by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Callum Wilson’s contentious stoppage time equaliser earned Bournemouth a point in a pulsating 3-3 stalemate with West Ham at the Vitality Stadium.
Wilson’s header deep into stoppage time was initially chalked off by linesman Simon Long, after the Bournemouth striker looked to have used his hand to divert the ball into the net.
But following a lengthy discussion between the officials, referee Bobby Madley overturned the decision and awarded the goal.
West Ham had raced into an early lead through James Collins, before the Cherries went ahead after Dan Gosling’s equaliser was followed up by Nathan Ake’s finish in the second half.
But the Hammers fought back and retook the lead on the stroke of full-time. Marko Arnautovic pounced on a costly slip from Asmir Begovic, before stroking home his second minutes later. West Ham looked set to head back to the capital with all three points, but Wilson’s late intervention was enough to secure the Cherries a well-earned point.
With his side on a seven-match winless streak, and after a heavy 4-0 defeat to league leaders Manchester City, Eddie Howe made three changes with Simon Francis, Lewis Cook and Josh King all being recalled.
Junior Stanislas and Andrew Surman both picked up injuries at the Etihad Stadium to add to Howe’s lengthy list of absentees, while experienced striker Jermain Defoe has been ruled out for eight to ten weeks after a nasty tackle sustained in the Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat to Chelsea.
West Ham also rotated with James Collins being recalled and Manuel Lanzini returning from his suspension, while Michail Antonio was absent from the match day squad after an injury setback.
The Cherries looked to start brightly and almost made the breakthrough after just two minutes. Ryan Fraser swung in a free-kick and Angelo Ogbonna inadvertently diverted the ball narrowly wide of his own goal with his head.
From the corner, Jordon Ibe’s delivery was met by Simon Francis who nodded just over the crossbar.
But moments later it was West Ham who took the lead.
Aaron Cresswell swung in a corner for the visitors, and James Collins shrugged off Gosling before powering a header home past Begovic to score his first goal of the season.
Ibe then released Wilson down the near side, and the striker picked out King inside the box. But from six yards out, the Norwegian could only stab wide of Adrian’s post.
Andre Ayew then spurned a chance when he diverted Arthur Masuaku’s drilled cross well wide from close-range.
The Cherries continued to apply the pressure and worked the ball to King on the penalty spot. The striker attempted another first-time effort, and once again sliced narrowly wide of the far corner.
Smith was then urged to shoot by the Vitality, but the full back’s effort was palmed over comfortably by Adrian.
Minutes later, the Cherries did eventually get their leveller when Ryan Fraser delivered from the far side.
Collins looked to clear but could only head the ball into King, which fell to the feet of Gosling who lashed home empathically.
Francis then looked to hook the ball clear and caught Cheikhou Kouyate in the face in front of the technical areas. Both sets of players flooded over to the incident, where Bobby Madley showed the Cherries skipper a yellow card while the Senegalese international received treatment.
Replays showed the contact wasn’t intentional, although Francis was lucky not to be handed his marching orders.
After Bobby Madley had restored calm, Francis latched onto Ibe’s delivery at the back post before teeing up Wilson who headed into the chest of Adrian.
West Ham created the first guilt-edged chance when the teams re-emerged after the interval.
Manuel Lanzini was quickly closed down by Lewis Cook as he looked to get a shot away, with the deflection dropping narrowly wide of the upright.
The Cherries then punished the Hammers and took the lead through Nathan Ake.
Lewis Cook’s delivery into the penalty area was fortunate to squirm through the six-yard box where the Dutchman was on hand to stab home.
David Moyes then threw on Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez in the hunt for a route back into the game.
Gosling saw his shot tipped round the post by Adrian, before Ake came close to scoring his second when he planted a header into the side netting from a tight angle. Ibe then saw his low drive from outside the area well saved.
At the other end Hernandez received Carroll’s cushioned header and picked out Arnautovic ten yards out. However, the Austrian could only spurn his shot just wide of the far post.
Ryan Fraser then saw his shot sail narrowly wide before substitute Benik Afobe was twice denied at the near post in quick succession by the sprawling Hammers’ keeper.
Adrian’s fine interventions would be cruelly mismatched by Begovic minutes later, when West Ham stole a second.
The Bosnian slipped after collecting Smith’s back pass and Arnautovic was on hand to stroke home into the empty net.
On the cusp of full-time Begovic’s game went from bad to worse when he failed to keep hold of Hernandez’s low effort, and the ball squirmed from his grasp to leave Arnautovic free to tap home for his brace.
But in a last gasp moment of madness, Wilson headed home to ensure the teams shared the spoils.
The equaliser sees Bournemouth remain in the relegation zone in 18th place, just one point above the Hammers. The Cherries now look ahead to another home game against newly invigorated Everton, in what is rapidly turning into another six-pointer for Eddie Howe’s side.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, Francis, S.Cook, Ake, Fraser, Gosling, L. Cook, Ibe, King, Wilson
Subs: Boruc, Pugh, Afobe, Hyndman, Mahoney, Mousset, Simpson
West Ham: Adrian, Zabaleta, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Obiang, Masuaku, Lanzini, Ayew, Arnautovic
Subs: Hart, Reid, Carroll, Sakho, Hernandez, Quina, Rice
Referee: Bobby Madley