West Ham denied unlikely victory by controversial late goal
PUBLISHED: 17:36 26 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:36 26 December 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Referee Bobby Madley changed his mind and allowed Bournemouth an injury-time equaliser
Bournemouth 3 West Ham United 3
A controversial six-goal festive cracker left both sides sharing the points on the rain-swept south coast, where Bournemouth snatched a draw with a hotly-disputed equaliser three minutes into added time.
Captain James Collins put the Hammers ahead on just seven minutes with his first goal of the season before Dan Gosling levelled to leave both teams all-square at the break.
And although Nathan Ake put the Cherries ahead on the hour mark, Marco Arnautović levelled with a goal that will grace any Christmas Bloopers DVD after Asmir Begovic calamitously slipped on 82 minutes.
Arnautović bagged his second in a final minute of mayhem to take his tally to five goals in five games, before Callum Wilson’s contested equaliser in the third minute of injury time was allowed to stand after referee Bobby Madley over-ruled his assistant’s flag to the fury of everyone claret and blue.
Valuable victories over Chelsea and Stoke City had also sandwiched a dogged draw with Arsenal but just when the Hammers thought they had turned the corner, Newcastle United turned pantomime villains at the weekend to send Moyes boys down into 17th-spot in the Premier League, just one point and one place above Bournemouth.
And following Saturday’s defeat against the Magpies, the West Ham boss made two switches as returning Manual Lanzini and skipper Collins replaced Michail Antonio and substitute Winston Reid.
Certainly, captain Collins could not have marked his recall in more spectacular style, when he left opposing skipper, Simon Francis, flat-footed as he raced to the near-post to head home Arnautović’s right-wing corner to give the Hammers a seventh-minute lead.
On Saturday, defeated Bournemouth had been mere by-standers, too, at the Etihad Stadium, where the Scrooge-like Manchester City continued their trot to the title with a thumping 4-0 win and, still licking his wounds, Eddie Howe made a trio of changes with Francis, Josh King and Lewis Cook returning in place of injured ex-Hammer Junior Stanislas, Andrew Surman and substitute Jack Simpson.
Having just stolen that march on the home defence, Collins was soon back in his own penalty heading Ryan Fraser’s awkward in-swinging free-kick clear and, as the Cherries desperately tried to get back on level terms, Wilson’s low, right-wing cross was then carelessly slid wide by King.
In reply, lone-striker André Ayew also steered a 15-yarder wide of the base of Begovic’s right-hand post but it was Bournemouth, who were now looking the most dangerous as the stretching King slid across the greasy grass to toe-poke wide from eight yards and then Adam Smith let fly from 20-yards but the alert Adrián palmed the ball over his own crossbar.
On the half-hour mark, the inevitable leveller arrived, when Fraser floated over another left-wing free-kick towards the far post, where Collins contrived to head the ball onto King’s shoulder and Gosling arrived right on cue to send a crisp eight-yarder past Adrián.
Two minutes later, Francis was fortunate to escape with a mere yellow card from the lenient referee Madley, when he plunged his high boot into Cheikhou Kouyaté’s neck to leave the pole-axed Senegalese steamroller needing lengthy treatment and, shortly afterwards, Pablo Zabaleta collected his seventh booking of the campaign for a far more innocuous challenge on Smith.
With a Dorset downpour making it difficult for both sides, ironically, in the time that was added on to enable Francis’ studs to be surgically removed from his throat, Kouyaté almost headed past Adrián as an error-strewn first-half drew to a close, the quality having plummeted with the temperature.
Just after the restart, Wilson sent an 18-yarder just wide of the Hammers ‘keeper’s fingertips and the left post, while at the other end, Lanzini’s deflected, looping, angled effort bounced agonisingly beyond the far upright.
Collins was booked for an over-zealous slide through Gosling before Aaron Cresswell was cautioned for hauling back Wilson on 56 minutes and, with the Hammers failing to deal with the consequent free-kick, Bournemouth won a crucial corner that was to prove the catalyst for their second goal.
Taking the consequent flag-kick short, the Cherries worked the ball back down the left-flank before Lewis Cook crossed into the six-yard box, where Ake slid in front of Pedro Obiang to prod his side ahead.
Moyes responded with a double-substitution that saw Obiang and Ayew retire as the bare-armed Andy Carroll arrived alongside the long-sleeved, glove-wearing Javier Hernández and the Frozen Pea almost netted with his first touch but the alert Begovic rescued the situation.
At the other end, Gosling saw his angled 12-yarder tipped aside by Adrián, who was relieved to see Ake nod the consequent corner into the side-netting before Jordon Ibe also went close.
With 20 minutes remaining, Hernández crossed low into the danger-zone but the arriving Arnautović skewed his shot wide and, after Declan Rice replaced Zabaleta, Carroll sent a stinging 18-yarder into Begovic’s clutches.
Still Bournemouth looked most likely to find the net, once more, and only a brilliant parry by the saturated Adrián denied Ibe before the Spaniard’s counterpart had a moment to forget, when Smith sent a routine left-wing back-pass towards his keeper on 82 minutes.
But with the torrential downpour still not making it easy for any man, the red-faced Begovic slipped on his own 18-yard line and Arnautović stole in to send the scuffed clearance into the unguarded net.
And it got yet better for West Ham with just one minute of normal time remaining, when Arthur Masuaku charged down the left-flank before sending in a low cross to Hernández at the far post and, although the Mexican could only scuff his shot, Begovic failed to hold and Arnautović bundled home from all of one yard.
But just when West Ham thought they had snatched an unlikely victory, three minutes into added time, Bournemouth levelled in controversial circumstances, when Smith crossed from the left and Ake nodded towards the far angle, where a suspiciously offside-looking Wilson used a combination of head and arm to send the ball into the net and leave the Hammers fuming.
CHERRIES: Begovic, S. Cook, Ake, Francis, A. Smith, Gosling, L. Cook, Fraser (Pugh 87), Ibe, King (Afobe 65), Wilson. Unused subs: Boruc, Hyndman, Mahoney, Mousset, Simpson.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta (Rice 80), Masuaku, Kouyaté, Obiang (Carroll 60), Arnautović, Lanzini, Ayew (Hernández 60). Unused subs: Hart, Reid, Sakho, Quina.
Booked: Francis (32), Zabaleta (37), Collins (55), Cresswell (56), L. Cook (70), Ake (81), Ogbonna (87).
Referee: Bobby Madley.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.