Howe left star­ing into abyss after rout

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Jim White at the Vi­tal­ity Sta­dium

Last Thurs­day, po­lice de­clared a ma­jor in­ci­dent as Bournemout­h beach was be­spoiled by thou­sands of out-of-town­ers. Six days later, an­other bunch of vis­i­tors ad­min­is­tered a wreck­ing ball to the place. This time it was New­cas­tle United, who headed north after leav­ing Bournemout­h’s Premier League sta­tus smeared across the sand. Ma­rooned in the rel­e­ga­tion zone, with the tough­est of run-ins left to ne­go­ti­ate, the des­ti­na­tion for Eddie Howe’s team looks in­creas­ingly like the Championsh­ip.

It may well have been an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance by New­cas­tle, the sort that will have its pu­ta­tive own­ers purring. But it was helped by the fact that Bournemout­h’s play­ers did so lit­tle to re­sist the on­slaught. Out­paced, out-thought, out­fought from the kick-off, they seemed re­signed to en­sur­ing this would be their 16th de­feat in their last 21 Premier League games. Some­one needs to point out to them that, after the now tra­di­tional Black Lives Matter ges­ture be­fore kick-off, they should get up off their knees.

The game was barely five min­utes old be­fore Jef­fer­son Lerma was caught dawdling in pos­ses­sion. With New­cas­tle’s man­ager Steve Bruce yelling to “go get him”, Sean Longstaff eas­ily won the ball and passed through the back-ped­alling Bournemout­h de­fence to Dwight Gayle. He ad­vanced be­fore shoot­ing smoothly past Aaron Rams­dale.

As Howe ur­gently scrib­bled ob­ser­va­tions in his note­book, New­cas­tle took com­plete con­trol. Smooth, flu­ent, ac­cu­rate in the pass, the vis­i­tors were ev­ery­thing Bournemout­h were not. Not least in the tricksy run un­leashed by Al­lan Saint-Max­imin, which took him past three Bournemout­h de­fend­ers be­fore he passed back to Longstaff, who ham­mered the ball beyond Rams­dale.

“I was think­ing about not play­ing him, but he bounced into train­ing and he was so full of him­self that I had to,” said Bruce.

“Games are feel­ing less with­out a crowd and that is dam­ag­ing us greatly,” was Howe’s ex­pla­na­tion.

Saint-Max­imin again went for a dash down the wing and fed the ball to the New­cas­tle sub­sti­tute Miguel Alm­iron, who hit a de­light­ful shot into the cor­ner of Rams­dale’s goal. Valentino Lazaro added the fourth. Dan Gosling’s late con­so­la­tion changed noth­ing.

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