West Ham come from behind to earn a point against Bournemouth
PUBLISHED: 17:10 20 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:10 20 January 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Chicharito scores vital equaliser as the points are shared at the London Stadium
West Ham United 1 Bournemouth 1
Once again, there was nothing to separate these two sides, who both had to settle for a point in their quest to climb their way to Premier League safety.
Both teams had played out a controversial, action-packed, 3-3 thriller on the south coast on Boxing Day and, 25 days on, they produced a dogged draw in soggy, saturated Stratford, where the Hammers were left to rue a hatful of missed first-half chances.
Indeed, it looked like West Ham were going to pay dearly for their carelessness after Ryan Fraser had given the Cherries the lead on 71 minutes, but David Moyes boys hit straight back from the kick-off to see substitute Javier Hernández conjure up an instant leveller with his fifth goal of the campaign.
After a bitty, barren 202 minutes of FA Cup third round football, the Hammers had finally seen off League One Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night, when Reece Burke’s extra-time winner finally ended a sorry stalemate.
Returning to Premier League action, the Hammers - having lost just one of their previous eight league games – kicked off in 11th spot with just one point more than the Cherries and following Tuesday’s tussle, Moyes made seven switches.
With Adrián, Pablo Zabaleta, Aaron Cresswell, Marko Arnuatović, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Mark Noble and James Collins all returning, that meant Shrewsbury slayer, Burke was on the bench alongside, Sam Byram, Toni Martinez, Joe Hart and Josh Cullen, while André Ayew and Reece Oxford missed the cut
And Cresswell almost marked his recall in deadly fashion with an early, low 25-yarder that skidded across the London Stadium turf and beyond both the outstretched toes of Manuel Lanzini and the base of Asmir Begović’s left-hand post.
On ten minutes, it was Noble’s turn to threaten with a 20-yarder that dipped onto the roof of the Bournemouth net, before Pedro Obiang nodded Lanzini’s swirling left-wing cross into the visiting ‘keeper’s gloves.
Next, it was Arnautović’s turn but Begović brilliantly tipped over the Austrian’s 12-yarder after Zabaleta had sent an unplayable low right-wing cross into the area and then Obiang also scuffed wide.
Bournemouth had exited the FA Cup with a forlorn, three-goal grilling at League One Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night, which ironically meant that they avoided a fourth round clash with the Hammers, next Saturday.
And following that dismal defeat at the DW Stadium, Eddie Howe reverted to type for his 100th Premier League match in charge by making eight changes to his 13th-placed team, who were unbeaten in their last four league outings.
With only Fraser , Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels retaining their shirts, the reshuffled visitors were working overtime and, with Begović on red alert too, the ‘keeper was forced to sprint from goal to slide-tackle the advancing Arnautović, who later guided another angled effort across the face of goal and beyond the far post, on the half-hour mark.
On the one occasion, when the Cherries did try to work their way upfield, Collins was cautioned for body-checking Fraser and then, ten minutes before the interval, Lewis Cook sent a 20-yarder sailing inches past Adrián’s right-hand post to keep a one-sided opening period goalless at the break.
Just after the restart, Masuaku was cautioned for tripping Adam Smith before Ryan Gosling was booked for tripping Kouyaté, but with both Arnautović and Lanzini continuing to mount a two-man assault on the Bournemouth defence, too often they were trying one pass too many and running down blind alleys.
Indeed, another Argentinian almost showed them the way to goal but the overlapping Zabaleta shot weakly at Begović, before compatriot Lanzini then magically tricked and teased his way in from the left flank before curling his over from the edge of the area.
After Angelo Ogbonna was booked for a tussle with the heavily jeered Callum Wilson – the opposing striker who had cast himself as pantomime villain on Boxing Day with his illegal offside, handballed equaliser that earned Bournemouth that draw – ex-Hammer Junior Stanislas replaced Jordon Ibe for the last half-hour to a far more civilised reception.
Shortly afterwards, Lanzini hobbled away to be replaced by Hernández and those two substitutions proved telling.
On 71 minutes, the newly-arrived Stanislas collected from Steve Cook on the halfway line before inviting Fraser to race onto his defence-splitting pass behind Zabaleta and, as Adrián attempted to close the angle, the Bournemouth midfielder lashed an unstoppable 12-yarder between the Spanish ‘keeper and his near post.
But as the Cherries celebrated Fraser’s fifth goal of the season, the Hammers incredibly hit back straight from the kick-off just as they has at the start of the second half at Huddersfield Town, last week.
Receiving the ball on the edge of his own area, Ogbonna launched the ball forward to the opposite penalty box, where Kouyaté nodded on for Hernández, whose flick found Arnautović and, although the Austrian’s effort was charged down, the Mexican substitute was first to react and he bundled the equaliser home from eight yards to turn those Bournemouth cheers to tears and secure a point for the Hammers.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell (Byram 90+1), Zabaleta, Masuaku, Obiang, Kouyaté (Rice 89), Noble, Lanzini (Hernández 64), Arnautović. Unused subs: Hart, Martinez, Burke, Cullen.
CHERRIES: Begović, Francis, Cook S, Aké, Smith, Cook L, Gosling, Daniels, Fraser (King 84), Ibe (Stanislas 62), Wilson. Unused subs: Boruc, Surman, Mousset, Simpson, Taylor.
Booked: Collins (31), Masuaku (49), Gosling (52), Ogbonna (57).
Referee: Martin Atkinson