West Ham thump Hull City to progress in the Carabao Cup
PUBLISHED: 22:41 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 22:41 22 September 2020
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Carabao Cup: West Ham United 5 Hull City 1
On a day when Boris Johnson cranked up his battle against coronavirus, the pandemic moved frighteningly closer to home at London Stadium, where Hammers boss David Moyes plus Issa Diop and Josh Cullen were sent home just before kick-off, having tested positive for COVID-19.
And although Premier League West Ham United successfully came through this examination against League One Hull City with a comfortable third round victory, there are clearly tricky times ahead in the East End as the ramifications of the presence of the virus in the home dressing room are assessed over the coming days.
First-half strikes by former Tiger, Robert Snodgrass and Sébastien Haller put the Hammers on course for a trip to the north-west to face Fleetwood Town or Everton in the fourth round before Andriy Yarmolenko – who had provided both assists - then slotted home from the penalty spot on 55 minutes.
Although Hull substitute Mallik Wilks pulled one back against the run of play with 20 minutes remaining both Haller and Yarmolenko then doubled their tallies for the evening with stoppage time goals.
The Hammers had already named a wholly-changed eleven from the side that had narrowly and controversially lost at the Emirates on Saturday evening before those positive test results saw the trio quickly depart Stratford and assistant boss Alan Irvine make a frantic reshuffle that saw Jack Wilshere and right-back Harrison Ashby called into the starting line-up, while two goalkeepers - David Martin and Nathan Trott - were named on a depleted six-man bench.
That resulted in a painful full debut for subsequently-injured, right-back Ashby, who had made his first appearance in Claret and Blue in West Ham’s second round win over Charlton Athletic last Tuesday, while fellow Academy graduate Ajibola Alese also made an opening bow in central-defence in a West Ham team still boasting seven full internationals.
And it was Brazilian Felipe Anderson, who soon let fly with a low 20-yarder that flew just past the base of George Long’s right-hand post, before he then curled another long-ranger onto the far stanchion.
But on 19 minutes, having dominated in both possession and the opposing territory during the opening exchanges, the Hammers shook off all the pre-match drama and distress as they broke the deadlock.
Fabiàn Balbuena’s long ball forward was helped on by Haller – the two-goal hero against Charlton – and Yarmolenko expertly chipped a right-wing cross to the far post, where 28-times capped, Scottish international Snodgrass volleyed an unstoppable, angled 10-yarder past Long, without a marker in sight.
Having seen off both Sunderland and Leeds United in pulsating penalty-shoot-outs in the previous two rounds, recently-relegated Hull had also started their League One campaign without conceding a goal in their opening two victories over Gillingham and Crewe Alexandra.
But former Hammers midfielder Grant McCann made wholesale changes, too, with only captain Richie Smallwood and Josh Magennis retaining their shirts following Saturday’s victory over Alexandra at the KCom Stadium.
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Former Hammers turned Tigers, Reece Burke and Martin Samuelsen were forced to watch from the bench, alongside one-time trainee Josh Emmanuel, while they also saw their skipper depart through injury just minutes before Snodgrass had struck against his old club.
That resulted in George Honeyman entering the fray and, after seeing Manuel Lanzini go agonisingly close to doubling West Ham’s lead with a scorching 10-yarder that flashed just inches wide the hosts did finally put more September twilight between themselves and the visitors moments before the break.
Yet again Yarmolenko was the architect, patiently holding off a trio defenders before using some fast and fancy footwork to send a low ball into the path of Haller, who simply could not miss from eight yards as West Ham returned to their dressing room two goals to the good.
Ten minutes after the restart, the consequently-cautioned Sean McLoughlin wrestled Haller to the deck as they rose for a corner and, with referee Simon Hooper instantly pointing to the spot, Yarmolenko calmly slotted his penalty into the bottom left-hand corner.
Manuel Lanzini – who was pole-axed by Honeyman at the expense of a yellow card - and Yarmolenko also went close to finding the net again before McCann pitched Wilks and Keane Lewis-Potter into action as debutant Thomas Mayer and James Scott retired.
With 20 minutes remaining poor Ashby was clattered on the halfway line by Brandon Fleming and, with the Tiger being booked for a full-bloodied pounce at his prey, audible cries of agony echoed around the cavernous London Stadium as the distressed 18-year-old writhed on the turf clutching his wrist.
That meant a first-ever run-out for substitute Emmanuel Longelo, who slotted in at left-back in and, although Wilks broke forward and drilled a low, angled shot between disappointed Darren Randolph and his near-post, it always looked no less than a mere consolation.
Such was the Hammers dominance that the Tigers never looked like roaring back into this cup-tie and, indeed, after Snodgrass, Anderson and Haller had come close at the other end to extending the lead yet further, West Ham produced two glossy finishes in stoppage time.
Following up his double against Charlton, Haller then collected Lanzini’s clever prod forward before coolly rounding Long and passing the ball into the net to claim another two goals and take his Carabao Cup tally to four inside eight days.
And then with just seconds remaining, Man-of-the-Match Yarmolenko secured a brace of his very own, when Anderson invited him to curl a 15-yarder beyond Long’s outstretched left-glove and inside the right-hand upright to cement a comprehensive victory on a night when off-the-field events in these uncertain times will, no doubt, grab the morning headlines.
HAMMERS: Randolph, Johnson, Alese, Balbuena, Ashby (Longelo 69), Wilshere, Snodgrass, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson, Haller. Unused Subs: Trott, Martin, Bowen, Silva, Coventry.
TIGERS: Long, Coyle, A. Jones, McLoughlin, Fleming, Smallwood (Honeyman 17), C. Jones, Batty, Mayer (Lewis-Potter 60), Magennis, Scott (Wilks 60). Unused subs: Ingram, Burke, Emmanuel, Samuelsen.
Booked: McLoughlin (55), Honeyman (59), Fleming (65).
Referee: Simon Hooper
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