West Ham defeat for Cherries
AFC Bournemouth lost to Premier League side West Ham on Saturday as Stephen Purches celebrated his testimonial.
The Cherries new player-coach was given a guard of honour by both sides and was given a warm welcome in front of a 7,000+ attendance which included a sold out West Ham end.
But the former West Ham United trainee had to wait for his moment on the pitch, as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg that he suffered against Rochdale in March 2012.
Instead, both sides treated the game like an important pre-season fixture for the majority of the game.
With Ryan Allsop and Shwan Jalal still struggling with injuries, Darryl Flahavan was called upon once again to play 90 minutes.
The defence lined up with Simon Francis and right back, Elliott Ward alongside Steve Cook and Ian Harte at left back.
Donal McDermott played out on the right wing, with Ryan Fraser left wing, with Harry Arter and Shaun MacDonald in the centre of the park.
Up front it was Lewis Grabban and Brett Pitman.
The Cherries had started brightly with some good passing and link up play all over the pitch, but whilst the Cherries were working the ball well and getting into decent positions the side lacked that little bit of penetration to get through the West Ham defence.
In contrast, West Ham just needed that one cross of quality for Kevin Nolan to head past Flahavan, with the West Ham captain giving a little smile to the North Stand following the goal.
West Ham doubled the lead on the stroke of half time, when they broke from the half way line, Jack Collison the man to knock it past Flahavan, which was met by boos from the home fans as they had ignored a facial injury on the half way line during the build up.
The second half was a more sedate affair with the usual frequent substitutions which even saw McDermott come off, only to return for five minutes, only to go off again.
The best chance of the game came to Wes Thomas who had replaced Brett Pitman at half time, but he snatched at his shot and dragged the ball wide.
Whilst West Ham introduced the likes of Joe Cole to the game, the Cherries were using the game to give experience to youngster Josh Matthews and give retired duo Darren Anderton and Steve Fletcher a run out.
It also turned into a Purches family affair as both Stephen and John made an appearance in AFC Bournemouth colours.
The Cherries next chance came as Anderton and Fletch rolled back the years, with an Anderton cross met by Fletch at the back post, unfortunately through the Cherries new club scout and ambassador couldn't get the ball on target.
The afternoon ended with a standing ovation from the crowd as Purches exited the game just moments before the final whistle blew.
Cherries: Flahavan, Francis (Fogden, 74), Ward (Addison, 74), Cook (Anderton, 82), Harte (Daniels, h-t), Fraser (Matthews, 59, J Purches, 88)), MacDonald (S Purches, 67), Arter (McDermott, 77, Fletcher, 85), McDermott (Elphick, h-t), Pitman (Thomas, h-t), Grabban (Stockley, 74).
Purches told BBC Radio Solent...
"You never know how these things will turn out, but there was a big crowd, the sun was out and I managed to get through 25 minutes, so I couldn`t have asked for anything more, It would have been a fairy-tale if we had won, but it was perfect and I`m just really pleased to have come through it.
"I`m so grateful that West Ham sold out their end and so many Bournemouth fans came. You can go to testimonials that become non-events, but that wasn`t the case today.
"There were two teams out there who like to pass the ball and it was a good footballing occasion."
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