Bournemouth boss Scott Parker heaped praise on his young stars after beating QPR to maintain the Cherries’ unbeaten start and climb to joint top of the Championship.
Young winger Jaidon Anthony delivered a dazzling display in scoring and then teeing up Dominic Solanke in the first half to seal the hosts’ fourth win of the campaign, despite Sam McCallum’s goal offering the visitors hope.
Inexperienced keeper Mark Travers then stepped up with five vital late saves and with defender Jordan Zemura also shining, Parker was delighted to see his faith in youth repaid.
A dazzling display from Jaidon Anthony helped Bournemouth beat QPR on Tuesday night
Bournemouth: Mark Travers 8, Adam Smith 7, Gary Cahill 8, Lloyd Kelly 7, Jordan Zemura 7, Jefferson Lerma 7, Philip Billing 7, Ryan Christie 7, Jaidon Anthony 8 (Morgan Rogers 76), David Brooks 6 (Ben Pearson 60), Dominic Solanke 8.
Goals: Anthony 12, Solanke 35
Yellow cards: Zemura, Brooks, Kelly, Billing, Smith
Subs not used: Orjan Nyland, Chris Mepham, Jack Stacey, Emiliano Marcondes, Morgan Rogers, Jamal Lowe
QPR: Seny Dieng 6, Osman Kaky 5 (Albert Admoah 55, 6), Rob Dickie 5, Jordy de Wijs 6, Yoann Barbet 6, Sam McCallum 7, Stefan Johansen 6, Chris Willock 6, Ilias Chair 6 (George Thomas 80), Dominic Ball 5, Lyndon Dykes 5 (Andre Gray 55, 5).
Goals: McCallum 57
Yellow cards: Johansen, Willock
Subs not used: Jordan Archer, Jimmy Dunne, Luke Amos, Andre Dozzell, George Thomas
He said: ‘Jaidon works tirelessly for this team, he’s got big quality as well. I’m very, very pleased for Jaidon. He’s done so well in a short space of time.
‘It’s fair to say that Jordan Zemura and Jaidon are players that no-one thought would be where they are in our team and they are pivotal to what we are doing.
On Travers, he added: ‘He stood up for us tonight. He’s come a long way in a short space of time, he’s worked relentlessly. He’s kept us in the game tonight and was big for us.’
The victory, combined with West Brom’s draw at home to Derby, means both teams share identical records at the top of the table.
Parker Parker followed up Saturday’s dominant victory over Barnsley by handing deadline day signing Ryan Christie a full debut in midfield, but his side struggled to rediscover their rhythm in the early stages.
This allowed the visitors to make early forays forward, with on-loan defender Sam McCallum drawing a foul outside the box before Ilias Chair curled the resulting free-kick just wide while Chris Willock made several threatening runs down the left.
However, with 12 minutes played Anthony stole the ball from Rob Dickie and raced clear to curl beyond Seny Dieng and open the scoring against the run of play.
With that, the Cherries took control.
Their patience was rewarded when a passing move was finished by Solanke, who turned home Anthony’s pinpoint low cross to double the lead on his 24th birthday.
The former Liverpool striker has now scored or assisted 15 goals in his past 18 games for the Cherries, and with five goals already this season he looks set to be a vital part of their fledgling promotion charge.
Bournemouth’s Jaidon Anthony raced clear to curl beyond QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng
The goal sparked Bournemouth into life and they strung together a series of sharp passing moves around the Hoops box but could not find the killer pass, with Jaidon Anthony and David Brooks spurning good opportunities when well placed.
The Cherries should have doubled their lead after David Brooks and Solanke sliced through the defence, but on his full debut Ryan Christie could only side-foot wide from the edge of the box.
The match was marred by offensive chants from the QPR fans seemingly aimed at Solanke, while referee Keith Stroud handed out eight cards in total as tempers threatened to boil over.
QPR finally found some attacking momentum and had a glimmer of hope when Sam McCallum forced the ball home with 30 minutes left.
However, with Charlie Austin missing due to a domestic situation and Lyndon Dykes replaced before the hour by Andre Gray, Rangers lacked attacking threat.
Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke turned home Anthony’s pinpoint low cross inside the box
In contrast, Anthony received a standing ovation when he was withdrawn with 15 minutes left after contributing a goal and an assist.
In his absence, it was Travers’ turn to take centre stage as the visitors cranked up the pressure late on in a bid to replicate their dramatic comeback against Reading on Saturday.
The defence, marshalled impressively by veteran Gary Cahill, withstood waves of attacks while Chris Mepham made a vital late block.
When they were breached, Travers pushed away Jordy de Wijs’ goal-bound header and somehow denied Gray in the final seconds to ensure Parker’s promising start continued.
QPR boss Mark Warburton saw his own side’s unbeaten league start end as they slipped to fifth in the table, but remained optimistic in defeat.
He said: ‘They will learn from this result. Bournemouth are a very good team, very talented team. That we are sat here disappointed now shows we are making progress.’