BOURNEMOUTH, England (REUTERS) - Matt Ritchie's last-gasp equaliser earned Newcastle United a point at his former club Bournemouth in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Vitality Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday (March 16).
On a blustery day on the south coast, Newcastle coped best with the conditions early on, taking the lead in first-half stoppage time when Salomon Rondon curled a sublime free kick into the net.
Their lead did not last long, though, as Josh King converted from the penalty spot three minutes into the second half to equalise, after Nathan Ake had been fouled in the penalty area.
The chances kept coming after the break, with Ritchie almost getting on the end of a low Rondon cross, before Paul Dummett brilliantly cleared off the line at the other end to keep Bournemouth at bay.
However, the pressure from the home side told, as King swept home Dominic Solanke's pass to turn the match on its head nine minutes from time. His double took King's season tally to 11 in all competitions.
Newcastle were not to be denied, though, as former Bournemouth player Ritchie's half-volley in stoppage time denied the hosts victory as Newcastle pulled further clear of the relegation zone in 13th, while Bournemouth climbed to 11th.
"It's a strange feeling as I owe so much to this club and then I wheeled away and realised I have a lot of respect for this club," Ritchie said.
"It shows good spirit from us and we can really build on that."
With 18th-placed Cardiff not in action this weekend, Newcastle had the chance to increase the gap between them and the relegation zone and, after escaping when King hit the post early on, they took the lead through Rondon.
After Federico Fernandez had fouled Ake in the box, King levelled things up, with the momentum staying with the Bournemouth in the aftermath.
Jefferson Lerma should have done better from close range, before Dummett's heroics denied Bournemouth again, but the second came through a familiar source with King finishing well.
Ritchie, though had the final say on a ground he is familiar with, smashing the last-gasp strike into the net to secure what could be a crucial point for Newcastle.
"We thought we'd done enough to win...but Matt Ritchie's left foot is deadly and he showed it today," Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said.