West Ham blown away by four-midable Wigan
21:58 25 September 2012
The Hammers crashed out of the Capital One Cup with a thumping home defeat against Wigan Athletic
West Ham United 1 Wigan Athletic 4
There was nothing Capital about Hammers crushing cup exit at Upton Park, where Sam Allardyce’s side were well and truly beaten by wily Wigan Athletic, who progressed into the last 16.
Although Modiba Maiga followed up his goal against Crewe Alexandra in the previous round to give West Ham United an early lead in this first-ever league cup meeting between the two clubs, an Ivan Ramis rocket sandwiched between Mauro Boselli’s double effectively had settled this tie by the break, before Jordi Gomez grabbed a late penalty.
On paper, the revamped Hammers still looked like they had enough strength in depth to see off an equally reshuffled Wigan outfit but out on the Upton Park grass it was Roberto Martinez’s side, who cruised into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
Only skipper Mark Noble and Ricardo Vaz Te had survived Allardyce’s nine-man cut from Saturday’s late, late draw with Sunderland, while the visitors opted for radical rotation, too, retaining just a quartet of players following the weekend’s home defeat against Fulham.
With just Ramis, Ali Al-Habsi, Gary Caldwell and Maynor Figueroa making the starting line-up, that meant a start for James McArthur, who was soon wishing that he had stayed at home with most of the Wigan fans.
Indeed, only six minutes were on the clock when the Scottish international allowed Maiga to intercept his sloppy pass back towards his central defenders and the Hammers striker clinically drove an unstoppable 18-yarder beyond the Al-Habsi’s groping right glove to give West Ham a dream start.
Coming into this tie, the Latics had only sold 69 tickets and, with the visitors managing to bring a few more car loads south on the night, their hardy band of richly-rewarded travellers quickly saw their side get back on level terms.
Certainly, the warning signs were there when Stephen Henderson was forced to beat out David Jones vicious in-swinging free-kick from the by-line and, sure enough, on 14 minutes, Boselli went one better, when he nipped in between the hesitant Danny Potts and James Tomkins to prod home Figueroa’s low, left-wing cross into the six-yard box.
As West Ham immediately set about regaining the advantage, Robert Hall sent an 18-yarder curling into the side-netting, while Jordan Spence’s low 25-yarder had Al-Habsi scrambling across the dampening East End turf to turn his low grass-cutter aside.
But just when it looked like Big Sam’s side were getting back on top, Ramis rampaged forward before ending his bulldozing, 37th-minute run with an electrifying 20-yarder that almost ripped Henderson’s net from its fixings.
And as the Hammers promptly went back to the drawing board, Boselli – who had also netted in his side’s second round win at Nottingham Forest – totally changed the appearance of the tie four minutes from the break, when he danced into the area and nonchalantly clipped the ball over the helplessly exposed Henderson, while Potts and Tomkins fruitlessly looked for an offside flag that just didn’t come.
Two goals adrift at the interval, Allardyce sent his unchanged side back out for the restart a good couple of minutes before Wigan emerged to see Vaz Te and Maiga unleash early efforts.
On the hour, Matthias Fanimo replaced Vaz Te and after being felled in full flow, the youngster then saw Tomkins nod the consequent free kick agonisingly across the face of goal before Matt Taylor came on for Noble.
With Matt Jarvis finally seeing the ball, the Hammers did try to mount a late recovery and, on 78 minutes, Hall was just the thickness of the crossbar away from setting up a frantic finale but his 18-yarder curl hit the far angle.
And things then went from bad to worse as a crashing tackle on Gary O’Neil forced the midfielder to be replaced by debutant Dylan Tombides, who arrived just in time to see fellow substitute Jordi Gomez send Upton Park into full evacuation mode with a no-nonsense 84th-minute penalty after Henderson had recklessly taken out McArthur.
Hammers: Henderson, Spence, McCartney, Tomkins, Potts, O’Neil (Tombides 83), Jarvis, Hall, Noble (Taylor 72), Vaz Te (Fanimo 62), Maiga. Unused subs: Spiegel, Collins, Driver, McCallum
Latics: Al Habsi, Ramis, McManaman (Gomez 74), Caldwell, Piscu, Stam, Figueroa, Jones, McArthur (Fyvie 84), Boselli (Orsula 89), Miyaichi. Unused subs: Pollitt, Kone, Watson, Boyce.
Booked: Caldwell (45).
Referee: Craig Pawson