OLLIE WATKINS’ claims for an England call-up may have been ignored this week – but he responded by helping Aston Villa to back to back home wins.
Watkins had a hand in Villa’s first two goals from Douglas Luiz and Jacob Ramsey.
And it was corner king Luiz who set up the third for Emi Buendia who headed home with two minutes left.
Villa’s billionaire owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris were in the stands to see it.
But the result that put a dent in Bournemouth’s Premier League survival hopes – a week after their memorable win against Liverpool.
The only bright spot for Gary O’Neil’s side was the return to action of David Brooks – who made his first senior appearance for Bournemouth since beating cancer.
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He came on as a second half substitute to applause from both sets of fans.
Brooks had been diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma, but revealed that he was cancer free in May last year.
But it was a day of frustration for Bournemouth – with Dominic Solanke being denied time and again before Villa cut loose in the closing stages.
Brazilian midfielder Luiz finished clinically from close range after only seven minutes after Watkins and Buendia had combined to set up the goal on a plate.
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But Villa had to wait until 10 minutes from time to gain a cushion.
Watkins set up Ramsey and he took his chance superbly to beat Neto at the near post for his first goal since November.
And Buendia made sure of the points as Bournemouth faded.
But Solanke will be wondering how he did not find the net in the second half.
He came close to levelling the scores on a number of occasions.
First, he was denied by a spectacular save from Villa’s Argentina keeper Emi Martinez as Solanke powered in a free-kick from 20 yards.
Then Solanke hit the side netting.
And when he was set clear with 18 minutes left – a goal looked certain.
But he was marshalled away from goal superbly ex-Cherries defender Tyrone Mings who then blocked Solanke’s shot.
Villa were unhappy that they were not awarded a first half penalty when Ramsey’s shot hit Jack Stephens’ hand.
VAR ruled that the player’s hand was not in an un-natural position – but in the end, Villa did not need the spot-kick.
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Watkins almost grabbed a late goal to bring his league tally to 10 – but Neto pulled off a superb save.
You can see how the action unfolded in our live blog below…
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