On a hot and sultry day at Dean Court, this was never going to a classic pre-season match given the conditions and numerours breaks to take on liquid by all concered. That said, it was the Cherries to started the brighter, kicking towards the new stand, as the home side looked to test Jaaskelainen in the Hammers goal.
First to shot goal wards was Grabban. Sadly his shot lacked power and conviction to test the Hammers keeper, that after neat build up play involving Pitman. Arter was next to try, as Jaaskelainen parried the ball away.
Despite early Cherries pressure, first blood went to West Ham after a towering Kevin Nolan header was unchallenged, leaving Flahaven stranded after 9 minutes.
Just before the half hour mark, the lively MacDermott (it's nice to see him back in full flow again), won a free kick after he was unended not too far outside the area. Sadly the resulting free kick cannoned off the wall from Ian Harte and to safety.
Another to impress, Ryan Fraser, looked lively down the left wing. He was presented with an excellent shooting opportunity, only to be dispossessed at the key moment when a shot looked on. Moments later Pitman was well wide with a header.
A moment of controversy came in first half stoppage time when Cook appeared to pick up a knock in the face, play continued (why? given that the ref stopped play for all similar knocks), which saw Collison to put in to an unguarded net, even though it seemed clear to many in the East Stand that the players concerned were clesrly off side.
The second half saw the first of a string of changes, one of which saw Wes Thomas introduced to the match. His first opportunity, was a clear goal scoring opportunity, which he inexplicably managed to out well wide of the mark. His stance was so wrong in trying to score with his right foot from the position he was in. In this reporters humble opinion, why is Thomas still allowed to wear a Cherries shirt?
The best chances for the Cherries in the second period came courtesy of Charlie Daniels. The first came in the 65th minute when a lovely ball from Grabban set up a shooting opportunity, which Daniels fired in to the side netting. The second came 6 minutes later when a curling free kick was narrowly wide of the target.
Mention in this report for 16-year-old Sam Matthews who was a breath of fresh air when he came on in the 59th minute. He touch and control against much bigger Premiership opposition was most impressive.
Mention too for Wes Fogden who gave it his all at right back - an interesting conversion if ever there was one.
Stephen Purches got a standing ovation when he was introduce to the game in the 67th minute, as did the likes of Darren Anderton and Cherries legend Steve Fletcher.
Okay, the Cherries lost by two goals, but the matched demonstrated that we can play against higher league opposition and retain decent possession. Where we lost out was using that possession to create clear cut chances which were going to hurt the opposition. Okay, West Ham are Premiership, but at times, the Cherries were slow in their approach play. We will need to be more incisive when the season kicks off on August 3rd. That said we're not going to be playing Premiership opposition every week. I also believe we need something extra up front and in midfield. In Eddie we Trust!
AFCB: Flahaven, Francis, Cook, Harte, Ward, MacDonald, McDermott, Arter, Fraser, Grabban, Pitman
Subs: Elphick (for McDermott, 45 mins), Daniels (for Harte, 45 mins), Thomas (for Pitman, 45 mins), Matthews (for Fraser, 59 mins), S Purches (for MacDonald, 67 mins), Addison (for Ward, 74 mins), Stockley (for Grabban, 74 mins), Fogden (for Francis, 74 mins), McDermott (for Arter, 77 mins), Anderton (for Cook, 82 mins), Fletcher (for McDermott, 85 mins), J Purches (for Matthews, 89 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth