Newcastle..2 Bournemouth..1 Salomon brings back memories of Toon Army’s greatest idols
BRADLEY DACK hit a late leveller to take his season’s tally to 10 goals as a host of clubs eye up the Rovers ace.
Dack was in the right place at the right time to bundle home low and hard from close range to finally beat Rotherham keeper Marek Rodak.
The attacking midfielder, who is being tracked by Spurs and Bournemouth, showed why he is in the frame for a top-flight move.
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray said: “Bradley is a special player – a fabulous player for us – and I’m happy that he scored. He’s just turned 24 and other teams are having to really focus on him.”
But he added: “Frustration is probably the best word to sum that game up.
“The second half was good in possession, chances and shots.
“We’re just disappointed that we dropped two points. I thought we could have scored again because they were trying to hang on but it wasn’t to be.”
Five minutes before Dack’s strike the Millers had shocked their hosts – who dominated the game for long spells – by taking the lead.
Michael Smith’s header threatened a smash-and-grab result when he scored from Rotherham’s only attempt on target in the second half.
It looked a bit soft as Smith headed a well-placed Ryan Williams cross back across goal and watched it trickle over the line.
Millers boss Paul Warne said: “Blackburn deserved an equaliser but it hurts. I’m not being a baby about it but their goal was offside.
“Even so, I see it as a point gained.
“It’s a difficult place to come and for the first 20 minutes of the second half we just couldn’t get out.”
NEWCASTLE UNITED fans know all about swashbuckling displays from their No.9s.
And Salomon Rondon delivered in a fashion reminiscent of some of his illustrious predecessors.
Rafa Benitez had predicted 24 hours earlier the striker he signed on a season-long loan from West Brom would soon be banging in the goals.
Little could he have imagined the Venezuelan would repay his faith in such rip-roaring style.
Two first-half goals by Rondon earned Newcastle back-to-back wins to create some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.
Benitez hailed Rondon’s display which also had Geordie legend Alan Shearer purring.
Shearer tweeted: “Yes, big man. What a performance. Loved that second goal.”
Bournemouth played a full part in a thrilling contest but for the second week in a row they played well without coming away with anything.
After Jefferson Lerma reduced the deficit in the sixth minute of first-half injury time the
Cherries looked capable of notching a third straight win on the road. And the
Toon were forced to defend frantically after the break.
Gosling had a goal ruled out, while
Jordon Ibe missed a sitter late on.
But Newcastle, inspired by Rondon, had a cutting edge which had been lacking in recent weeks.
“I am really happy,” said the Toon’s new goalscoring hero. “We needed this and we played really well. That’s how we have to keep working and fighting and playing like that to stay up.”
Benitez will have got a real kick out of Rondon’s opening goal. It was the first time Newcastle had not scored at St James’ Park this season from a header. And it was also the first from a player in the starting line-up since the opening day of the campaign. Rondon has taken his time to make an impact.
But his all-action performance will have brought back fond memories of some of the Toon’s great centre-forwards of yesteryear.
His first in the seventh minute was a real poacher’s effort rounding off an excellent move down the right.
Mo Diame fed the overlapping DeAndre Yedlin and his pull-back was met with a stinging drive from Rondon which was blocked by Asmir Begovic but the striker showed quick reactions to stab the rebound past the off-balance keeper and into the net.
The South American’s second was straight out of the Shearer goalscoring manual.
Ki Sung-Yueng switched play to find Kenedy and when he whipped in the cross, Rondon threw himself at the ball to send a bullet header into the roof of the net.
The 49,266 crowd sensed more goals and the hosts could have been out of sight before half-time.
Ayoze Perez fired wide when clean through and
Begovic spared the blushes of team-mate
Callum Wilson who could have marked his England call-up with an embarrassing own goal when he met Ki’s set-piece with a misplaced header.
There were eight minutes of first-half injury time following a lengthy stoppage when Adam Smith was stretchered off after a freak injury when he jarred his knee attempting to take a quick free-kick.
And it was during added-on time that Lerma threw the Cherries a lifeline.
Martin Dubravka had matched Begovic’s acrobatics moments earlier, tipping a Steve Cook header over the bar but from Ryan Fraser’s resulting corner, Lerma stooped to guide the ball across goal into the far corner of the net.
It breathed new life into Bournemouth but when Ibe blasted over in the 73rd minute after being set up by Gosling, they knew it would not be their day.
Indeed, Newcastle could have stretched their lead, only for Begovic to deny Rondon his hat-trick and keep out another effort from sub Christian Atsu.
“We did not perform well in the first half and gave ourselves a mountain to climb going two goals down,” said Cherries boss Eddie Howe.
“But we kept going right to the end and it looked as if a goal would come but we couldn’t quite force it.” Howe fears full-back Smith is facing a lengthy lay-off. “It looks serious,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Adam and he thinks it’s from an earlier tackle which left his knee unstable. It’s meant he’s just crumpled at the free-kick.
“We don’t think it’s his cruciate and there’s no point speculating at this stage but he could be out for a long time.”