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Ireland's Rob Elliot inspires Newcastle to unlikely victory

Ayoze Pérez’s clinical finish on 27 minutes was enough to earn his side a victory.

Elliot has three caps for Ireland.
Elliot has three caps for Ireland.
Image: EMPICS Sport

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL ROB Elliot was the standout player as Newcastle earned an unlikely 1-0 victory over Bournemouth in the Premier League today.

The 29-year-old, who has three Ireland caps and has been included in the Boys in Green’s provisional squad to face Bosnia, kept the hosts at bay with a string of fine saves, consequently earning a second successive clean sheet.

Ultimately therefore, Ayoze Pérez’s clinical finish on 27 minutes was enough for Newcastle to claim all three points and move out of the relegation zone in the process.

With Shay Given injured, Darren Randolph appears to be in pole position to start in goal in Ireland’s upcoming matches, however Elliot will have done himself no harm with today’s display.

It was Newcastle’s first win in 13 away league games and only their third success in 23 outings, while for all their enterprise, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have now lost four league games in a row and are without a win in six.

Bournemouth made two changes, Josh King and Junior Stanislas replacing Glenn Murray and Marc Pugh, and the former was the first to test Elliot with a rising drive that the visiting goalkeeper parried.

Moments later, a loose touch from Chancel Mbemba almost let King in, only for Elliot to race out and clear, and when King took aim after driving into the box and side-stepping Fabricio Coloccini, Elliot got in the way again.

Newcastle, unchanged from their 0-0 draw with Stoke City, had barely left their own half, but in the 27th minute Steve McClaren’s men hit Bournemouth with a sucker-punch.

The goal was as slickly created as it was unexpected, with Aleksandar Mitrovic’s back-heel moved on by Georginio Wijnaldum to Perez, who squeezed into the box before toe-poking a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner.

Bournemouth resumed their assault on the Newcastle goal, but Elliot produced two brilliant saves to repel headers from King and Dan Gosling, while Adam Smith rifled a shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area.

There was no change to the direction of traffic in the second half, with Matt Ritchie seeing a header tipped over by Elliot within seconds of the restart before Stanislas blazed over from Ritchie’s cross.

It was Newcastle who came closest to scoring in the closing stages, however, with Coloccini heading over the bar after Wijnaldum flicked on Florian Thauvin’s free-kick.

Additional reporting by AFP

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Paul Fennessy

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