Rampant Cherries paint the town red
- Simon Hooper
AFC Bournemouth turned on the style to register an emphatic 3-0 win over fellow Championship high-fliers Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.
A polished performance from Scott Parker’s team saw them score three times in the first 46 minutes in one of their most impressive displays of the season.
Jaidon Anthony started the ball rolling in the 19th minute when he swept home the opener to round off an outstanding team move involving five players.
Jefferson Lerma doubled the lead with an opportunist strike in the 31st minute before Dominic Solanke’s sublime backheeled effort made it 3-0 just seconds after the break.
Solanke, who netted twice when the Cherries triumphed 3-0 against the Terriers in October, took his goal tally for the season to 24.
The win saw the second-placed Cherries establish a six-point lead over Luton Town in third and Huddersfield who slipped to fourth following their second defeat in 19 games.
Parker’s team, who bossed proceedings for long periods in West Yorkshire, have two games in hand on the Hatters and three on the Terriers going into the international break.
Adam Smith and Philip Billing returned to the starting line-up as Cherries head coach Parker made two changes following the midweek draw with Reading.
Smith and Billing, both free from their respective suspensions, replaced Jack Stacey and Todd Cantwell who were named among the substitutes.
Huddersfield goalkeeper Lee Nicholls was forced to make a sharp save from Solanke inside the third minute.
Solanke picked up the loose ball after Anthony had charged down Matty Pearson’s clearance, the striker’s first-time effort parried by Nicholls.
Lloyd Kelly headed Danny Ward’s delicate cross behind for a corner after Ryan Christie’s wayward pass had been intercepted.
Mark Travers saved Jon Russell’s header from a Sorba Thomas corner, the Cherries goalkeeper scooping the ball away from Ward who was looking to pounce.
Christie’s teasing free kick in the tenth minute found Solanke, only for the frontman’s free header to come crashing back off the crossbar.
Anthony drew first blood in the 19th minute, the 21-year-old applying the finishing touch to an outstanding team move involving no fewer than five players.
Smith dinked the ball into Jefferson Lerma who laid it into the path of Christie, his slide-rule pass sending Solanke racing down the right.
And after taking a touch, Solanke looked up and saw Anthony in acres of space, his low cross met by his team-mate who finished clinically.
As the hosts went in search of an equaliser, Harry Toffolo’s shot sailed over the crossbar before Travers saved from Ward’s header from a Duane Holmes centre.
Lerma doubled the Cherries’ lead in the 31st minute, the Colombia international netting with a canny finish from the edge of the box.
Lewis Cook and Lerma had combined to fashion an opening for Solanke with Nicholls saving bravely at the feet of the striker after he had gone through on goal.
The ball fell to Terriers defender Tom Lees who failed to control it, allowing Lerma to pounce and find the corner of the net.
As the Cherries pressed for a third goal, referee Simon Hooper turned down their claims for a penalty after Christie’s cross had appeared to hit the arm of Lees.
And as a first half dominated by the visitors drew to a close, Nicholls saved a shot from Billing while Anthony’s effort from distance was deflected for a corner.
The Cherries made the perfect start to the second half with Solanke adding a sublime third goal just seconds after the restart.
Lerma started the move with a driving run forward and pass to Anthony who slipped the ball into the path of Billing.
And after the former Huddersfield man had crossed, Solanke arrived to majestically backheel the ball past Nicholls and into the bottom corner of the net.
Matty Pearson nicked the ball off the toes of Billing after Cook’s superb pass had looked to pick out the Dane before Travers saved from the second attempt after Ward had let fly from distance.
Parker’s team enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the second half and were almost rewarded with a fourth goal when Anthony curled an effort narrowly wide of the upright after being picked out by Lerma’s excellent pass.
Christie's shot flew past the upright before Travers preserved his clean sheet with an excellent save from Poole-born Tino Anjorin from the last kick of the game.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Smith, Phillips, Kelly, Zemura, Lerma (Lowe, 83), Cook, Billing (Cantwell, 79), Christie, Solanke (Dembele, 87), Anthony.
Unused subs: Stacey, B Pearson, Cahill, Woodman (g/k).
Booked: Kelly, Christie, Lerma.
Huddersfield Town: Nicholls, Thomas, M Pearson, Lees (Colwill, h/t), Turton, Toffolo, Holmes (Anjorin, 70), Russell, Sinani (Koroma, 52), O’Brien, Ward.
Unused subs: Rhodes, Pipa, Eiting, Blackman (g/k).
Referee: Simon Hooper.