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Top Five: Boxing Day classics


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Unexpectedly finding ourselves without a Boxing Day game this year, we've collected some of the best post-Christmas matches for the Cherries from recent decades.

Spanning three different divisions and many generations of Cherries teams, in no particular order, let's get started.

2017 - AFC Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham United - Premier League

A see-saw to end all see-saw matches, the Cherries appearing to have won and lost against the Hammers before a controversial late leveller claimed a dramatic draw.

James Collins had give the visitors an early lead, but two well taken goals from Dan Gosling and Nathan Ake seemed to set to raise festive Vitality Stadium cheer.

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2017/18 highlights

Highlights: AFC Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham

Suddenly a goalkeeping slip in the 81st minute allowed Marko Arnautovic to equalise, before United's talismanic Austrian scrambled to score what at the time seemed to be a last-minute winner.

There was to be further drama in the 93rd minute, however. Nathan Ake rose to head goalwards and Callum Wilson suspiciously diverted the ball home, West Ham claiming the diversion to be with his arm.

"I put a little touch on it," said the striker after the game, before being asked what had touched the ball, "A touch of magic" the memorable reply.

1987, 1988, 1989 - All Leicester City

Following the Cherries’ promotion to the second flight in 1987, the fixture computer dished out trips to Leicester City for three years in succession.

Harry Redknapp’s team headed to Filbert Street in 1987 on the back of a seven-match winless run in the league and registered a 1-0 victory thanks to a Richard Cooke goal.

Returning hero Colin Clarke, who top scored with 26 goals for the Cherries in 1985/86, netted the only goal in a 1-0 win 12 months later during a loan spell from Southampton.

The Cherries’ bid for a hat-trick of wins at the venue were dashed in 1989 when goals from Kevin Campbell and Gary Mills earned the Foxes a 2-1 triumph with John ‘Willo’ Williams replying. 

2000 - Oxford United 1-2 AFC Bournemouth - Division Two

Teenager Jermain Defoe plundered arguably the finest goal of his record-breaking ten-in-a-row sequence during a 2-1 win against Oxford United.

Defoe, who was on loan to the Cherries from West Ham, headed to the Manor Ground having scored seven times in his first six games for the club in Division Two.

He made it eight goals when he put the finishing touches to Claus Jorgensen’s well-worked short corner to give Sean O’Driscoll’s team a seventh-minute lead.

Struggling Oxford equalised through Peter Fear in the 12th minute before Defoe settled the contest in favour of the visitors midway through the second half.

The 18-year-old beat three defenders before chipping the ball over Neil Cutler from the edge of the box, with the Oxford goalkeeper barely off his line.

2014 - AFC Bournemouth 2-0 Fulham - Championship

The Cherries had spent Christmas Day a point ahead of Ipswich at the top of the Championship, and stayed at the summit after a Boxing Day win over the Cottagers.

The damage was done early and late for the home side, Brett Pitman scoring in the ninth minute with a neat flicked header from a corner, but despite chances coming and not being taken by the hosts the lead remained a slender one.

After Callum Wilson was bundled over in the box, Pitman stepped up again to increase the comfort levels, only to see his penalty saved by Marcus Bettinelli.

Fulham pushed late on for a share of the spoils, allowing Harry Arter the space to go the other way and finally rubber-stamp the victory with a long range trickler which found the bottom corner.

2007 - AFC Bournemouth 3-1 Leyton Orient - League One

Sam Vokes scored his first goal in front of the Dean Court faithful as the Cherries triumphed 3-1 over Leyton Orient to move off the foot of League One.

The young striker, whose five previous goals had come in away games, seized on a mistake by O’s defender Brian Saah to double the hosts’ lead early in the second half.

His opportunist strike was sandwiched between goals from loan pair Max Gradel and James Henry as the Cherries recorded their first Boxing Day win for seven years.

The Orient team included Charlie Daniels, who would join the Cherries four years later and Stephen Purches, who had left Dean Court in the summer of 2007.

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