Bournemouth 3 Norwich City 0
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Norwich City crashed to a miserable 3-0 Premier League defeat at Bournemouth to cap a week to forget.
The Canaries’ followed up an FA Cup exit to Manchester City and a midweek top flight 3-1 loss at Stoke with a dire showing on the south-coast.
Dan Gosling was left unmarked to head home in the tenth minute, to set the depressing tone, with Charlie Daniels slotting an early second half penalty and Bournemouth’s club-record signing and former City transfer target Benik Afobe opening his account for his new club to move Eddie Howe’s men a point clear of the Canaries.
Alex Neil’s side did not have to face Lewis Grabban, who missed out through illness at the end of a week when he completed an £8m move return to his old club.
Matt Jarvis was back in the Norwich starting line up after making his comeback from a knee injury in the second half of the Canaries’ defeat in the Potteries. Jonny Howson switched into a central position vacated by the suspended Gary O’Neil with Vadis Odjidja continuing on the right of midfield.
Jarvis squared up Adam Smith inside the first few moments but his cross was too deep for Dieumerci Mbokani before Afobe rolled Ryan Bennett and cracked a rising shot over Declan Rudd’s bar.
Afobe then pounced on Seb Bassong’s miscued clearance to set up Junior Stainslas but his deflected shot was gathered by Rudd.
City conceded in sloppy fashion in the tenth minute when Marc Pugh picked out the late-arriving Gosling who rose unchallenged between Bassong and Robbie Brady to beat Rudd from barely five yards.
Bournemouth continued to dictate in the aftermath, with Norwich struggling to disrupt their flow across midfield. Goalscorer Gosling squared up Bassong but curled a left-footed shot well wide. Bournemouth were insistent they should have had a penalty in the 20th minute when Daniels burst inside Martin before tumbling in the City penalty area. Television replays showed a desperate Martin attempting to grasp Daniels around his waist before releasing his grip and the wide player then collapsing to the turf - referee Madley remained unconvinced.
Rudd’s clearance sparked a rare counter from the visitors with Odjidja cutting inside but his cross for Mbokani was headed away by Steve Cook.
City’s best moment to that point of testing opening half came in the 32nd minute when Jarvis forced a turnover before linking with Howson who fed the wide player back in to shoot at Artur Boruc on the angle.
Bournemouth responded with Harry Arter trying his luck from 25 yards but the strike dropped wide with Rudd at full stretch.
Mbokani was then clipped to present Brady with a free kick chance the Republic of Ireland international fired at Boruc.
Odjidja flicked the ball in the direction of Alex Tettey, who skied an attempted half-volley.
Norwich survived another scare in the final seconds of the first half when Rudd was forced to race from his area only to clean out Afobe who had burst beyond City’s two centre backs.
Referee Madley composed himself before opting to book the young keeper as the home fans bayed for a red card. Stanislas then clipped the free kick over from a yard outside the box.
Rudd then underlined his value to the Norwich cause seconds after the restart when he denied Pugh with his legs from close range after the wide player cut inside both Martin and a sliding Bassong.
Martin then headed Pugh’s goalbound looping header off his line but the reprieve was temporary when Odjijda hauled back the midfielder inside his box to concede a penalty.
Daniels stepped up to hammer a low strike that clipped the inside of Rudd’s left-hand post and went in.
Neil reacted immediately with Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome replacing Odjidja and Jarvis respectively.
Mbokani was crowded out inside the Cherries’ box after Howson delivered a teasing cross before Hoolahan over-hit his slip pass for the DR Congo international.
Jerome then tried to twist and strike in one motion but his shot clipped Daniels as City strived for a lifeline.
Bournemouth continued to carry a greater threat, however, and Rudd had to claw away Cook’s header before Howson kicked Afobe’s acrobatic kick clear.
Graham Dorrans replaced Hoolahan in Neil’s final change. Mbokani spurned two chances in the space a seconds when he first lobbed wide 22 yards out with Boruc to beat and then lashed an angled shot at the Polish keeper’s legs.
Bournemouth sealed the win in the 75th minute when Afobe crashed home Daniels’ cross eight yards out on the volley after the wide player had pounced on Bassong’s miscued clearance to embarrass Martin down the Cherries’ left.
Brady’s strike was blocked and then Howson’s cross was too high for Jerome as Norwich probed for a scant consolation.
• Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Gosling (Kermorgant 90), Surman, Pugh, Arter (O’Kane 80), Daniels, Smith, Stanislas, Afobe (Murray 84). Subs (not used): Federici, Iturbe, MacDonald, Distin.
• Booking: Arter (ungentlemanly conduct, 48)
• Goals: Gosling (10), Daniels (54), Afobe (75)
• Norwich City: Rudd, Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Brady, Odjidja (Redmond 56), Howson, Tettey, Jarvis (Jerome 56), Hoolahan (Dorrans 69), Mbokani. Subs (not used): Ruddy, Wisdom, Mulumbu, Olsson.
• Booking: Rudd (foul on Afobe, 42)
• Added on time: 2 minutes / 4 minutes
• Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorks)
• Attendance: 11,065