Cherries fight back to beat West Ham
- Stuart Attwell
Behind at half time, AFC Bournemouth produced a brilliant second-half turnaround to claim a 2-1 win over West Ham United for a second straight win to start the new season.
Marko Arnautovic's penalty gave the hosts a half-time lead, but the Cherries were on level terms when Callum Wilson's mesmeric run from halfway ended with a precise equalising finish.
Minutes later Ryan Fraser's free-kick was headed home by Steve Cook and deservedly Bournemouth, last season's comeback kings, were leading at the London Stadium.
A rearguard action was required for the visitors to retain their advantage to the end, Bournemouth keeping things tight to confirm their win, their first at West Ham's new home.
Unchanged from their opening-day win, the Cherries were on the front foot from the off, David Brooks and Joshua King directing shots goalwards in the early exchanges.
Javier Hernandez’s left-footed drive required a good near-post save from Asmir Begovic as the home side’s push continued. While at the other end Lukasz Fabianski pulled off an even better stop moments later after Brooks’ brilliant ball was struck low and towards the corner by Wilson.
However, on 33 minutes West Ham took the lead, Arnautovic scoring from the spot.
Striker Hernandez was again in the thick of things, winning the penalty after beating the offside trap, stepping inside and being upended by Nathan Ake. Anautovic then dispatched powerfully into the bottom corner past Begovic.
There was still time for Begovic to get down well any deny Arnautovic’s low shot and King to see a good opening eight yards out blocked before referee Stuart Attwell blew for half time.
Straight out of the traps for the second Brooks again came close as King played a pass into the box. The new signing turned sharply, his shot deflecting but well saved by Fabianski once more.
Fraser and his team-mates thought the away side should have had a penalty of their own when Mark Noble bundled over the Scot in the area, but the referee was not in agreement.
Wilson levelled matters in the 60th minute of the fixture after finishing off his own fantastic run.
The striker received Steve Cook's pass on halfway, turned and ran at one man, bustled past a second and into the box shrugged off a third before striking low and through Fabianski's legs for his second of the fledgling 2018/19 season.
Amazingly, within six minutes of being behind, the Cherries were in front.
Brooks won a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty box, down by the byline, and Fraser's ball high across the six-yard box was met by Steve Cook, athletically getting ahead of his marker to head down into the ground but up into the roof of the ahead of an impassioned celebration in front of the 1,900 away supporters.
Into the final ten minutes and there was still plenty of life in the game, and while Bournemouth looked capable of a third on the break, the West Ham support was beginning to get frustrated with their side with each errant ball forwards.
Four minutes of added time were signalled, but the Cherries kept their shape and restricted West Ham's hopes of a leveller as they confirmed back-to-back wins to open their Premier League campaign.
The summer signing was an attacking threat throughout, continually drifting inside and into space and had a number of chances to open his Premier League goalscoring account.
The 21-year-old was perhaps not expected to make such a first-team impact so early in his Bournemouth career, but built on his promising competitive debut against Cardiff with another performance that saw him display confidence, an ability to find dangerous areas and an imaginative passing range up against the Hammers.
Comeback kings, season two?
After winning more points from losing positions than anyone else in the Premier League last season, the Cherries repeated the trick after trailing at half time in the capital.
While Eddie Howe will be hoping his team face fewer deficits going forwards, he'll be happy that his side once more showed the ability to come back, and against the Hammers they created several chances to get back into the game long before they actually did.