Bournemouth secured their first Premier League win at St Mary’s as Saints’ first half defensive frailties cost them in a 3-1 defeat.

A surprise team selection and multiple changes at the back, as well as a lacklustre first 45 minutes, allowed the Cherries take a two-goal lead through Nathan Ake and Harry Wilson.

Ralph Hasenhuttl introduced Ryan Bertrand at the break and went to a far more conventional line-up with Saints much better for it.

James Ward-Prowse pulled one back from the penalty spot but it proved just too much of a mountain to climb as Saints’ four match unbeaten run came to an end with Callum Wilson adding a comical third for the Cherries in stoppage time.

Saints had the first chance of a high energy start to the game on six minutes.

Cedric Soares, starting at left wing-back as Ralph Hasenhuttl recalled Kevin Danso to slot into the right side of three centre halves, produced an accurate cut back cross that found right wing-back James Ward-Prowse but his first-time effort from 12 yards out went tamely wide.

But it was Bournemouth who took the lead four minutes later.

It was poor defending by Saints from a set-piece as an inswinging right sided corner found Nathan Ake who bustled past Oriol Romeu and with the momentum behind his run got ahead of Kevin Danso to power a downward header into the net from six yards out.

It was a pretty slack start from Saints but Sofiane Boufal tried to inject some urgency into their play with a run into the area, but his shot was weak and easy for Aaron Ramsdale.

Saints were fortunate not to be punished further for their sloppiness as VAR ruled out a potential Cherries goal on 25 minutes.

Josh King was played in behind, opened up his body and dispatched a right footed shot into the far corner but VAR showed he was fractionally offside.

Having switched to a back four with Danso at right back and Ward-Prowse in midfield, Hasenhuttl reacted by changing it again to go back to a five with Danso now in the middle of three centre halves.

Bournemouth ripped them apart again on 35 minutes, this time down the left, and there was no chance of VAR coming to the rescue.

Philip Billing started the move and then picked up again from King on the overlap before a cutback from the left by-line which was met first time by the on-running Harry Wilson whose first-time side footed finish beat Angus Gunn and went into the far corner.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had a sight of goal moments later as Saints tried to respond but Ramsdale saved at his feet from close range.

The Cherries keeper was in action again three minutes before the break as he had to dive to his left to keep out Nathan Redmond’s drive from distance which was moving in the air.

Hasenhuttl made a much needed half time change with Ryan Bertrand coming on at left back for Danso as Saints went to a back four again with Cedric at right back.

Saints immediately looked more balanced and might have pulled a goal back four minutes after the restart as Cedric’s cross found Ward-Prowse but he side footed a slightly awkward volley from eight yards out over the bar.

Ward-Prowse had a much easier opportunity on 53 minutes – and he delivered to narrow the deficit to just one goal.

Che Adams burst forward and was brought down just inside the area by Steve Cook with referee Chris Kavanagh pointing to the spot. The Cherries felt it shouldn’t be given but VAR ruled it was correct.

Ward-Prowse stepped and tucked the penalty home, sending Ramsdale the wrong way.

Bournemouth felt they should have had a penalty moments later when King went down under the challenged of Cedric. Referee Kavanagh didn’t give it, and it went to VAR. Though there was contact the decision went in Saints’ favour.

Ward-Prowse fired narrowly over from the edge of the area while Boufal had a long-range effort saved as Saints continued to search for an equaliser.

Redmond was the next to have his head in his hands as he brought the ball down on his chest in the area and unleashed a fierce low volley goalwards that was deflected over off of the heel of Jack Stacey.

The closing stages of the match were open as Saints poured forward and Bournemouth threatened on the counterattack.

Boufal came the closest for Saints with a shot from 20 yards that Ramsdale parried away before Bournemouth added another deep in stoppage time in a defensive embarrassment for Saints.

Bednarek and Gunn tried to leave a long punt up the field to each other and Callum Wilson nicked the ball away and was able to walk it into an empty net to round off a poor night for Saints.