West Ham United 1-1 AFC Bournemouth
Premier League, London Stadium, Thursday 1 February 2024, 7.30pm GMT
West Ham United extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to six games with a hard-earned 1-1 draw at home to AFC Bournemouth under the London Stadium lights.
Dominic Solanke broke the deadlock for the visitors in the opening moments of the match, and half-chances for James Ward-Prowse and Tomáš Souček were as close as the home side came to equalising during a disappointing first 45.
An improved performance after the interval delivered a goal in the 61st minute however, with Ward-Prowse dispatching the 15th top-flight penalty of his career, but neither side could find the winner and both were ultimately forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
A point keeps David Moyes’ men sixth in the standings, on 36 points after 22 games, ahead of an away trip to seventh-placed Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Boss Moyes made four changes to the XI that started the draw at Sheffield United last time out, with Kalvin Phillips coming in for his debut, alongside Mohammed Kudus, Edson Álvarez and Ben Johnson.
The Hammers found themselves on the back foot within three minutes of kick-off, when Ryan Christie pressured a loose pass at the back, teeing up Solanke for an easy finish that was given by referee Tim Robinson after a VAR check to confirm no offside offence had been committed.
Bournemouth looked to capitalise on their early momentum and went close to adding a second in the early stages, Argentina international Marcos Senesi blasting over following a looping Marcus Tavernier free-kick.
As the clock ticked towards the quarter-of-an-hour mark, West Ham gradually gained a foothold in the contest, and after Lewis Cook fired off target from distance for the away side, Phillips made goalkeeper Neto make a routine stop at the other end.
Illya Zabarnyi went close to making it 2-0 in the 18th minute, when Kurt Zouma’s attempt to clear bounced off the Ukrainian into the path of Alphonse Areola, and the latter then produced a stunning save to deny Antoine Semenyo from point-blank range nine minutes before the break.
On 38 minutes, a teasing Ward-Prowse cross evaded everyone in the box and needed parrying by Neto, moments before Tomáš Souček headed a Kudus ball marginally over the crossbar.
The last say of the first half went the way of Bournemouth however, with Tavernier calling Areola into action ahead of a Semenyo attempt that deflected off target midway through two minutes of added time.
After a slow start to the second 45, the first real chance fell to Souček, who headed another Ward-Prowse set-piece narrowly past the post, before a Lloyd Kelly challenge on Kudus resulted in a penalty kick after another lengthy VAR check.
Ward-Prowse duly converted from 12 yards for the second game in a row, striking down the middle to beat Neto and level the scores with little under 30 minutes to play.
A low Christie drive skewed wide as Bournemouth quickly served a reminder of their threat, but the Irons were soon back on the attack and Jarrod Bowen just couldn’t divert his back-post header towards goal.
The introduction of Danny Ings added some firepower to West Ham’s attack with 22 minutes to go, but away replacement Luis Sinisterra was quick to show his quality with a handful of tricky runs and a shot that deflected out off Dinos Mavropanos.
Both teams continued to press forward in search of a route to victory close to the death, but although eight minutes were added on to the 90, neither could break the other down and the score remained level at the whistle.
West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Mavropanos, Zouma ©, Emerson, Álvarez, Phillips (Ings 68), Ward-Prowse, Souček, Kudus (Cornet 90+6), Bowen
Subs: Fabiański (GK), Ogbonna, Cresswell, Orford, Mubama, Casey, Scarles
Goal: Ward-Prowse pen 61
AFC Bournemouth: Neto ©, Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly (Kerkez 78), Cook, Christie, Semenyo (Sinisterra 68), Scott (Kluivert 68), Tavernier (Faivre 90+2), Solanke
Subs: Travers (GK), Mepham, Kilkenny, Billing, Kinsey-Wellings
Goal: Solanke 3
Booked: Christie, Cook
Referee: Tim Robinson