English Premiership

Hammers steal late win in new stadium

2016-08-21 19:12
West Ham logo (File)

London - Michail Antonio made West Ham United feel at home in the first Premier League match at their new London Stadium as his late header clinched a 1-0 win over 10-man Bournemouth on Sunday.

After 112 years playing just down the road at Upton Park, West Ham have entered a new era this season following their move to the venue used for athletics at the 2012 Olympics.

Bilic's team had already played two matches at the London Stadium, beating Slovenia's NK Domzale in the Europa League and losing to Italian champions Juventus in a friendly.

But this was the real curtain raiser for the east Londoners' fancy new digs and Antonio's goal five minutes from full-time ensured the 56,977-strong crowd could start to get comfortable in their new surroundings.

Slaven Bilic's injury-hit side were well below their best for long periods, but they pounced after Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter was sent off in the closing stages for two bookings.

West Ham's new home is the 55th ground to host Premier League action and the third largest with a capacity that can rise to 60,000 later this season.

However, with West Ham's fans still getting used to their new location, there was a subdued feel to the crowd and it remains to be seen if Upton Park's vociferous atmosphere can be transformed to their cavernous, but slightly soulless, abode.

Deprived of Dimitri Payet's creativity and Andy Carroll's aggression, West Ham's fatigued players looked equally unsure of themselves.

Bilic's side are in the midst of a hectic start to the season -- this was their fifth game already -- and they only arrived back in London in the early hours of Friday morning after a 1-1 draw against Romania's Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League play-offs.

Frustrated by Diego Costa's late winner for Chelsea in their Premier League opener at Stamford Bridge on Monday, West Ham were also dealing with a host of injuries to key players including Andre Ayew, Payet and Carroll.

Their sporadic threats came mostly from Gokhan Tore, who curled over from the edge of the penalty area, then smashed a free-kick into the Bournemouth wall.

Antonio scuffed wide at the end of a rare incisive West Ham attack and it was 39 minutes before Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc was finally called into action to keep out an Enner Valencia strike at his near post.

Inspired by Callum Wilson's hat-trick, Bournemouth romped to a 4-3 win at Upton Park last season.

After last weekend's loss to Manchester United they were mainly concerned with staying solid at the back this time and a limp first half was summed up when Ryan Fraser curled their first corner straight out of play.

There was marginally more urgency about Eddie Howe's team in the second half and Josh King's powerful 25-yard strike brought a fine save from West Ham goalkeeper Adrian.

Tore volleyed into the side-netting from Antonio's cross as West Ham tried to regain the initiative, but Bilic was unimpressed and introduced on-loan Argentine forward Jonathan Calleri for his debut in place of the ineffective Valencia.

The turning point came when Arter, already on a booking, was dismissed in the 77th minute for a second yellow card after hauling down Cheikhou Kouyate on the halfway line.

Suddenly, West Ham found more space in attacking areas and they snatched the points in the 85th minute.

Impressive Turkey winger Tore baffled Adam Smith with some nifty footwork before lofting a cross to the far post, where Antonio rose highest to head home from close-range.


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