MX23RW : Thursday, February 25 07:02:55| >> :120:29934:29934:
Mar 6, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at Craven Cottage
Fulham
1-5
Bournemouth
Smith (66')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Pitman (29', 61'), Ritchie (37', 71'), Cook (84')

Result: Bournemouth return to top of Championship with Fulham rout

Braces from Brett Pitman and Matt Ritchie help Bournemouth to a 5-1 thrashing of Fulham at Craven Cottage, which sends the Cherries back to the top of the Championship.

Bournemouth regained top spot in the Championship in style as they thrashed 10-man Fulham 5-1 at Craven Cottage this evening.

Braces from Brett Pitman and Matt Ritchie did most of the damage before defender Steve Cook bagged the pick of the goals late on.

A second victory in the space of three days sees the Cherries climb from fourth and above previous leaders Middlesbrough on goal difference.

Brett Pitman of Bournemouth celebrates with Callum Wilson as he scores their third goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and AFC Bournemouth at Craven Cottage on March 6, 2015© Getty Images

Fulham, who are remain eight points clear of the relegation zone, started brightly but the returning Hugo Rodallega and Fernando Amorebieta each sent headers over the crossbar.

Ross McCormack saw a near-post drive kept out by Artur Boruc, but Bournemouth soon began knocking on the door themselves as Marc Pugh's fine curling effort drew a full-stretch save out of Marcus Bettinelli.

Amorebieta and Ryan Tunnicliffe had to produce desperate clearances from inside the six-yard box during a manic goalmouth scramble, but Bournemouth were not to be denied on their next attack as Pitman put them ahead.

The striker, only playing due to an injury to midweek match-winner Yann Kermorgant, struck left-footed beyond Bettinelli from 12 yards after peeling off his marker to collect a cross from overlapping left-back Charlie Daniels.

Bournemouth's second came from the opposite flank as Simon Francis's run created space for Ritchie to cut inside and bag his 10th of the season, via the aid of a Nikolay Bodurov deflection which took his shot into the bottom corner.

Matt Ritchie of Bournemouth (30) celebrates with team mates as he scores their second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and AFC Bournemouth at Craven Cottage on March 6, 2015© Getty Images

Cherries top scorer Callum Wilson thought that he had ended his five-match barren run on 57 minutes, but his goal was harshly disallowed for a push on Bodurov shortly before Pitman score a fine individual second.

He collected a pass from Francis and turned on the halfway line to run at the Fulham defence, poking the ball through two White shirts before collecting and finishing confidently for his third against the Cottagers this season.

Brett Pitman of Bournemouth celebrates with Callum Wilson as he scores their third goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and AFC Bournemouth at Craven Cottage on March 6, 2015© Getty Images

Half-time substitute Matt Smith, who has recently returned from a prolific loan spell at Bristol City, gave the hosts brief hope when he reduced the deficit by thrashing into the roof of the net following McCormack's through-ball for his first Fulham goal.

These were soon ended when Amorebieta was sent off on 70 minutes. Wilson had caused problems running in behind all game and he went clear, only for the Venezuelan defender to clip his heels and walk on his return from a four-month injury layoff.

Brett Pitman of Bournemouth celebrates with Callum Wilson as he scores their third goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and AFC Bournemouth at Craven Cottage on March 6, 2015© Getty Images

Fulham's misery was quickly compounded as Ritchie drilled the resultant free kick home, and Cook capped a great night for Eddie Howe's side when he bent a shot into the top corner from an unlikely angle on 84 minutes.

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Matt Ritchie of Bournemouth (30) celebrates with team mates as he scores their second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and AFC Bournemouth at Craven Cottage on March 6, 2015
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