Joshua King, Benik Afobe, Marc Pugh and Charlie Daniels helped Bournemouth to a resounding 4-0 win over sorry 10-man Middlesbrough, whose battle against relegation looks doomed to failure.
King handed his side an early lead at Vitality Stadium with his 11th Premier League goal of 2017, before Afobe made the most of some good fortune to make it two after just 16 minutes.
Gaston Ramirez's 20th-minute dismissal after two yellows effectively ended the away side's hopes of getting anything from the game, with Pugh and Daniels pouring even more salt in their wounds after the interval.
Eddie Howe's side look all-but safe following Saturday's victory, climbing to 12th place in the Premier League table with four games left, a comfortable seven points clear of 18th-placed Swansea City.
Boro, meanwhile, face an enormous task to prevent an immediate drop back to the Championship after extending their winless streak in the league to 16 games, their last victory coming against Swansea in December.
They remain 19th in the table on 24 points from 33 games, nine points behind Hull City in 17th place, and have games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool still to come.
Bournemouth started the match with attacking intent and went a goal up after just two minutes via King. Pugh played a clever one-two with Daniels down the left before sending in a low cross and the Norway international beat goalkeeper Brad Guzan with a tidy finish at his near post.
11 - @afcbournemouth striker Josh King has 11 Premier League goals in 2017 so far; five more than Middlesbrough in this period. Sensational. pic.twitter.com/ldTyntuJlI — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 22, 2017
The hosts continued to dominate proceedings after their early opener and Afobe made it two, tapping home from close range after the ball ran kindly from a challenge between Adam Clayton and Harry Arter.
And things went from bad to worse for Boro when Ramirez received his second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Pugh, having previously gone into the book for simulation inside the box.
Marten de Roon nearly pulled one back for the visitors with a superb long-range strike, but Artur Boruc was on hand to push his volley wide for a corner.
Bournemouth kept on pushing for more after the interval and Afobe should have doubled his personal tally after a superb cross from Ryan Fraser, only to see Guzan pull off a superb save and keep out his header from six yards out.
There was no denying the home side in the 65th minute, though, Pugh cutting inside from the left before curling a shot into the far corner after being set up by Lewis Cook.
It was Daniels who had the last word, however, as the defender fired a low shot past the helpless Guzan after a free-kick to make it 4-0 and cap a dismal outing for Steve Agnew's beleaguered Boro.
Key Opta stats:
- No ground has seen more Premier League goals this season than the Vitality Stadium (57, level with Anfield and the Liberty Stadium).
- Bournemouth have scored 31 home Premier League goals this season, a number only four sides can better (Tottenham 43, Everton & Liverpool 41, Chelsea 39).
- Middlesbrough have failed to score in 10 Premier League away games this season, more than any other side.
- Boro are also winless in 16 Premier League away games, their longest ever such run in the competition.
- Only Romelu Lukaku (14) and Harry Kane (12) have scored more Premier League goals in 2017 than Josh King (11).
- Josh King (11) has scored five goals more than Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2017 (6).
- Gaston Ramirez was sent off for two bookable offences after just 20 minutes – the fastest in a Premier League game since Chico Flores for Swansea against Chelsea in April 2014 (16 minutes).
- Middlesbrough have conceded 4+ goals in consecutive away top-flight games for the first time since 2004 (1-5 v Portsmouth, 3-5 v Arsenal).