Hammers Denied Win in Six-goal Thriller
By Tom Dowsett
Wednesday 27 Dec 2017 14:28:00
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There was nothing to separate the two sides at The Vitality Stradium on Boxing Day as West Ham United suffered a major blow when they drew 3-3 with AFC Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

David Moyes made two changes from the side that narrowly lost to newly-promoted Newcastle United on Saturday; James Collins taking the captaincy from Winston Reid, as the New Zealander dropped to the bench and Manuel Lanzini returned from suspension to take the place of Michail Antonio, who didn't make the squad.

After the weekend's defeat, West Ham knew they needed something from the encounter if they were going to stay clear of the relegation zone.

They made a bright start, when the stand-in skipper put them in front with only seven minutes gone as he headed Aaron Cresswell's corner past Asmir Begović.

Eddie Howe's side were inches away from finding a quick equaliser minutes later, but Joshua King saw his effort go wide when it seemed easier to score.

Before King repeated the feat, André Ayew was guilty of doing the same up the other end when he had time and space to pick his spot but he failed to extend his side's advantage.

The Cherries were putting the pressure on and Adam Smith saw his effort from distant pushed over by Adrián.

The home side persisted and eventually that pressure paid off as a freekick was awarded for a foul by Pablo Zabaleta.

Ryan Fraser stepped up and the effort deflected off the head of Collins into the path of King and he then found Dan Gosling who stabbed the ball in past Adrián.

Five minutes later, Bournemouth captain Simon Francis received a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Cheikhou Kouyaté. The defender was only given a yellow card when the travelling contingent wanted to see a red. Thankfully after some lengthy treatment, Kouyaté was able to continue.

The Hammers must have been disappointed to go into the break level but were probably fortunate not to be behind.

The first opportunity of the second-half fell the way of the visitors, as Lanzini directed a shot wide before the hosts turned the game on its head on 57 minutes. Nathan Aké diverted a low cross past Adrián after the Irons had failed to clear a corner.

On the hour, Moyes decided to relieve some of the pressure and make a double change. He opted to bring on Andy Carroll and Javier Hernández for Pedro Obiang and Ayew.

West Ham had Adrián to thank for keeping them in with a chance of taking something back to East London  as the Spaniard made important saves from Gosling, Jordon Ibe and Benik Afobe who had earlier replaced King.

Moyes made use of his final change on 79 minutes, as Declan Rice was introduced in place of Zabaleta.

Out of nothing, two minutes later, the Hammers levelled matters when Begović slipped on the wet surface when attempting to clear his lines.
Marko Arnautović saw his chance and rolled the ball into an empty net.

West Ham still had time to look for a winner and thought they had found it on 89 minutes, as Arnautović scored his second on the follow up, after Begović had blocked an effort from Hernández and the away end was sent into raptures.

The travelling support were dismayed when fourth official Mike Jones added six minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game and their displeasure was made worse when Callum Wilson rescued a point.

There was a sense of relief after Simon Long had flagged for offside as the ball appeared to go in off his arm.

After lengthy consultation, referee Robert Madley decided to go against his assistant and gave the goal.

The Irons remain 17th and now have a week to prepare for the visit of West Bromwich Albion to East London.

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