English Premiership

Cook, Afobe ease Bournemouth drop fears

2016-03-02 07:09
West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon, right, and Bournemouth's Steve Cook (AP)

Bournemouth - Steve Cook and Benik Afobe scored in each half as Bournemouth enhanced their chances of avoiding Premier League relegation with a 2-0 victory over south-coast rivals Southampton on Tuesday.

Cook volleyed home in the 31st minute and $14.5 million record signing Afobe headed in 11 minutes from time as Eddie Howe's side ended a run of three league games without a win.

It was Bournemouth's first league win over Southampton in 58 years and took them eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Southampton, who saw a six-game unbeaten run ended by Chelsea at the weekend, remain seventh, four points off the European places.

Encouraged by an improved display in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Watford, Bournemouth started with purpose and visiting goalkeeper Fraser Forster had to save with his feet from Matt Ritchie inside the first minute.

The early storm passed and Southampton began to create inroads, Sadio Mane shooting over from an angle on the left, but just beyond the half hour Bournemouth went ahead.

Forster could only palm Ritchie's right-wing free-kick into the air and centre-back Cook showed the agility of a number nine to readjust his body and hook home a volley from inside the six-yard box.

Bournemouth's Ivorian forward Max Gradel, making his first start since August after a knee ligament injury, threatened to make it 2-0 with a shot that whistled over the bar.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman took reparative action before half-time, introducing midfielder Steven Davis in place of centre-back Maya Yoshida and abandoning his back three.

The start of the second half was delayed by five minutes after fourth official Kevin Friend passed out and banged his head on the Dean Court dug-out. Friend was taken to hospital and Dean Treleaven took over.

A harmless shot from Graziano Pelle was all Southampton could muster in the second half and Afobe put them out of their misery in the 79th minute when he beat Forster to Ritchie's in-swinging free-kick.

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