Bournemouth 1-3 West Ham United: Enner Valencia brace maintains Hammers' unbeaten run
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 13/01/16 7:26am
West Ham closed in on the Champions League places as Enner Valencia's second-half brace helped beat Bournemouth 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium.
The home side had lead at half-time through Harry Arter's first-ever Premier League goal, before the returning Dimitri Payet equalised midway through the second half.
And another player making his comeback from injury, Valencia, moved the visitors above Manchester United and to within just a point of Tottenham in the fourth and final Champions League berth with his first goals for the club since February, while the Cherries remain 16th.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe made 11 changes from the side that won 2-1 at Birmingham City in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, with new £9m signing Benik Afobe making his debut for the club.
However, other recent arrivals, Juan Iturbe and Lewis Grabban, had to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench.
West Ham, meanwhile, were able to welcome back both Payet and Valencia after recent injury layoffs, the latter after a nine-week absence with an ankle problem.
Slaven Bilic was without the likes of Cheikhou Kouyate - who missed Saturday's win over Wolves in the FA Cup - and Manuel Lanzini, but it was the visitors who could have been ahead straight from the kick-off.
A simple ball over the top picked out Michail Antonio's run and after Artur Boruc came out to block the forward, the ball fell nicely to Mark Noble just outside the penalty area.
However, with the goal at his mercy, West Ham's captain lifted the ball over the crossbar, before the Hammers suffered a further setback when in-form striker Andy Carroll, who had scored in his previous two league outings, was forced off with a leg injury after just 15 minutes.
That loss appeared to unbalance the visitors, with their opponents taking an almost immediate advantage by going ahead after 17 minutes through Arter's long-range strike.
Picking up possession some 25 yards out in a central position, the midfielder worked himself some space to shoot, before beating Adrian with a well-struck shot which the Spaniard got a good hand to and on reflection should have kept out.
The home side could, and should, have soon doubled their lead through both Afobe and Charlie Daniels, only for the former to head over from virtually on the goalline, before the latter saw his curling effort beaten away by Adrian.
The second half, though, was a much more even contest, with the visitors gradually start to take control of proceedings as Bournemouth appeared to run out of steam.
However, Bilic's side still needed a moment of brilliance to draw level after 67 minutes as Payet beat Boruc with a lovely curling free-kick from 25 yards out, albeit with the aid of a slight deflection off the Bournemouth wall.
Seven minutes later West Ham had turned the game on its head as Payet wriggled free to the right-hand byline, before picking out Valencia some eight yards out and the Ecuador forward had no problems tapping home.
And the visitors' comeback was complete with just six minutes remaining when Valencia beat Boruc at his near post with a clever curling free-kick from the left-hand edge of the penalty area as West Ham stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to eight games, their best run in 15 years.
Bournemouth: Boruc (7), Francis (6), Cook (6), Daniels (7), Smith (6), Gosling (6), Surman (6), Arter (8), Stanislas (7), Ritchie (6), Afobe (7)
Used subs: Iturbe (7), Murray (6), Grabban (6)
West Ham United: Adrian (6); Ogbonna (6), Tomkins (6), Collins (6), Cresswell (6); Obiang (6), Noble (6), Antonio (6); Payet (9), Valencia (8), Carroll (6)
Used subs: Song (6), Jenkinson (6), Jelavic (6)
Man of the match: Dimitri Payet