Matt Ritchie scored a last-gasp equaliser for Newcastle United to secure a 2-2 draw against his former club Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
On a blustery afternoon on the south coast, the hosts almost took the lead on 11 minutes when Ryan Fraser’s shot from a tight angle struck the foot of Martin Dubravka’s left-hand post. In a half low on quality, Salomon Rondon produced a moment of magic in the fifth minute of added time, his stunning 25-yard free kick giving the Magpies the lead at the interval.
Bournemouth began the second half on the front foot, and were awarded a penalty just two minutes after the restart when Federico Fernandez was adjudged to have pulled down Nathan Ake from a corner, with Josh King converting the resulting spot kick.
Both sides had chances to take the lead following the penalty but the Cherries had the lion’s share of them. It looked for all the world as though they had gone ahead through a deft Callum Wilson header after 71 minutes, but Paul Dummett produced an acrobatic goal line clearance to keep the game level.
Eddie Howe’s side wouldn’t be denied though, King grabbing his second of the game nine minutes from time, but Matt Ritchie absolutely smashed home a first time finish deep into added time to see Newcastle earn a point at the death.
Key Talking Point
After entering half time a goal behind, Eddie Howe would’ve been delighted with his side’s reaction in the second half. King’s brace game them a deserved lead, but the chances they passed up proved costly.
The Cherries had a number of opportunities to take the lead before King’s second of the game nine minutes from time, but some wayward finishing and last-ditch defending from the visitors meant it was just the one goal lead as the game entered the final seconds.
Fraser be creating raft of chances for Bournemouth but his teammates are useless.
— Papa Uwa (@Bishop_Yayo) March 16, 2019
What will hurt Bournemouth even more is that former player Ritchie scored the late leveller with virtually the last kick of the game, seeing them drop two points that would’ve taken them to the heralded 40-point mark, which is usually the target for Premier League safety.
Starting XI: Boruc (6); Clyne (6), Mepham (7), Ake (6), Daniels (6); Ibe (5), Lerma (6), Brooks (6), Fraser (6); Wilson (6), King (8*).
Substitutes: Solanke (5).
Knocking in Bournemouth’s equaliser from the spot before scoring his second from time, Josh King was the host’s main threat at the Vitality Stadium, with his movement off the ball causing Newcastle a number of problems, while the forward’s timing of his passes in key areas of the pitch was usually on point.
The Norwegian international could also have had an assist to his name after 11 minutes had Fraser’s effort rebounded in off the post rather than out.
Key Talking Point
After taking the lead through a fine Rondon free kick when Miguel Almiron’s lung-busting run was brought to an end by a cheap foul by Jordon Ibe, Rafael Benitez would be furious with the award of Bournemouth’s penalty minutes after the restart.
Certainly in the category of ‘soft’, referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot, leading to the equaliser for the hosts and turning the game’s momentum in the process.
How does Mike Dean consistently get away with making himself the centre of attention for every match he officiates? Never seen someone with as big an ego
— Evan Kiropoulos (@evan_kiropoulos) March 16, 2019
Ritchie’s late equaliser will certainly soften the blow of the penalty decision for the Magpies, but
with Newcastle still in the midst of the relegation battle, where every point between now and the end of the season is vital in order to avoid the drop, the visitors will feel that they should be leaving with three points rather than one.
Starting XI: Dubravka (6); Yedlin (6), Fernandez (5), Lejeune (6), Dummett (7), Ritchie (8*); Perez (6), Diame (5), Hayden (6), Almiron (6); Rondon (7).
Substitutes: Atsu (6), Muto (N/A), Shelvey (N/A).
A man becoming accustomed to his wing-back position, Matt Ritchie was in perpetual motion for the visitors all afternoon down the left flank, while he was one of the few players whose crossing wasn’t affected by the blustery conditions.
He also stepped up with a fine finished in added time against his former club, which is what his efforts deserved.
FULL-TIME Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 16, 2019
GOALLLLLL NEWCASTLE EQUALISE IN THE 94TH MINUTE!!!
MATT RITCHIE WITH THE GOAL AGAINST HIS OLD CLUB!
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) March 16, 2019
Both sides return to action following the international break, with Bournemouth away to Leicester while Newcastle travel to the capital to face an Arsenal side who are in fine form at the Emirates.