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Cherries held to stalemate in capital

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Tim Robinson

AFC Bournemouth earned their first Premier League point of 2024 with a 1-1 draw at West Ham United.

Dominic Solanke's 13th league goal of the season in the third minute was cancelled out by a James Ward-Prowse penalty on the hour-mark. The result sees the Cherries climb to 12th in the table.

Adam Smith and Lloyd Kelly returned to the starting XI at London Stadium following their recent injuries, while Antoine Semenyo made his first club appearance of 2024 having represented Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Development squad defender Max Kinsey was drafted in to the matchday squad to replace Kieffer Moore, who departed to Ipswich Town on loan for the rest of the season.

The Cherries' dream start to the match came from the high pressing that has served Iraola's side so well this season. Solanke latched on to a hurried backpass from Kalvin Phillips before slotting home comfortably past Alphonse Areola in goal.

The on-field officials had initially disallowed the effort, believing Ryan Christie to have played the ball when pressing the Hammers midfielder deep in opposition territory. When replays showed otherwise, however, VAR overturned the decision.

The Cherries went on to enjoy much of the first-half possession against a West Ham side happy to sit back. Marcos Senesi's well-struck half-volley rose over the bar, while Lewis Cook also came close with a long-range effort.

Illia Zabarnyi couldn't direct his header from a pin-point Alex Scott cross past Areola, before the keeper blocked Semenyo's strike from inside the box.

The hosts created a number of chances themselves as the half came to a close, finding some success crossing the ball into the Cherries' box. Despite a quiet evening until then, Neto was alert to deny Bowen.

The second half started without many chances, until VAR was called into action again on the hour. Referee Tim Robinson had initially waved away the home side's appeals for a penalty after Lloyd Kelly and Mohamed Kudus had collided in the box.

Having been called to review the incident again on the screen, Robinson changed his mind and pointed to the spot. James Ward-Prowse went low and straight with his effort to level the scores.

The goal didn't affect the Cherries' confidence, however, and Ryan Christie nearly restored the lead within five minutes, skilfully controlling a strong pass from the left before curling his shot just wide of Areola's far post.

With around 20 minutes of the match remaining, Ryan Christie found himself in behind the West Ham defence on the right, and Areola had to be down quickly to prevent Solanke from meeting the cross in front of goal.

Sinisterra was also working hard down the left, dribbling his way past defenders but unable to link up with a teammate in the box.

Romain Faivre was named in the squad for the first time following his recall from a loan at Lorient. The versatile midfielder came off the bench to make his Cherries debut in injury time, but neither team could secure the winner.

West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Mavropanos, Zouma, Emerson, Phillips (Ings, 68), Soucek, Álvarez, Kudus (Cornet, 90+6), Ward-Prowse, Bowen.

Unused substitutes: Fabianski, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Casey, Mubama, Scarles, Orford. 

AFC Bournemouth: Neto (C); Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly (Kerkez 75); Cook, Christie, Scott (Kluivert 68); Semenyo (Sinisterra 68), Solanke, Tavernier (Faivre, 90+1).

Unused substitutes: Travers, Mepham, Kilkenny, Billing, Kinsey.

Referee: Tim Robinson

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