Matt Ritchie denies former club Bournemouth with stunning stoppage-time leveller
Ritchie earned Newcastle a point on the south coast.
Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie returned to haunt former club Bournemouth by smashing home a sensational stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw.
The Scotland international, who left the Vitality Stadium to join the Magpies in 2016, lashed home on the half-volley four minutes into added time.
Joshua King’s second-half brace looked to have earned the Cherries a comeback victory after Salomon Rondon put the visitors ahead with a first-half free-kick.
The result edges both clubs closer to Premier League survival, with Eddie Howe’s hosts now 10 points above the bottom three and Newcastle three points further behind.
Bournemouth ended a five-match winless streak at relegation-threatened Huddersfield last week and almost took a 10th-minute lead.
Ryan Fraser, on target against the Terriers, was slipped in on the left by King but his low shot across goal clipped the base of the far post and bounced to safety.
Referee Mike Dean, who had earlier booked Ayoze Perez for catching Fraser with a studs-up challenge, had another contentious incident to deal with 19 minutes in.
Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma went over the top of the ball and wiped out Perez in the centre of the pitch but, despite the displeasure of Magpies manager Rafael Benitez on the touchline, the Colombian escaped with his 11th caution of the campaign.
Both sides had injury concerns to deal with during a fractious opening period. Cherries pair Fraser and David Brooks each received treatment before continuing, while Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden also required a physio’s attention.
Faced with a 700-mile round-trip to reach the south coast, the sold-out away end were rewarded for the arduous journey five minutes into first-half stoppage time.
Record signing Miguel Almiron burst forward before going down under a challenge from Jordon Ibe, allowing Rondon to expertly curl the resultant set-piece into the top left corner from around 25 yards.
HE'S GOT ANOTHER 🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/7IikPPiRxI— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) March 16, 2019
Bournemouth’s supporters felt Almiron went to ground easily and vented their annoyance at match official Dean as the half-time whistle was blown.
However, their collective mood improved considerably three minutes after the restart when Federico Fernandez was penalised for manhandling Nathan Ake in the box at a corner.
Norway international King, who missed a late penalty against Wolves last month, again took responsibility and calmly sent Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka the wrong way from the spot.
Cherries defender Chris Mepham almost added a quick-fire second, spinning to the back post to head Fraser’s left-wing corner agonisingly wide.
Newcastle appeared rattled by Bournemouth’s strong start to the second period. However, Ritchie was inches away from diverting home Rondon’s shot on the turn.
The visitors were then indebted to stand-in captain Paul Dummett after he acrobatically hooked Callum Wilson’s header off the line with Dubravka stranded.
Bournemouth had looked the more likely winners for most of the afternoon and thought they had secured the three points nine minutes from time.
Substitute Dominic Solanke, on for Ibe, worked space inside the area before laying the ball off for King to sweep a first-time effort into the left corner from the edge of the box for his sixth goal in his last five home games.
But there was to be a late twist as Ritchie emphatically connected with DeAndre Yedlin’s right-wing cross to send the away fans home happy.