AFC Bournemouth piled the pressure on under-fire Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren with a 3-1 Premier League triumph at a disgruntled St James’ Park.
Despite releasing a statement in the press before the game to show their support for McClaren, Newcastle produced a poor performance and were deservedly beaten, with Steven Taylor’s own goal and strikes from Josh King and Charlie Daniels eclipsing Ayoze Perez’s effort.
King’s cross was turned in by Taylor after 28 minutes and Bournemouth proceeded to dictate the play as they picked up back-to-back top-flight wins for the first time in 2016.
Having had a hand in the opener, King doubled the visitors’ tally 20 minutes from time with a powerful close-range finish, while Perez’s goal provided a rare bright moment for Newcastle before Daniels had the final say at the death.
With just 10 games left to save their season and a trip to leaders Leicester City up next, Newcastle have a major battle on their hands to beat the drop.
Without Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba, McClaren paired Taylor and Jamaal Lascelles in central defence, while Andros Townsend failed a late fitness test and missed out.
Max Gradel made his second straight start for Bournemouth after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury and Eddie Howe selected King alongside Benik Afobe in attack, but influential midfielder Harry Arter was absent through injury.
Despite the gloom on Tyneside in the midst of a dismal campaign, Newcastle were initially spurred on by a roaring home crowd and Jonjo Shelvey lashed a low shot wide from outside the box.
While there was urgency in attack, the hosts were static at the back and both Gradel and Afobe were given space and time in the penalty area as Bournemouth took early shots at goal.
Howe’s charges controlled the game and deservedly took the lead when Gradel danced his way out of a crowd of players and released King, whose cross hit the leg of the sliding Taylor and rolled into the net.
Rather than coming out fighting after the break, Newcastle were immediately exposed by Gradel, who was only a yard wide with his low drive from outside the box.
Gradel was a thorn in Newcastle’s side all game and the Ivorian had a strong claim for a penalty waved away when he was felled in the box, while at the other end substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic had Newcastle’s best attempt of the half when he curled a sweetly struck 20-yard shot just wide of Artur Boruc’s goal.
Daryl Janmaat forced Boruc into his first difficult save of the game with a fierce shot from a tight angle as Newcastle sought a way back into the contest, but then afforded King too much space in the box as he rifled home a second from 10 yards.
Perez latched onto Shelvey’s throughball to reduce the arrears, but Daniels sauntered through Newcastle’s defence and slotted past Rob Elliot in stoppage time to compound McClaren’s woes as the home fans made their feelings known at the final whistle.
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