Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 0 West Ham 4

Date: 23 April 2023

Last weekend everyone was singing “We’re staying up”. I didn’t hear anyone sing that today!

The last time I watched us play West Ham it was 1st January 2020. They were 3-0 up at half time, as they were today. They beat us 4-0 overall, as they did today. And Mepham, Lerma, Cook and Solanke were in our team that day -– as they all were today.

Today got off to a bad start when I began the journey by train, then all lines were closed until “after 16:00” (in other words after the end of the match!) because of a “police incident”, so I had to return home and get the car out. But I still got to Bournemouth half an hour earlier than I’d been scheduled to get there by train! (And don’t even mention the homeward journey after the match, arriving home nearly two hours earlier than I would have done by train!)

The team lined up with only one change of personnel from last week’s game, but a different system. We were 0-1 down with only four minutes on the clock when Antonio headed in following a West Ham set piece (corner). Eight minutes later we were 0-2 down when Tavernier gave the ball away in midfield and a series of passes led to a Paqueta header. We had a few shots first half, the best from Lerma (saved), but on virtually the stroke of half time – with some fans having already departed to join the tea queue – it was West Ham who scored again. This time it was their captain, Declan Rice, with his foot not his head – but from another corner.

The crossbar challenge during the break was a higher standard than usual, with two contestants (one home, one away) both successfully hitting the crossbar. Then we were all warned (for the umpteenth time) that a government “siren” test was about to be sent to all smartphones, and we waited for it expectantly. What a damp squib that turned out to be: the quietest of sounds from just a few phones for about five seconds. If no-one had been listening out for it we’d all have missed it!

O’Neil made one substitution at half time, three more on the hour mark and a fifth later on. We played, in the second half, the system that had served us so well at Tottenham. Our best shots all came from substitutes: Ouattara, Anthony and Moore. But it was West Ham who scored again: through Fornals in the 72nd minute. And right at the end they had the ball in the net for a fifth time but – fortunately for us and our goal difference – it was ruled offside.

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:

Smith, Stephens, Mepham, Kelly;
Rothwell, Lerma;
Christie, Billing, Tavernier;

By the end the line-up was:

Anthony, Mepham, Stephens, Vina, Tavernier;
Cook, Billing;
Ouattara, Moore, Solanke

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