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Fulham 1-5 Bournemouth Cham 36 1415 Bournemouth Echo

last updated Sunday 08th March 2015, 4:28 PM
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Neil Perrett at Bournemouth Echo

Fulham (0) 1-5 (2) Bournemouth

Five-star Cherries wrote another chapter in the Dean Court record books on a night to remember for Eddie Howe's men and the club's supporters.

Howe's team treated a Sky Sports audience to a feast of scintillating football, laced with goals of the highest quality at Craven Cottage.

Cherries' 10th away win of the season saw the Dorset club bring up double figures on the road for only the sixth time since they joined the Football League in 1923.

And in returning to the Championship summit, Cherries also reached 66 points - their total for last season when the club came 10th in the second tier, their highest finish.

Brett Pitman's show-stopping strike after 61 minutes typified a performance right out of the top drawer from Howe's promotion-chasers.

Pitman's finely-taken first-half opener laid the foundations for a memorable victory with Matt Ritchie doubling Cherries' lead eight minutes before half-time.

The Channel Islander's virtuoso goal - with Pitman racing from inside his own half to score - made it 3-0 before Ritchie added a fourth after Fernando Amorebieta had been sent off.

And Steve Cook put the finishing touches to a devastating display when he rifled home an unstoppable shot six minutes from time.

Pitman was restored to the starting line-up at the expense of Yann Kermorgant who was nursing a dead leg but fit enough for a place on the bench.

The Jerseyman was the only change to the team, although Junior Stanislas was named among the substitutes as Ryan Fraser was ruled out due to a minor groin injury.

Cherries, defending the Putney End, where their army of travelling supporters were housed, weathered a brief flurry of early Fulham pressure before seizing control of the first half.

Bryan Ruiz's fifth-minute cross was met by Hugo Rodallega but the Colombian's header failed to trouble Artur Boruc as it sailed over the crossbar.

Marc Pugh drew a fine save from Marcus Bettinelli with the Fulham goalkeeper excelling to tip the winger's thunderous 20-yarder over the top.

Another cross from Ruiz found a Fulham player but Fernando Amorebieta also glanced his near-post header off target.

Boruc was pressed into service to pouch Ross McCormack's low drive after the Scotsman had turned inside and tried his luck from 15 yards.

Fulham were thankful to Ryan Tunnicliffe's last-ditch clearance after Pitman had threatened to get on the end of Callum Wilson's header back across the face of the goalmouth.

Bettinelli saved with ease from Wilson's speculative effort, while McCormack's strike drifted harmlessly wide of the upright.

Arter's quickly-taken free-kick led to Cherries taking the lead in the 29th minute - with Pitman registering his ninth goal of the season. The goal owed much to some slick build-up play involving Pugh and Charlie Daniels down the left flank.

Pugh, picked out by Arter, neatly slipped the ball down the line to Daniels who whipped in a superb cross which Pitman swept past Bettinelli with his left peg.

Cherries doubled their lead after 37 minutes when Ritchie's shot from the edge of the box flicked off Nikolay Bodurov and wrong-footed Bettinelli before hitting the back of the net.

Fulham made a change at the break with Matt Smith replacing the largely ineffective Rodallega up front.

McCormack headed over after Sean Kavanagh had centred before Wilson was unable to fashion a shooting chance after wriggling free of his marker.

And although he eventually managed to tee up Ritchie, his shot was blocked while Arter blazed the follow up high over the crossbar.

Ruiz curled a left-foot effort past the post before a sustained spell of Cherries pressure ended with Andrew Surman's shot being blocked by Amorebieta.

Pitman then posted a leading contender for goal of the season when he raced from inside his own half to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

The Jerseyman picked up the ball about five yards from the halfway line and embarked on an electrifying run which left three defenders trailing in his wake.

And although Bettinelli had tried to narrow the angle, Pitman kept his composure and placed a left-foot shot out of the goalkeeper's reach and into the bottom corner.

Fulham reduced the arrears midway through the second half when Smith rifled a left-foot shot into the roof of the net after McCormack's pass had split the Cherries defence.

The Cottagers were reduced to 10 men when Amorebieta received a straight red card for shoving Wilson as he was about to go clear on goal.

And Cherries profited immediately when Surman rolled the free-kick to Ritchie who blasted home his second with the Fulham defensive wall offering little protection to Bettinelli.

Steve Cook put the finishing touches to a stunning display when he drilled home a fifth before Junior Stanislas twice went close to adding to Cherries' tally late on.

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