Bournemouth show class in thumping win at Barnsley to go top of the Championship

Arindam Rej
·2-min read
Diego Rico of Bournemouth celebrates with team-mates after he catches keeper Jack Walton of Barnsley off his line and scores direct from his free-kick to make the score 3-0 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Barnsley and AFC Bournemouth - Getty Images
Diego Rico of Bournemouth celebrates with team-mates after he catches keeper Jack Walton of Barnsley off his line and scores direct from his free-kick to make the score 3-0 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Barnsley and AFC Bournemouth - Getty Images

Bournemouth again showed off the class in their squad, at Championship level, as they surged back to the top of the table by producing an eye-catching and ruthless display despite cold, wet December conditions.

Philip Billing, who recently made his Denmark debut, struck in the first, before Dominic Solanke, formerly of Liverpool, clinically scored the second.

Diego Rico’s clever free kick earned the Spaniard’s first goal for the club and that put the game beyond a Barnsley side who battled hard at times but were out-classed. The Yorkshire side were reeling from a 4-0 deficit before even the 70th minute mark, as Sam Surridge slotted in after a breakaway.

The top three in the Championship table are the three relegated sides from last season’s Premier League, highlighting the retained strength in their squads - and several of Bournemouth’s dangerous on-pitch weapons fired here, looking confident.

The rare away clean sheet for Bournemouth was also noteworthy, as that is a side of their game that they will want to keep refining.

This win meant that Jason Tindall’s men recovered from their slight blip of losing 3-2 against Preston and drawing 2-2 with Rotherham. 

AFC Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match  - PA
AFC Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match - PA

Tindall said: “We needed to respond and we certainly did that. Everyone was excellent at a difficult place in difficult conditions.”

The high-flying visitors, playing with a back three, came agonisingly close to scoring in just the second minute. A Barnsley defensive mix-up allowed Surridge to evade goalkeeper Jack Walton but he shot wide.

Adam Smith soon impressively created Bournemouth’s opener though, as he cut inside then teed up Billing, who found the far corner of goal from 22 yards. 

With the rain pouring down, crisp passing became a challenge, but the game’s intensity remained high, with Barnsley posing some threat, especially from Conor Chaplin’s deliveries. 

The Yorkshire club played themselves into trouble just before half-time though, as Cauley Woodrow cheaply lost possession and it led to the second goal. Lewis Cook won the ball and it ran free for Solanke, who burst forward then shot in from six yards.

Bournemouth’s quality showed again early in the second half as Rico struck in his free-kick, whipping the ball in from a testing angle, when Barnsley might have expected a cross instead. “I wasn’t expecting him to shoot,” joked Tindall.

Surridge made up for his earlier miss by racing clear and his shot squirmed beyond Walton.