Kelly early in the second half before the Cherries extended their lead ten minutes after the break.
Ryan Christie’s delightful pass took out two Coventry defenders on the edge of the 18-yard box and teed up Solanke for a shooting chance.
And the 24-year-old made no mistake, burying a powerful right-footed strike out of the reach of Moore and into the bottom corner of the net.
Parker shuffled his pack by making two substitutions, Billing replacing Lowe after 58 minutes and Mepham coming on for Laird six minutes later.
The third goal appeared to knock the wind out of Coventry’s sails with the Cherries enjoying long periods of possession after they had gone 3-0 ahead.
Martyn Waghorn brought another excellent save out of Travers, the Cherries goalkeeper diving to his right to acrobatically push the Sky Blues substitute’s effort over the crossbar.
Solanke, set up by Lerma’s through ball, made the most of some hesitancy in the Coventry defence, only to clip his shot wide having outstripped his marker.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Laird (Mepham, 64), Phillips, Lloyd Kelly, Smith, Cook (Pearson, 84), Lerma, Anthony, Lowe (Billing, 58), Solanke, Christie.
Unused subs: Brady, Cantwell, Dembele, Woodman (g/k).
Coventry City: Moore, Rose, Hyam, Bidwell (McFadzean, 62), Kane, Allen (Waghorn, 62), Sheaf, Hamer (Liam Kelly, 76), Maatsen, O’Hare, Gyokeres.
Unused subs: Jones, Tavares, Howley, Wilson (g/k).
Referee: Matthew Donohue.