Following the much needed win against Watford last weekend, I arrived at St.James’ Park today feeling much less anxious about the Bournemouth fixture.  Getting that first win ‘monkey off our back’ has definitely lifted some weight off everyone.

As expected, the eleven players who had finished the injury ridden encounter with Watford, began this match with the south coasters.  All three subs, Schaer, Ki and Perez had done really well when they entered play last Saturday, so I wasn’t too concerned at all with having all three in the starting eleven today.  The lack of Lascelles’ leadership was my only concern, but this turned out to be absolutely nothing to worry about.

I met up with Norman (@LikeTheGoat) at the Gallowgate turnstiles before the game and gave a brief prediction on the matchday podcast as 1-1.  I had actually gone for a 2-1 win in the predictor game which I play at work, but for some reason I must have become slightly more pessimistic as kick-off loomed and downgraded to 1-1.

There was an impeccably observed minute’s silence before the game started for Remembrance.  Credit also to Wor Flags who put on one of their best ever displays to mark the occasion respectfully.

The opening minutes of the game saw Bournemouth have the ball and get into our half, putting on early pressure.

Our first goal in the seventh minute was a really well constructed move down the right.  Matt Ritchie held the ball up well before passing back down the line to Yedlin.  The speedy American then laid the ball off to Mo Diame who chipped a pass over Bournemouth’s left back for Yedlin to chase into the penalty area.  He squared the ball to Rondon who saw his first shot saved, but the rebound fell to him and he made no mistake at the second time of asking, burying his shot low into the net, sending the crowd into delirium.

Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez made some brilliant shot stopping tackles, throwing themselves in the way of danger.  You could tell the whole team were up for this today.

Ki continued where he left off from the Watford game, looking extremely comfortable and assured in possession.  I can’t recall him giving possession away once, what a fantastic option he is for us in the centre of midfield.  He’s a very similar player to Shelvey, always looking for a positive pass but without giving the ball away.  He’s got fantastic vision – he was spraying the ball around the park this afternoon like David Beckham in his prime.  Mo Diame was working his socks off, breaking up play and surging forward with the ball whenever possible.

Indeed, it was Ki who started the move for our second goal in the 40th minute.  He switched a lovely pass from the right to the left wing where Kenedy brought the ball under control.  The Brazilian wasted little time in getting his head up and whipping a delicious cross into Bournemouth’s penalty area, where the big Venezuelan Sal Rondon met it with his head and sent the ball sailing into Asmir Begovic’s net.  I have to say, this was such a beautiful yet simple goal.  Ki’s long pass, Kenedy’s cross and Rondon’s thunderous header.

When the scenes of celebration had settled down after the goal, I thought back to the Brighton game which we lost 0-1 at St.James’ Park earlier this season.  We had been putting cross after cross into the box, but we were playing Perez and Muto up front.  I have no doubt after witnessing Rondon’s fine performance today that he would have scored against Brighton on that day with that kind of service.

The lads played some fantastic football in the first half, linking up well in Bournemouth’s half of the pitch and we put together some slick moves, which I think surprised the visitors, given our performances so fat this campaign.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at times, was this Barcelona is disguise!?  Jonjo Shelvey might have a fight on his hands to get his place back from Ki at this rate.

There were eight added minutes at the end of the first half due to a bad injury to Bournemouth’s Adam Smith.  In the sixth minute of added time, Dubravka made a world class save from a Steve Cook header, tipping it over the bar for a corner.  From the resulting corner, Jefferson Lerma stooped down and got his head on the ball from the centre of our penalty area.  The ball looped over Dubravka and it nestled in the back of the net.  We didn’t have players on the posts defending the corner.  The header would have been cleared if a man had been guarding our rear post.

Half time came and it was a strange feeling.  I was really pleased to have seen how well we had played, both defensively and going forward.  But their goal had dampened spirits in the stands somewhat.

Chances came and went for both sides in the second half.  We dug in and soaked up a lot of pressure.  They were pumping crosses, corners and long throws into our box at every opportunity.  Their efforts were in vain however, as the referee blew for full time after four minutes of added time, much to the relief and jubilation of the home fans.

This is the first time we have won back to back Premier League games since April, when we then went on a four game winning run.  Let’s hope we can go even better this time!?

This was in fact the first time that Bournemouth lost an away game to Newcastle United, in all competitions, since February 1990.

Loads of positives for Rafa Benitez to take from this game:

Another fantastic defensive display.  Schaer slotted in for Lascelles very well.  He looked assured and even broke his nose during the game for the cause.  Dummett and Yedlin were brilliant as was Fernandez and Dubravka.

The midfield worked well both defensively and going forward.  We looked so creative today, something much lacking so far this season.  Ki has breathed some new life into the centre of our team which others around him are thriving off.

Matt Ritchie had his best game for us so far this season, but Kenedy and Rondon stole the show.

Kenedy was causing all sorts of problems down Bournemouth’s right side.  His cross which assisted Rondon’s second goal was inch perfect.  It just begged to be headed into the net.

I want to finish by talking about my choice for man of the match, Salomon Rondon.  I tweeted after the match with the bold statement that his performance today reminded me of a certain Alan Shearer.  I honestly don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that.

Rondon was the focal point of our attack today.  He bullied and hassled the defenders around him, creating space for others in black and white to exploit.  He’s a huge bloke, his strength is something that we have badly missed up front.

But it wasn’t only his strength and presence that caught my eye about him today.  He also has a fantastic touch.  Numerous times he controlled the ball brilliantly with one touch as it was played forward to him.  He held the ball up superbly and brought others into play.  He absolutely worked his socks off and never stopped running.  When you bear in mind he is probably still not quite 100% match fit, we could be in for some fantastic performances from him this season.  His confidence will have had a huge boost with those two goals today.  Let’s hope it’s the start of a purple patch, as we all know that scoring goals has been our biggest problem so far this campaign.

Another fantastic three points for us, and we travel to Burnley for Monday night football after the international break next week high in confidence.

Rob Clothier / Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobClothier14

Today’s issue of THE SPECIAL is still available – click here