Steve Mounie played a starring role as Huddersfield Town ended their five-match losing streak in the Premier League with a 4-1 home win over in-form Bournemouth.
Mounie has struggled for consistency since becoming the Terriers' record signing at £11.5million in pre-season, but he produced arguably his most complete display in England on Sunday, impressively leading the line to inspire the side's first league win since December 16.
Considering David Wagner's men had scored just once in the process of losing their last five top-flight games and had not netted two goals in a single game since beating Watford 4-1 in mid-December, their first-half performance came as something of a surprise against a Cherries outfit unbeaten in seven in the league.
Alex Pritchard opened the scoring early on and, although Junior Stanislas levelled soon after, the hosts went ahead again in the 28th minute through the lively Mounie, who had set up their first.
Bournemouth found their opponents even more difficult to deal with after the break, only managing to stay within touching distance as a result of Huddersfield's profligacy.
But no such criticism could be levelled at Mounie, whose strike deflected in off Steve Cook with 24 minutes to go to effectively end Bournemouth's chances, with Rajiv van La Parra's late penalty wrapping things up to lift Huddersfield – who lost Aaron Mooy to a potentially serious knee injury late on – out of the relegation zone.
Despite the understandable lack of confidence that comes with losing five in a row, Huddersfield started brightly and broke the deadlock after seven minutes.
Mounie did brilliantly on left flank, powering past Simon Francis and cutting a pass back to Pritchard, who steered home for his first Premier League goal since joining from Norwich City in January.
Eddie Howe's side responded promptly as Stanislas coolly picked out the bottom-right corner from 10 yards after Ryan Fraser's cross found its way past Florent Hadergjonaj.
But the Terriers showed admirable persistence, restoring their lead before the half-hour mark – Mounie this time the finisher, heading Mooy's teasing free-kick delivery past the helpless Asmir Begovic.
Cook almost brought Bournemouth level again soon after, but his flick from a clever corner routine clipped the outside of the left-hand post.
Huddersfield continued to look the more threatening at the start of the second half, with Pritchard firing into the side netting and Mooy dragging a 20-yard effort narrowly wide of the bottom-right corner.
Their best opportunity fell to Tom Ince, but he inexplicably headed over from close range after reaching Mooy's pinpoint delivery.
Persistence finally paid dividends for Huddersfield in the 66th minute, Cook given the unwanted credit of an own goal after Mounie's shot from 18 yards following Mooy's inch-perfect cut-back.
Huddersfield subsequently suffered the blow of seeing the excellent Mooy taken off on a stretcher, putting a dampener on an otherwise excellent afternoon for the Yorkshire club.
But there was still time for a fourth goal, as Van La Parra confidently converted a spot-kick after Pritchard was sent tumbling by Dan Gosling, giving the home side a measure of revenge for their 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth in November.
Key Opta facts:
- Huddersfield Town scored more goals against Bournemouth (4) as they managed in their previous eight Premier League games combined (3).
- Bournemouth are the seventh team Huddersfield have beaten in all four tiers of English league football, along with Bradford City, Brentford, Bury, Grimsby Town, Portsmouth and Watford.
- Alex Pritchard scored his first Premier League goal in his seventh appearance in the competition, spanning three clubs (Tottenham, West Brom, Huddersfield).
- Pritchard has been involved in three goals in three league games against Bournemouth (2 goals, 1 assist).