A Josh King hat trick secured a vital win for AFC Bournemouth as they edged past West Ham United 3-2 at The Vitality Stadium despite missing two first half penalties.
Both the Norwegian striker and Benik Afobe missed from the spot and the home side suffered as West Ham equalised with less than 10 minutes to go. However, King stepped up just before stoppage time to tap in, making that eight goals in his last seven Premier League games to help secure a crucial three points and a first win in the New Year for Bournemouth.
West Ham take the lead 48 seconds after King misses penalty
The Cherries got off to fast start early on as they had done against many teams at home over the course of the season. With eight minutes on the clock, Sofiane Feghouli grabbed hold of Charlie Daniels shirt and pulled him down to give the Cherries a penalty for the third Premier League game running. Josh King stepped up, having converted the chance against both West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United, but agonisingly put the ball wide of the right-hand post.
The visitors, buoyed by the reprieve, went straight up the other end and a sloppy square pass from Harry Arter was intercepted by Feghouli, who played in Michail Antonio. The England midfielder produced a smart finish low into the far corner when on the turn to put the Hammers 1-0 up.
Bournemouth continued to press after the disappointment in the opening 10 minutes and thought they had equalised when Afobe coolly chipped Darren Randolph, but the goal was correctly ruled out as the Ivorian clearly controlled the ball with his arm. On 17 minutes the home side created another excellent opportunity as Daniels’ cross flashed just past King’s outstretched boot, any sort of contact from the striker would have levelled the scores.
The Cherries continued to press and forced Randolph into two excellent saves just before the half hour mark. Ryan Fraser drove a long-range effort on target towards the bottom left corner before Steve Cook forced the keeper to tip the ball over the bar after the defender’s header from a corner.
The Cherries equalise
Less than two minutes later and Bournemouth were level. King atoned for his earlier penalty miss with a super flick over his shoulder followed by a strike on the half volley low in the bottom right corner to the delight of the home crowd.
Less than five minutes later and a few step overs from Marc Pugh in the box drew West Ham defender Jose Fonte to clip the midfielder and concede a second penalty. With King having missed it was Afobe’s turn to step up, but what followed was a tame finish from the Ivorian, straight into the arms of Randolph, who barely had to move to make the save.
Bournemouth take the lead at the start of the second half
Bournemouth got off to the perfect start in the second half, moving in front with less than three minutes played. Fraser’s in-swinging free kick was met by Cook’s header, which deflected off Afobe into the path of King, who slotted home for his second goal of the game. The West Ham players swarmed around the referee Bobby Madley, appealing for offside, but replays showed that the striker was in an offside position when the initial free kick came in, but following Cook’s header King was played onside by Antonio.
Having been pretty much second best in a less eventful second half, West Ham managed to strike back late on. With less than 10 minutes to go the winning line was in sight for the home side, but a piercing through ball from Pedro Obiang carved the Cherries defence open and a smart cutback from Sam Byram found substitute Andre Ayew, who tapped the ball in to make it 2-2.
The drama was far from over. Just before we entered stoppage time the Cherries came forward on the counter attack and a poor ball from Ayew gave the ball to substitute Jack Wilshere. His effort on goal was blocked but King slotted home to complete his hat trick, making for another very memorable afternoon on the South Coast!