Match Report and MOM v West Ham

Neil Dawson

Fans' Favourite
Late hammer blow denies Bournemouth...

Games between West Ham and Bournemouth are normally entertaining and due to both sides love of attacking are also normally goal laden. Today was no different with an incident filled four goal thriller of an emotional rollercoaster....and honours even.

Once again VAR was at the centre of the game giving and denying Bournemouth a goal and not giving a penalty.... I still hate it..... even Eddie said afterwards he doesn't celebrate anymore in case he is wrong - although he remains in support of the principles.

Both teams named unchanged sides today, not surprising that given a) the runs they are on and b) its doubtful many of the 22 that played mid-week did much to trouble their managers' selection process. It was the Hammers that made the better start though, moving the ball well and dominating possession. Bournemouth defended well, both full backs setting the tone for decent days with some resolute tackling and fine playing out.

Bournemouth's early forays were very dependent on Josh King's movement and he is also starting to link well with Rico the two showing good partnership signs on the wing. It was West Ham who took the lead though, when Heller was allowed to control a deep cross too easily and lay back for YARMOLENKO who turned Ake far too simply to curl a wicked shot into the top corner.

The goal spurred Bournemouth on and they enjoyed a strong middle period of the half with Billing and Lerma imperious in the centre and Stacey very spritely on the right (elements of a young Franno). They equalised seven minutes after the opener. A short corner allowed Rico to cross and the ball broke off Ake to KING who rifled home but it took a long time for VAR to chalk off the linesman's flag. Bournemouth were buzzing and Solanke headed narrowly over from Rico's corner. Fabianski departed to be replaced by Roberto in the Iron's goal, the new Spanish keeper providing the home fans with some great entertainment with his errant kicking.

The half finished with some considerable West Ham pressure and a flurry of corners and one tremendous reflex save from Ramsdale to deny Anderson's bicycle kick.

HT Bournemouth 1 West Ham 1

The second half exploded into action with a goal in the second minute. Solanke, who grew throughout this game put together a silky run from the wing and fed King who laid off for WILSON to fire his obligatory goal v West Ham low into the bottom corner from just inside the area. Bournemouth then went on a run that should have yielded a third goal - an absolute purple patch of vintage Bournemouth football and one that they will be rueing tonight didn't get them the win they craved.

First a great move saw King leave the ball for Billing to thunder inches wide across goal, next up was Wilson latching on to a sublime cross field pass by Stacey to cut inside and hit a shot with such venom that it hit Roberto's arm without the keeper knowing much about it..... ('a foot either side' said every man, woman and child in the ground). Next up was Ake firing in from another dangerous Rico corner but the linesman spotting Solanke in an offside position in front of the keeper. The final drama of the third act saw a sumptuous move between Stacey, Lerma, Harry Wilson and Solanke release Callum one on one in the box ten yards out..... but his shot lacked all the power it needed (if only he had copied his shot before) and Roberto was allowed to make a save he should never have been near.

There is always a sense when a purple patch doesn't yield that a team starts to think 'is this our day'. West Ham then took over with Bournemouth tiring and dropping deeper and deeper. We feared another Sheffield United and wondered if Eddie would make any subs with Harry and Billing in particular blowing out of their bums. The goal when it came will frustrate Eddie..... the tired Harry didn't go with Cresswell and it meant when Anderson's far post header back reached the left back he had all the time in the world to smash it past Ramsdale - amateur defending once again undoing a great attacking display.

There was one moment of controversy left, King breaking into the box and clearly having his shirt tugged all the way - he went down, VAR review and that tactic of not over-ruling the ref that has worked both for us and against us this season kicked in once again meaning the debate around this farcical system will once again stop people speaking about a great game of football. The game finished with the two mildest mannered men in football having a bit of handbags on the touchline... there will never be a Sky fight night special....Eddie trigger hands Howe v's Manuel the Punch Pellegrini...…..

Ft Bournemouth 2 West Ham 2

Ramsdale 7 - Good handling and a couple fantastic saves.

Stacey 7 - Really encouraging game as he grows into his role - strong attacking.
Ake 6 - Turned too easily for the goal else normal strong display
Cook 7 - Usual dog of war 'bring it on' performance
Rico 7 - Some excellent interplay and a cultured left foot, defensively solid.

Wilson 4 - You get goals but very little else on this season's evidence. Lazy for equaliser.
Billing 7 - Strong and athletic and clever feet for a big man
Lerma 8 - The calmest, strongest and most skilful player on the pitch. Dominant.
King 7 - Full of running and tricks and a great goal.

Solanke 7 - Strongest showing yet, good link play, intelligent running.
Wilson 7 - On form at the moment, great goal so massive surprise he missed that chance.

MOM - Big Jeff for me - outstanding. Best games for the club for Rico, Stacey and Dom too.

The absolute right result for the neutral. Two enterprising attacking teams, playing good football with even possession and chances. We are not neutral though so the reflection tonight will be on that purple patch, the two VAR decisions against and why Callum put his laces through everything apart from the one thing that needed it. It was that inability to score when on top that did for us once again allied with the fact we can't seem to stop soft goals straight afterwards.

