Friday 28 April 2017

Howe relief as King restores winning feeling

Bournemouth 3 West Ham United 2

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe shows appreciation to the fans after the match. Photo: Getty
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe shows appreciation to the fans after the match. Photo: Getty

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Eddie Howe had almost forgotten what a win felt like until Joshua King's hat-trick sank West Ham in dramatic fashion.

In-form Bournemouth marksman King took his tally to eight goals in his last seven games - despite having earlier missed a penalty - to secure a 3-2 victory.

Joshua King of Bournemouth (partially obscured left) scores the winning goal. Photo: Getty
Joshua King of Bournemouth (partially obscured left) scores the winning goal. Photo: Getty

In fact the Cherries, who had scored all seven of their previous spot-kicks this season, managed to fluff two in the space of half an hour after Benik Afobe assumed responsibility with the same result. But ultimately it did not matter as King hit a last-minute winner to complete his treble, cancelling out strikes from Michail Antonio and Andre Ayew to secure Bournemouth's first win in 2017 - at the ninth attempt - and halt their slide towards the drop zone.

"It has felt like a long time, I'm not going to deny that," admitted Cherries boss Howe. "It's been a really difficult spell for everyone connected with the team. We've been used to winning games. Now everyone was talking about us not winning in 2017, so it's great to have that winning feeling again. We've worked on the boys incredibly hard to turn this around. But we still need to get to 40 points as quickly as we can."

King's afternoon got off to a poor start when he sidefooted his penalty wide after Sofiane Feghouli had fouled Charlie Daniels, and within 48 seconds the ball was in the net at the other end thanks to Antonio's turn and shot. King made amends when he flicked a loose ball in the area over Jose Fonte before firing ball past Darren Randolph to equalise.

Afobe was next to try from the spot after Fonte's trip on Marc Pugh, but his weak effort rolled into the arms of Randolph. "We've done really well with penalties this season," added Howe. "But today was an off day - which is an understatement."

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Joshua King of AFC Bournemouth celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Dan Gosling during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and West Ham United at Vitality Stadium on March 11, 2017 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Joshua King of AFC Bournemouth celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Dan Gosling during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and West Ham United at Vitality Stadium on March 11, 2017 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Hammers manager Slaven Bilic criticised his players for not holding out for a point. "After we equalised we should have been a bit more clever," he said.

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