NEWCASTLE UNITED produced arguably their best display of the season as they hammered relegation-threatened Bournemouth 4-1.

First-half strikes from Dwight Gayle and Sean Longstaff put the mid-table Magpies on course for resounding success at the Vitality Stadium.

Substitutes Miguel Almiron and Valentino Lazaro completed the job as Bournemouth capitulated to a club-record 19th defeat in a top-flight season.

Dan Gosling claimed an added-time consolation with the hosts' first goal since football resumed following the coronavirus pandemic but, on this evidence, there is little to suggest they can extend their Premier League stay to a sixth season.

Newcastle, on the other hand, are targeting a top-ten finish, with last night's victory having lifted them to the 42-point mark and banished any lingering concerns about their own top-flight survival as they returned to winning ways following Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester City.

Not even a shocking second-half miss from Isaac Hayden could dampen the delight of Magpies manager Steve Bruce, who has seen his position become mired in uncertainty due to proposed takeover talks.

Bruce's decision to switch to a more attacking formation earlier in the season has paid dividends, with the emergence of Allan Saint-Maximin having proved another key factor in Newcastle's improvement after a slow start to the campaign.

Saint-Maximin was all-but-unplayable for large parts of last night's game, with his dribbling and remarkable technical ability repeatedly tying the Bournemouth defence in knots.

The Frenchman set up Newcastle's first three goals as he became only the third Newcastle player to claim three assists in a game in the Premier League era, following in the footsteps of Andy Cole and Moussa Sissoko.
Eddie Howe's hosts, without suspended top scorer Callum Wilson, struggled to create all evening.

They endured a nightmare start and contributed to their own downfall as they fell behind inside five minutes.

Cherries midfielder Jefferson Lerma was carelessly dispossessed on the edge of his own box by Longstaff, and Gayle - who scored his first top-flight goal since May 2018 in last week's draw with Aston Villa - was sent clear by Allan Saint-Maximin to clinically find the bottom left corner. It was a clinical finish from a player who was clearly showing no ill effects from Sunday's horror miss in Newcastle's FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester City.

The early goal extended the Cherries' wait for a clean sheet to 15 Premier League games, a club-record run which began after December's 1-0 win at Chelsea.

Their porous defence was exposed for a second time with half an hour played.

Saint-Maximin was once again the provider, easily tricking his way past Adam Smith on the left and pulling the ball back for Longstaff to rifle his first league goal of the season into the roof of the net from ten yards out. Unfortunately, Longstaff would depart with a hamstring injury not long after he scored.

Bournemouth failed to produce an attempt on target in the first half and were denied a flying start to the second half by an offside flag.
Joshua King, back from an ankle problem to soften the blow of Wilson's absence, headed in after Dominic Solanke's deflected strike came back off the left post but the effort was correctly ruled out.

The incident offered hope for the hosts, however the wind was swiftly taken out of their sails.

Substitute Almiron, who came on when Longstaff limped off, collected Saint-Maximin's pass and worked space on the edge of the box before stylishly finding the top left corner with a delightful curling effort.

Bournemouth almost reduced the deficit with an hour played but David Brooks, on the two-year anniversary of his arrival from Sheffield United, was denied by the crossbar.

Lazaro coolly converted in the 77th minute after being played through by Shelvey, before Hayden blazed over a gaping goal after Lazaro's initial effort rebounded off the bar.

Bournemouth grabbed a stoppage-time consolation through former Magpie Dan Gosling, but the positives far outweighed the negatives for Newcastle as they recorded consecutive away league victories for the first time since January 2018.