West Ham United F.C
Lanzini 34, Bowen 90
Leeds United F.C
West Ham claim deserved FA Cup win over Leeds
- Credit: PA
The Hammers secured their place in the FA Cup fourth round with this richly-deserved victory over Leeds United at London Stadium.
With Manuel Lanzini striking on the half-hour mark and Jarrod Bowen securing the win in stoppage time, the West Ham United fans went home happy while 8,500 crestfallen Yorkshiremen departed the capital hoping that their team puts on a better show when these two sides meet again, same time, same place in the Premier League next Sunday.
Drawn together for only the third time, and for the first meeting in the competition since 1930 when the Hammers won 4-1, while David Moyes now looks forward to extending his team’s FA Cup run, defeat means that, since arriving at Elland Road, counterpart Marcelo Bielsa has now failed to navigate his way beyond the third round in all four of his attempts to clear the first hurdle.
Despite having the opportunity to take a welcome breather from what had been a hectic festive fixture schedule of three Premier League matches inside seven days, three-time winners West Ham made just a trio of changes as they turned their attention to this season’s FA Cup campaign.
Victory at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day had kept West Ham in fifth place in the table but Moyes brought back cup specialist keeper Alphonse Areola, who came in for Łukasz Fabiański, while Ryan Fredericks and Nikola Vlašić received call-ups in place of Vladimír Coufal and African Cup of Nations-bound Saïd Benrahma.
That continuity in team selection almost paid an early dividend for the Scot, who saw Bowen’s low 12-yarder cleared off the line by Luke Ayling before Michail Antonio’s deflected shot from the edge of the area landed on the roof of Illan Meslier’s net.
Having lifted the trophy for the only time in their history a half-century ago, Leeds – sitting 16th in the table and fully 15 points behind West Ham – had made four changes from the team that had beaten Burnley seven days earlier, as Daniel James, Lewis Bate, Leo Hjelde and Sam Greenwood all earned starts.
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Despite being roared on by their vociferous supporters packed into the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, Leeds barely threatened during the opening half hour as Areola comfortably fielded everything that came his way, while Greenwood also skied high into the Stratford skies from distance before attempting a cheeky back-heel that the alert Frenchman also claimed.
In truth, West Ham only seemed one attack away from breaking the deadlock and, sure enough, on 33 minutes that moment duly arrived.
Antonio charged down the left flank, where he outwitted Ayling and squared to Vlašić who wriggled his way past Hjelde before slipping in the act of shooting and, although neither Bowen nor Antonio could force the loose ball home in the ensuing melée, Lanzini arrived on the scene to drill an unstoppable eight-yarder beyond the grounded Meslier into the net.
A nervy, seemingly endless wait followed while Video Assistant Referee Peter Bankes checked for offside before confirming Lanzini’s sixth goal of the season to the relief of everyone in claret and blue.
Bursting into the Leeds area, Fredericks might then even have doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time but Meslier did well to save the low shot and restrict the Hammers to just that one-goal advantage at the break.
Bielsa responded by introducing Raphinha and Stuart Dallas for the restart as Greenwood and Bate sat out the second period but, once again, it was the Hammers who looked liveliest and, on 51 minutes, Antonio played in Bowen whose low 12-yard shot cannoned off Meslier’s ankles and away for a corner.
Urged by an eager Cockney contingent to shoot, Declan Rice only succeeded in depositing an inviting 20-yarder high into his own spectators sat behind Meslier’s goal, while his counterpart – Leeds skipper Ayling – was then replaced by Adam Forshaw ahead of Cody Drameh coming on for the injured Junior Firpo.
On 72 minutes, Leeds came close to an equaliser, when Mateusz Klich – who had just seen Lanzini booked for tugging him back – fired a cross-shot into the six-yard box, where Jack Harrison could only divert the ball wide of the target
That yellow card was the cue for goal-scorer Lanzini to depart as Pablo Fornals stepped into action for the final quarter of an hour, while in the other dug-out, Bielsa made his fifth and final substitution with Crysencio Summerville replacing Hjelde.
Drameh was also cautioned for chopping Ben Johnson, while on the opposite flank Fredericks sent a low, angled shot scorching across the face of goal and just a whisker beyond the far post.
Still there was time for James to steer a late diving header wide of Areola’s right-hand post but that would be the last chance that the visitors would have of forcing extra-time and, indeed, with Leeds still pressing in the dying seconds they were hit with a classic Hammers sucker-punch.
In the third minute of added time, towering Tomáš Soucek’s defensive header was collected by Fornals, who quickly shifted the ball out to the right flank where Antonio broke from halfway before finding the galloping, ghosting Bowen on the edge of the Leeds area and he secured West Ham’s place in the fourth-round draw with a crisp, low 15-yarder that flew past the helplessly-exposed Meslier to cement victory.
West Ham: Areola, Fredericks, Johnson, Diop, Dawson, Souček, Rice, Lanzini (Fornals 76), Vlašić (Masuaku 88), Bowen, Antonio (Yarmolenko 90+3). Unused subs: Randolph, Noble, Král, Oko-Flex, Alese, Baptiste.
Leeds: Meslier, Ayling (Forshaw 60), Firpo (Drameh 68), Llorente, Hjelde, Klich, Koch, Harrison, Bate (Dallas 46), James, Greenwood (Raphinha 46). Unused subs: Klaesson, Summerville, McCarron, Jenkins, Moore.
Booked: Lanzini (72), Drameh (78).
Referee: Stuart Attwell.