Dominic Solanke brace boosts Bouremouth’s automatic promotion hopes

.Jamal Lowe was also on target for the Cherries.

By Press Association Published: 18 April 2022 - 4.01pm

Dominic Solanke took his season’s tally to 27 goals after his double strike saw Bournemouth close in on a return to the Premier League following a 3-0 victory at Coventry.

The ex-Liverpool striker put the outcome beyond doubt after Jamal Lowe had opened the scoring in a clinical display by Scott Parker’s men that re-established their four-point advantage over the play-off chasing pack.

That cushion had been reduced to one following Huddersfield’s victory at Middlesbrough in the lunch-time kick-off but the Cherries ended a mini blip of three games without a win to get their top-two quest back on track.

With the hosts still in play-off contention, Coventry’s players had earlier matched the exuberance of a raucous Coventry Building Society Arena during the opening exchanges with 16-goal top-scorer Viktor Gyokeres firing across the face of goal after sprinting on to Todd Kane’s ball through the right channel.

On-loan Chelsea midfielder Ian Maatsen also cleared the crossbar from 20 yards after another positive Sky Blues raid.

But, having ridden out the early storm, it was the Cherries who forged in front with their first shot of the game on 12 minutes.

Adam Smith made an excellent overlapping run down the left and lifted a cross perfectly onto the head of Lowe who headed in off the underside of the bar from inside the six-yard box.

The goal failed to turn the tide, though, with Coventry still the more energetic and enterprising side.

Good work down the left by Gyokeres soon afterwards teed up Kane for a volley that he dragged disappointingly wide and Callum O’Hare shot weakly at Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers after being sent clear on goal by Gustavo Hamer.

The latter then went close with a deflected 25-yard drive, while Gyokeres’ header from Jake Bidwell’s cross was well held by Travers.

But, to the disbelief of the home fans, Parker’s team then doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time following only their second attack of the contest.

Jefferson Lerma played Solanke in through the right channel and his 12-yard shot took a wicked deflection off Michael Rose to spin past a helpless Simon Moore in the Coventry goal.

After the break, Gyokeres’ early second-half effort was diverted away from the Cherries’ goal by skipper Lloyd Kelly before the visitors added a third goal in the 55th minute when Solanke ghosted in behind the home defence to latch on to Ryan Christie’s precise pass and confidently shot across the face of goal to find the bottom corner from 10 yards.

The now-deflated hosts could muster little in response with O’Hare clearing the crossbar following an unconvincing long-range attempt, although Travers was needed to tip over a thumping 81st-minute strike by substitute Martyn Waghorn.

Solanke went on to lift over a golden opportunity for his hat-trick but, at the other end, a clean sheet represented Bournemouth’s first against the Sky Blues in 13 meetings – a sequence stretching back to 1962.

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