REPORT: BOURNEMOUTH 1-2 CITYTEN-man Norwich City rallied to earn Alex Neil a superb 2-1 victory over Bournemouth in his first match as manager.
Neil, who took charge on Friday and started this game sat in the stands, watched from the dugout in the second half as his players earned an against-all-odds victory.
Cameron Jerome's stunning effort won it ten minutes from time after Gary Hooper had equalised Matt Ritchie's opener in the first half.
Jonny Howson was dismissed midway through the second period and Ryan Bennett was forced off with injury just seven minutes after coming on, but somehow Neil's Canaries took the three points.
City made four changes from the FA Cup defeat at Preston last week, with captain Russell Martin returning to the side along with Martin Olsson, Alex Tettey and Cameron Jerome.
Former Canary Andrew Surman started in midfield for Bournemouth, who went into the game unbeaten in the league since September 30.
The tempo for the rest of the game was set in the first ten minutes as both teams signalled their attacking intentions, but it was the home team who edged in front on 18 minutes.
Marc Pugh picked up possession on the left flank and delivered a cross that Ritchie, close to the penalty spot, rifled home first time after squeezing in between Olsson and Bradley Johnson.
Bournemouth were initially boosted by grabbing the lead but after Pugh volleyed over from Brett Pitman's flick, Norwich steadily began to push their opponents back.
Twice they went close: Artur Boruc saved from Jerome at the near-post and Jonny Howson blasted over, but they eventually drew level on 36 minutes.
Nathan Redmond's corner was won by Michael Turner at the back-post, and Hooper was the man to pounce on the loose ball and smash home the equaliser.
HALF-TIME: Bournemouth 1-1 Norwich City
Ruddy matched Pitman's sharp shot ten minutes into the second half as the high tempo of the match continued, but neither side was able to stamp their authority.
Ryan Bennett replaced Whittaker with half an hour left which saw a reshuffle in the Canaries' back-line as Martin moved to right-back, but their plans were thrown out of the window on 64 minutes.
Bournemouth sub Yann Kermorgant was in possession when Howson made a challenge that Chris Foy deemed bad enough to warrant a straight red card.
Ten-man City were then dealt another blow as Bennett pulled up with a hamstring injury just seven minutes after coming on, so O'Neil replaced him, with Tettey moving to full-back.
By this point Neil had taken his place in the dugout, and he was seeing his new team on the backfoot as Bournemouth pressed, with Ruddy making a good reaction save from Callum Wilson.
Ritchie fired Harry Arter's pass just wide as their forward play continued, but then, with ten minutes left, the Canaries snatched the lead.
It was Jerome, in a similar fashion to his second goal at Brentford earlier in the season, who curled the ball into the top corner from 25 yards, leaving Boruc with no chance.
Bournemouth threw men forward at will in the final moments but City held on for a superb three points.
FULL-TIME: Bournemouth 1-2 Norwich City
GOALS: Cherries: Matt Ritchie (18) - Canaries: Gary Hooper (36), Cameron Jerome (80)
BOURNEMOUTH: Boruc; Francis, Elphick (c), Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Arter, Surman (Gosling 85), Pugh (Fraser 80); Pitman (Kermorgant 61), Wilson. Subs not used: Camp (GK), Smith, O’Kane, Stanislas.
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker (R Bennett 60 (O'Neil 67)), Martin (c), Turner, Olsson; Redmond (Lafferty 79), Howson, Tettey, Johnson; Hooper, Jerome. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Grabban, Hoolahan, Murphy.
REFEREE: Chris Foy
ATTENDANCE: 11,318 (1,438)
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