Middlesbrough secured a vital first home win of the season, and their first in eight matches, as they took the game to Bournemouth at the Riverside Stadium.
The 2-0 victory will be remembered for Gaston Ramirez's sizzling solo goal which brightened horizons on Teesside as Boro went three points clear of the drop zone.
Middlesbrough followed up their stoic goalless draw from last Saturday against Arsenal with a deserved first victory in front of their home fans. Ramirez found more space in the middle of the park and was able to recall his form of last season that helped propel the Teessiders into the top flight.
Boro started with an impetus and drive that carried them through difficult spells against Eddie Howe's men and saw them create enough opportunities to seal a much-needed victory.
The form of Alvaro Negredo up front, in light of Boro's recent shyness in front of goal, will remain at the forefront of Aitor Karanka's thinking.
Largely frustrated and shackled by Simon Francis and Steve Cook, the Spaniard endeavoured to impact on the game but fluffed his lines when presented with a golden opportunity to kill the game -- firing a tame shot into the grateful arms of Artur Boruc.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Karanka was forced into a reshuffle due to injuries on the training field, meaning Calum Chambers returned at the expense of Daniel Ayala, and Marten de Roon's thigh injury handed a start to Stewart Downing.
The boss's persistence to play Ramirez as his No. 10 was rewarded handsomely today as the Uruguayan dictated much of Boro's good work.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Victor Valdes, 7 -- Improved again after a better showing at Arsenal including a brilliant tip onto the bar after Callum Wilson found space in the penalty area. Came for crosses when required and conveyed a sense of calm that spread from the back.
DF Antonio Barragan, 5 -- Continued his poor decline in standards with another shaky outing. Barragan too often displays an aversion to clearing his lines when the opportunity presents and frequently invited unwanted pressure onto Boro's backline.
DF Ben Gibson, 7 -- Another commanding performance from the young starlet who dominated all aerial battles and performed well to keep the powerful Wilson under wraps.
DF Calum Chambers, 7 -- Chambers slotted back into centre-back with an ease that belied his years, his pace in particular a positive as he dealt with Bournemouth's roaming frontline.
DF George Friend, 7 -- Returning to his best form in recent weeks, Friend linked up well with Downing on the left hand side and was unlucky to see a rasping drive flash just the wrong side of the post.
MF Adam Clayton, 7 -- Went about his business in a no-nonsense fashion. Sharp tackling and neat passes into Adam Forshaw were often the backbone of all of the good things Boro were able to do.
MF Adam Forshaw, 7 -- Displayed his usual consistency and showed a maturity in recycling possession when his side were experiencing spells of pressure.
MF Stewart Downing, 7 -- Downing did little wrong bar a few disappointing deliveries from set piece but was in the right place at the right time to fire home Negredo's headed assist in the second half.
MF Adama Traore, 6 -- Boro's front-footed style didn't permit Traore to have the same devastating effect on the counter as last week, but he beat his man at will but was unable to do any real damage.
MF Gaston Ramirez, 8 -- Showed why Karanka rates him as his side's central creative focal point with a galvanising showing. His sensational run from deep will rightly draw all the plaudits -- he surged forward after intercepting the ball, jinked past Andrew Surman and shot low beyond the keeper to cap a masterful showing.
FW Alvaro Negredo, 6 -- Struggled again to really impact proceedings but it was not for the want of trying. Got up well to nod down Traore's inswinging outside of the boot cross to set up Downing and seal an important win for Boro.
MF Grant Leadbitter, 6 -- Boro's captain returned from injury just after hour mark and was a solid presence in midfield that guided them through some nervy passages in the game.
FW Jordan Rhodes, NR -- Entered the fray on 85 minutes and played off the shoulder of the last man to occupy the opponent's backline as they pushed to get back into the game.
MF Viktor Fischer, NR -- Replaced Traore in injury time in a tactical substitution as the clock wound down.