Bournemouth gave their survival hopes a boost after beating Newcastle 3-1 at St James Park to put manager Steve McClaren on the brink of losing his job.
Joshua King saw his 28th-minute cross diverted past keeper Rob Elliot by defender Steven Taylor and then smashed home a second 20 minutes from time to hand all three points to the visitors despite Ayoze Perez’s late consolation strike and a third for the visitors from full-back Charlie Daniels.
On a day when under-pressure Magpies head coach McClaren received the backing of his players off the pitch in a public statement, he did not get enough on it and while Bournemouth’s fears of being dragged into the scrap at the bottom are all but over, Newcastle, who were booed off by the home fans among a crowd of 52,107, are looking like certainties for the drop.
Newcastle simply did not see enough of the ball to take control as Bournemouth passed and moved with ease, comfortably evading the Magpies’ lacklustre press and pinning the home side back deep inside their own half.
Emmanuel Riviere had only just failed to connect with Moussa Sissoko’s early cross and skipper Jonjo Shelvey fired narrowly wide from 20 yards, but once the visitors settled, it was they who set the tempo.
Benik Afobe volleyed wastefully over after controlling Adam Smith’s cross on his chest, and might have done better when he was handed the chance to run at a decimated home defence after Matt Ritchie’s 24th-minute pass had sparked a lightning break.
But the deadlock was broken four minutes later when Max Gradel’s quick footwork allowed him to feed the ball out to King and his cross was deflected past Elliot by Taylor.
Newcastle, who might have taken a 23rd-minute lead themselves when Riviere, making his first league start since May last year, saw his goal-bound effort unwittingly diverted past the post by defender Simon Francis, were pedestrian in attack and desperate in defence for much of the half.
However, Taylor almost made amends for his own goal on the stroke of half-time when he surged forward and controlled Riviere’s cross before his shot was blocked just wide.
Riviere was replaced by Aleksandar Mitrovic at the break, but the visitors might have increased their lead within six minutes of the restart when Elliot got down well to parry Smith’s drive.
The Cherries were utterly dominant with their hosts clinging on for dear life, although Mitrovic went close with a curling 61st-minute effort which beat keeper Artur Boruc, but also the far post. Boruc then had to turn away Daryl Janmaat’s stinging 64th-minute drive.
But the game was over with 20 minutes remaining when King ran on to Ritchie’s through-ball and and lashed a shot past Elliot into the roof of the net.
Perez gave the home side hope when he reduced the deficit with nine minutes remaining, but Daniels powered a shot past the helpless Elliot in added time to finish it.