MIDDLESBROUGH are doomed to relegation after they were thrashed 4-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Joshua King’s goal after just 96 seconds got their afternoon off to a terrible start, and further strikes from Benik Afobe, Marc Pugh and Charlie Daniels edged them closer to the drop.
And their misery was compounded as Gaston Ramirez was sent off during the first half of what was their worst performance of the season.
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It was an awful start for the visitors as Marc Pugh glided past Antonio Barragan and drilled the ball into the area for King to convert.
And a return to the Championship edged closer for Steve Agnew’s side when Afobe kept his cool to finish after being played through by Charlie Daniels.
It then got worse for Boro as they were reduced to ten men.
Having already been booked for diving, Ramirez needlessly hacked down Pugh to earn his second caution.
Pugh then celebrated his 250th league appearance for Bournemouth with a stunning goal on 65 minutes before Daniels danced round several defenders to rifle home from 20 yards.
FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS
- THE entire stadium gave a moving minute’s applause for former Middlesbrough defender Ugo Ehiogu, who tragically died after suffering a cardiac arrest at Tottenham’s training ground at the age of 44. Ehiogu won the League Cup with Boro in 2004 and their fans chanted his name to the rafters.
- CALLUM CHAMBERS was welcomed back to the Middlesbrough starting line-up. The on-loan Arsenal defender had been sidelined for nine weeks with a foot injury.
- BOURNEMOUTH play lovely football and it was a wonderful one-two Marc Pugh played with Charlie Daniels before crossing for Joshua King to slam home the opener, his 14thgoal of the season.
- SERVES you right Gaston Ramirez – getting sent off. First he was booked for an outrageous dive to try to con ref Graham Scott into awarding a penalty and then picked up a second yellow for a late lunge at Marc Pugh. Cheats never prosper.
- BENIK AFOBE really has grown in the second half of this season and he ruthlessly punished Boro by scoring his third goal in six games.
- MARC PUGH curled a beautiful third goal after being set up by Lewis Cook
- CHARLIE DANIELS completely fooled Boro when he picked up a quick free kick from Ryan Fraser, evaded a couple of challenges before striking home.
- MIDDLESBROUGH fans can start planning those trips to Doncaster and Brentford next season – they are doomed.
Sat Apr 29 – Sunderland (A) – PL
Sat May 6 – Stoke (H) – PL
Sat May 13 – Burnley (H) – PL
Sun May 21 – Leicester (A) – PL
Wed Apr 26 – Sunderland (H) – PL
Sun Apr 30 – Manchester City (H) – PL
Mon May 8 – Chelsea (A) – PL
Sat May 13 – Southampton (H) – PL
Sun May 21 – Liverpool (A) – PL
WHAT THEY SAID
Middlesbrough midfielder Stewart Downing: “Credit to Bournemouth.
“We knew all week that they started quickly in games but we didn’t get going. We can only blame ourselves and nobody else.
“It is hard enough with 11 men, let alone 10. We were chasing from then on. Sorry to the fans, they’ve travelled a long way. They’ve been first class all season.
“I don’t think it was unbelievable play from Bournemouth, it was sloppy play from us. It’s hard to take.”
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
Bournemouth: Boruc 6, Smith 7, Francis 7, Cook 7, Daniels 8, Fraser 7 (Stanislas 72, 6), Arter 8, Gosling 6 (Cook 44, 7), Pugh 6, King 7 (Mousset 84, 6), Afobe 8
Subs not used: Gradel, Allsop, Mings, Cargill
Middlesbrough: Guzan 6, Barragan 6 (Forshaw 23, 6), Chambers 6, Ayala 5, Gibson 5, Friend 6, Ramirez 4, de Roon 6 (Fabio 38, 6), Clayton 5, Downing 5, Negredo 6 (Gestede 80, 6)
Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Bernardo, Stuani, Traore
DREAM TEAM STAR MAN: Marc Pugh