I think this was actually the best performance of the last three games, despite it yielding the least points. It was against a better team for a start and also the players, that let's face it won't be playing when everyone is fit, put in their best games of the season so the exposure has done them good. Our centre of midfield duo are as athletic as we have seen and Lerma is just a joy to watch in terms of calmness. The exception to this and the only real worry from the afternoon is Harry Wilson who, goals aside, doesn't look to me like he is capable at this level and hasn't improved like Stacey, Rico and Solanke have. I'm glad our normal Liverpool bound money train got derailed at Crewe on what I've seen so far.

I still think we are one formation change away from our best team - however churlish this may seem after 7 out of 9 points. I think we need an extra man in midfield and leave King, Callum and one other wide man free to attack. King and Harry offered very little protection to their full backs today and a better side would have capitalised with even more than the two West Ham grabbed. Both goals came from a two on one overload in the full back spot as did many other chances. That said - you can't knock the results the current formation have got and it will be given many more chances to continue i'm sure. It would be great to see what effect on his form it would have if Solanke could get any sort of goal and with Fraser, Brooks and Danjuma to come back up front it's a mouth watering prospect (and there's still Ibe after that - just for you Druss).

So.… entertaining afternoon...…...a fair result...…… but a lot of 'what ifs' on the minds of a few players and the referee control panel in Stockport as they drop off to sleep tonight.
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Agree with most of that. A bit harsh on H Wilson as I felt he was growing into the game despite a few misplaced passes early on. He was intrinsic in that purple patch when we were looking for the third and I don't necessarily think he should have come off despite them getting the equiliser.
Largely spot on that although like red_house I thought H Wilson improved second half and should have had an assist. If he turns into one of those "other than all the goals what does he do" players then it's not all bad. Stanislas kept us up being that sort of player.

I also wonder if they were checking the Cook tackle for a red card rather than checking the pen for the shirt pull on King.
Interestinng re Harry Wilson, he seems to have split opinion today. I agree what you say about him on the evidence of all games to date, however I thought he was good today. I thought he was involved a lot more in the game and contributed well, although he is very lightweight and was certainly at fault for the West Ham equaliser. Good match report as always.
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Good write up overall thanks Neil.

As Danny11 says....Harry Wilson is one of those that can appear quiet but is often just neatly linking, or moving into space, or pulling opponents out of position for others to move into. He did that pretty well at Stains.
I did feel the urge to write a thread about our performance on the way home but with Al creating more than one I thought Id simply add my thoughts on here.

This, first a foremost, was an excellent game of football. As good as draw as you will see this season. We were excellent at times and its weird to have a keeper in goal who makes you feel like he will save every shot and command his penalty area. He doesn't, obviously, but he gives that feeling of confidence.

Coming into the this match I thought we would struggle against one of best teams this season. But the boys stepped up and coming out of the match disappointed not to have won shows how well we had played.

Every single player played well and while Harry Wilson is still too quite in matches he really did seem to get better as the game wore on. Rico was excellent with his best and most consistent match in a Bournemouth shirt so far. Stacey was bombing up the pitch as any Howe fullback should. Billing and Lerma controlled the middle of the park. West Ham had to resort to sending the ball long or down the wings as they failed time and again to control the centre.

Last point on Solanke. I cannot understand how certain people do not see what he brings to the team. Maybe they are the same people who are blinded by fast runs into dead ends and step overs before losing the ball? Solanke links all of the players together. Hes all over the place getting the ball and bringing players in. He still has room to improve and every player who gets over the halfway line needs goals at some point or another. If Wilshire had played exactly like Solanke had for us today when he was at number 10 he would rightfully be getting rave reviews but because Solanke is titled as a striker people get upset when hes not scoring?

If we carry on winning or drawing I really dont care if Solanke doesnt score all season.

Enjoyed today and now strongly believe this can be a good year for us.

Deleted member 47

Agree, too lightweight, not worth 25m. He's got a good shot on him but so did Mousset, he needs to be getting past fullbacks like Fraser does but he just doesn't have the muscle or pace of that.
... and the referee control panel in Stockport as they drop off to sleep tonight.
Not sure if it's a typo or genuine mistake but VAR is in Stockley Park near Heathrow. A souless corporate hell of a creation.

Not that it really matters but just thought I'd point it out in case.
Great report, thanks Neil. Just one thing, not sure if we'll see this on MOTD or if the cameras caught it, but we were directly behind the goal and it appeared that Cresswell's shot for their second goal took a slight but crucial deflection off a defender (Ake, I think) which took it away from Ramsdale. I may be wrong but I felt that, but for the deflection, Ramsdale had it covered. Thought our keeper had another excellent game. That save from Anderson in the first-half was exceptional, shades of Banks v Brazil 1970!

Neil Dawson

Fans' Favourite
Not sure if it's a typo or genuine mistake but VAR is in Stockley Park near Heathrow. A souless corporate hell of a creation.

Not that it really matters but just thought I'd point it out in case.
Fair point. That’s me lazily listening to the radio! They must have been looking out the windows at planes then when Josh was pulled back.