Saturday, 13 July 2013

Purches comes through the heat in testimonial

Match Report:
Stephen Purches' Testimonial

AFC Bournemouth 0 v 2 West Ham Utd
13 July 2013

It was a hot, sweltering day at Dean Court for Stephen Purches’ testimonial match and a large crowd of home and away supporters turned up to show their gratitude for Stephen’s long playing career. Both sides formed an avenue as Stephen walked onto the pitch.

The game then got underway with West Ham kicking towards the North stand in temperatures around 30C.  The Hammers had a string team out with many of their first eleven on show and it was Kevin Nolan who almost picked upon Steve Cook’s misplaced pass in the first few minutes. With the nerves out of the way, Bournemouth soon found their stride and Pitman in particular giving West Ham’s defenders much to contend with in the first few minutes, forcing an early corner.

West Ham were a little wasteful in possession and it was the Cherries that were making the early running with Donal McDermott having a shot blocked.  The Hammers found more freedom down the right wing with Vaz Te and Noble interchanging well and  Vaz Te eventually heading over. Flahavan’s poor goal kick was also returned sharply by Collinson but was saved.

After eight minutes West Ham took the lead with Demel sending in a cross from the right, which Nolan got up to meet first and powered his header past the isolated Flahavan in the Bournemouth goal. 

Nolan seemed to have the drop on Arter and was starting to dominate the midfield. When the Cherries did get it wide to Fraser the young Scot would motor down the left and send in crosses but no one was able to get on the end of the crosses. The most likely scorer for AFC Bournemouth was Pitman who was throwing himself at everything, including an overhead kick off of one of Fraser’s deliveries after 19 minutes. 

Francis was doubling back most of the time as Jarvis and Rat were finding a lot of space on West Ham’s left wing. After half an hour play was stopped so the players could get some water on board. It was a real scorcher of a day!

Bournemouth then stepped up their efforts with Ian Harte’s free kick hammering against the wall and Arter’s shot blasted over the goal. Fraser had Bournemouth’s next best chance on 36 minutes when Grabban had put him through, but the Scot tried to come back inside on his stronger right foot and his shot was pushed away for a corner. 

Pitman had a good chance to even the scores with a header back across goal from Francis right wing cross but he steered it wide to the left of the upright.

Towards the end of the first half Nolan managed to hit the bar with a header as he peddled backwards, but it was in the following two minutes of extra time when it all fell apart for the Cherries. One of AFCB's players went down with what looked like an elbow in the face but the referee played on with Bournemouth players also expecting the offside flag to go up, but West Ham played on and rounded Flahavan, enabling Collison to put the Hammers two nil up at half time.

The second half brought several changes to Bournemouth’s team. Off went Harte, Pitman and McDermott and on came Daniels, Thomas and Elphick. Francis moved up to midfield and Fraser played behind the front two as the Cherries experimented with three at the back.

It was a slow start to the second 45 minutes with Thomas missing a chance and later going down and then Nolan who was subbed.

Maiga missed a good chance to put the Hammers further ahead on 54 minutes but he put his header over. Daniels was the recipient of a loose tackle from West Ham’s right back but he got to his feet okay.

More subs followed with Fraser being replaced by Sam Matthews on 58 minutes. West Ham’s midfield was still looking strong with Collison, Maiga, Jarvis and Rat holding the ball well, while Noble was sitting in deep behind them.

On 60 minutes West Ham brought on some star names including Mat Taylor, Joe Cole, Diami and Tonkins.

Bournemouth had their best move of the half moments later when Grabban put Daniels in only for him to fire into the side netting with the home crowd thinking that he had scored. Stephen Purches then came on in midfield with 25 minutes to go and McDonald came off.

The Cherries had a free-kick on 69 minutes which Daniels hit over. By now teh game had slowed and it was time for more changes as Addison, Stockley and Fogden replaced Francis, Grabban and Ward. Arter also came off after 76 minutes and Donal McDermott came back on.
Vaz Te then left the field on 80 minutes and was replaced by McCallum and Darren Anderton replaced Bournemouth’s Steve Cook a minute later. The West Ham fans took no time in chanting: “We hate Tottenham, we hate Tottenham”, which Anderton seemed to enjoy.

On 84 Minutes McDermott came off again and Steve Fletcher came on. There was a big cheer when an Anderton cross found Steve Fletcher who got a head to it, but nudged it wide.

John Purches then came on to show support for his brother in the last five minutes, replacing Matthews.

West Ham Utd: First half
Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid, Rat, Collins, Noble, Collinson, Nolan, Maiga, Jatrvis, Vaz Te.

Bournemouth: First half
Flahavan, Francis, Ward, Cook, Harte, McDonald, Arter, McDermott, Pitman, Fraser, Grabban.  

Match day quotes
Stephen Purches was pleased that the day had gone well with the good turnout. He told BBC Solent that: “There were two teams strong descent teams out there who put on a descent game in hot conditions.” When asked about his personal fitness and his performance, Stephen responded “All in all I got what I needed out of it.” He also said how pleased he was that West Ham sold out their end of the ground so quickly, “I couldn’t ask for any more,” he said.

After the match Eddie Howe said: “It was good weather for it, a really good crowd and certainly really good opposition for us – a tough game as we knew it would be. And yeah, I was reasonably happy. ” He added . “In the first half we more than matched them, although we conceded a couple of goals which disappoint us. But there was a lot of promise.

Darren Anderton also commented: “I was very pleased when Purchy asked me to play and to be part of his big day. The west Ham supporters were down in good numbers and give me a bit of stick which was all good fun as a Spurs player. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and the main things is the turnout was fantastic for Purchy.“

Tommy Elphick said: “It was brilliant to see Fletch, Purchy and his brother to come on at the end. Those characters have played a big part in his career and he fully deserved today.”

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