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GOALS by Philip Billing, Dominic Solanke, Diego Rico and Sam Surridge brought joy to Cherries Friday night – as they rose to the top of the championship.
They overtook former leaders Norwich in the Dorset Club’s 4-0 win over Barnsley in Oakwell and took first place ahead of Saturday’s league games.
Solanke and Billing got the ball rolling in the first half in South Yorkshire – before a formidable free-kick from Spaniard Rico and Surridge’s hard work ensured the booty was secured.
It was Cherries’ eighth league win after 16 games – and their first goal since December 2019.
Boss Jason Tindall made three changes from the side that had suffered a 3-2 home loss to Preston the last time.
Rodrigo Riquelme and Junior Stanislas fell on the bench and Jefferson Lerma missed the ban.
That meant a return to the starting XI for Billing, Surridge and Lloyd Kelly, as the visitors had decided to switch to three.
And it was Surridge who almost made an early impression on visitors after only two minutes.
After running over the top for a ball, the Cherries Academy graduate managed to step past the storming goalkeeper Jack Walton.
Back then, Billing was almost the architect for the opener when cherries built up the pressure on the opening exchanges.
The Danish international’s precise pass was perfect for Solanke’s run, who took a touch before his goal was knocked down by Michael Sollbauer.
The Tykes came back with their first attempt. Skipper Alex Mowatt released an attempt from 25 meters, which was parried by the visit of stopper Asmir Begovic.
But it was this man Billing who broke through after 12 minutes. The proper teamwork on the right enabled Adam Smith to jump forward from the full-back. His pass inside allowed Billing to aim and hit the lower corner with his left foot.
Barnsley almost got a chance to hit 34 minutes on the clock. After Callum Styles pinched way ahead of Smith, Mowatt’s dangerous center frontman Victor Adeboyejo narrowly escaped.
And it should have been 1-1 when Tindall’s team was caught napping five minutes before the break. A quick free kick enabled Conor Chaplin to drill the ball over the goal.
After Michael Helik tried to drop it at the back post, the ball bounced off Barnsley defender Mads Andersen and fell from just ten feet away.
But cherries made the tykes pay as they added a second in the first half of stoppage time. After Lewis Cook came on to take the ball from Cauley Woodrow, Solanke stormed into goal and hit the bottom corner.
The competition was almost beyond doubt within seven minutes of the restart. After Surridge was fouled on the edge of the field, full-back Rico took his place after a free kick on the corner and whipped the ball into the top corner.
The Tykes wanted to rally 25 minutes before the end. After Cherries lost the ball in a dangerous area, Woodrow Begovic stabbed the palms of his hands with exertion and parried the Bosnian.
But cherries weren’t done on the other end and reached a fourth through Surridge in 68 minutes.
After overwhelming his husband to get in, the England U21 international’s performance proved too hot to handle for Walton, who could only go online.
Barnsley’s Andersen received the game’s first warning after a tough challenge against Dan Gosling before Riquelme, who had fallen off the bench in place of Lewis Cook, worked in the final stages of keeper Walton.
Barnsley: Walton, Sollbauer, Helik (Halme, 64), Andersen, Brittain, Mowatt, Kane (Palmer, 82), Styles (Thomas, 59), Adeboyejo (Oduor, 59), Chaplin (Frieser, 59), Woodrow.
Cherries: Begovic; Mepham, S.. Cook, Kelly; Smith (Ofoborh, 90), Billing (Kilkenny, 90), L.. Cook (Riquelme, 80), Brooks (Gosling, 72), Rico; Solanke (Anthony, 72), Surridge.
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Barnsley F. . C.. . , EFL Championship, A. . F.. . C.. . Bournemouth, Sam Surridge, Dominic Solanke and Valérien Ismaël
World News – UK – Four medium cherries beat Barnsley to win the championship
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