Danny Lewis – @DannyLewis_95
A Joshua King hat trick earned AFC Bournemouth their first win in 2017 and ended a winless run of nine games. Michail Antonio and Andre Ayew scored for the Hammers, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Cherries taking all three points.
The match started off very quickly and AFC Bournemouth had a penalty after just eight minutes when Charlie Daniels was pulled down by Sofiane Feghouli. It was King who stepped up and he sent Darren Randolph the wrong way, but his effort went wide of the mark.
West Ham took advantage of this and within a minute the visitors went in front. From the goal kick the ball was worked up the pitch towards Antonio, who managed to squeeze the ball between Boruc’s outreached hand and the far post.
Both teams put a lot of pressure on each other after the goal, but it was the home side that managed to score in the 31st minute. King flicked the ball over his own head and that of Jose Fonte before coolly placing the ball into the bottom corner to draw the sides level.
Just five minutes later the Cherries had a chance to go into the lead as they got a penalty when Jose Fonte brought down Marc Pugh in the West Ham box. It was Benik Afobe who stepped up to take it this time, but his tame effort was easily saved by Randolph.
There were no more goals before the break and the home side would have been very frustrated about going in on level terms after missing those two penalties.
However, they didn’t have to wait too long to get their noses in front once the second half started. Just three minutes after the restart Josh King got his second of the game. Ryan Fraser put in a good delivery from a free kick and West Ham were unable to deal with it. The ball fell to King and the Norwegian international guided the ball past Randolph to make it 2-1 to Bournemouth.
West Ham were made to work for their equalise, but it came in the 83rd minute when substitutes Sam Byram and Andre Ayew combined. Pedro Obiang played a brilliant ball between Daniels and Steve Cook for Byram to run onto, who then squared it to Ayew for the Ghanaian to pass into an empty net, bringing it back to 2-2.
The Hammers must have thought they would be leaving Dean Court with at least a point in the bag, but King’s third of the game meant that he would be leaving with the match ball and his team would be collecting all three points. AFC Bournemouth broke quickly after dispossessing Ayew. The ball fell to Jack Wilshere, who’s shot was saved by Randolph, however unluckily for the Irish stopper, it fell to the feet of King who put the ball in the net before running off to celebrate with this manager.
The game came to a finish soon after, with the Cherries coming out of it as 3-2 winners. This result means Bournemouth are now in 14th place, six points away from the drop zone, while West Ham stay 11th.
After the game Eddie Howe described how it felt to finally end the winless run: “It’s relief from my perspective, just pure relief. You work so hard to achieve success for the team and the club and when you don’t feel you’re achieving your goals it’s disappointing.
“We’ve worked the boys very hard to get them to turn things around and thankfully today is a reward for all the players.”
MAN OF THE MATCH
King may have missed a penalty early on but he more than made up for that with a well taken hat-trick. He showed great skill to flick the ball over his head to set up the first goal and a poacher’s instinct to be in the right place at the right time for his third. He was a constant threat and too much for the West Ham defence to handle.
AFC Bournemouth (4-2-3-1)
Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Arter, Gosling; Fraser (Wilshere), King, Pugh; Afobe (Mousset 85)
West Ham United (4-2-3-1)
Randolph; Kouyate (Byram 78), Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Noble (Snodgrass 58), Obiang; Feghouli (Ayew 58), Antonio, Lanzini; Carroll