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FA Cup
Sunday, 21st February 2016

Blackburn Rovers 1
West Ham United 5

by Staff Writer #2


West Ham are into the last eight of this year's FA Cup after thrashing hosts Blackburn at Ewood Park this afternoon.

A second half masterclass -in which the Hammers scored three, had two efforts ruled out for offside and saw another hit the post-helped secure a comprehensive win for Slaven Billic's side.

Despite a number of injuries Slaven Bilic sent out a strong starting eleven but it was the home side who took an unexpected lead on 20 minutes. Elliot Bennett’s corner was only partly dealt with by the Hammers’ defence and Rovers top scorer Ben Marshall fired home past an unsighted Darren Randolph to the delight of the sparsely-populated home sections of the ground.

Their joy was, however, to be short lived and the scores were level within six minutes. Victor Moses picked up the ball in his own half and burst forward as the Blackburn defence retreated before letting fly from distance. The shot had power but Rovers ‘keeper Steele might be disappointed not to have dealt with the effort which seemed to go through his hands to restore parity.

It took the Irons another ten minutes to take the lead and, as has been the case so often this season, it was Dimitri Payet who was at the centre of things. A promising run from the Frenchman was brought to an end by Taylor’s clip, a challenge that earned the Rovers man a yellow card. Payet took the free-kick himself and curled it over the wall and past Steele’s outstretched hand to give United the lead for the first time.

The home side started the livelier of the two sides in the second half but the complexion of the game changed permanently ten minutes after the restart. As a Rovers attack broke down Moses burst out of defence, his promising run being brought to a premature end by Taylor’s cynical trip. Having already received a yellow for the earlier foul on Payet, Taylor’s departure was inevitable as referee Moss duly produced the second yellow and red cards.

From that point there was only likely to be one winner as Antonio brought a good save out of Steele and Noble dragged another effort wide. Kouyate then had one chalked-off for a very tight offside after Steele had saved Antonio’s effort. However, the third goal was not long in coming. Steele again denied Antonio but Moses kept the ball alive for Koyuate to set up Eminike who finished from close range to notch his first goal for the club.

With a 3-1 lead, Slaven Bilic felt able to reintroduce Manuel Lanzini for his first appearance since the 2-0 win over Liverpool on 2 January, the Argentinian midfielder replacing Pedro Obiang on 67 minutes. Six minutes later Mark Noble was given a rest with Alex Song coming on to replace the skipper.

The Hammers were reduced to ten men on 75 minutes as Henley was clipped by Kouyate as he burst into the box. Referee Moss adjudged the foul to have denied Henley an obvious goalscoring opportunity, despite the Rovers man having miscontrolled the ball which was running harmlessly out for a goal kick. Slaven Bilic later announced that the club would be appealing against the red card.

Bilic further shuffled the pack with Reece Oxford coming on for Angelo Ogbonna with six minutes left of normal time to play and a minute later it was 4-1, with that man Payet again at the centre of attention.

The Frenchman’s through ball sprung the offside trap and Eminike fist dummied, then rounded the ‘keeper before calmly shooting home for his second and the team’s fourth of the day.

Eminike should have had a hat-trick shortly after when Payet set him up once more. The Nigerian striker’s dummy dumped a defender on his backside but drove his shot off the outside of the post. He was further denied a third when tapping in a rebound, correctly being adjudged to have been offside when the original shot went in.

The final word went, perhaps aptly, to Payet whose clever turn on the half way line set him off on a run that left Blackburn players trailing in his wake before cutting in and burying a powerful drive past Steele to finish the scoring at 5-1 in front of over 7,000 overjoyed Hammers fans.

The subsequent draw for the quarter finals could have been kinder to those hoping for one last FA Cup match at the Boleyn – an away trip to Shrewsbury or Manchester United is the team’s reward having been pulled last out of the velvet bag in this evening’s draw. Those two play on Monday evening and the quarter final tie is due to be played over the weekend of 12 March, the exact time and date of the game to be decided once the tv companies have had their pick of the matches.



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Player Ratings

Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Made a number of good saves and, whilst the corner that led to their second may have been going wide, it was close enough to worry about so we’ll give him that one.


Carl Jenkinson
Another so so game. There were spells when he looked great, others when he seemed to lack concentration.


Aaron Cresswell
Had his moments going forward but had some shaky oned as well in defence.


Winston Reid
The pick of the defenders – again – though he struggled against sub Mbokani who jumped at Reid pretty much every time they clashed.


James Tomkins
Reasonable game but we’ll draw a veil over that shot from 30 yards shall we?


Cheikhou Kouyate
Kept plugging away and might have had more than the one goal that he got.


Mark Noble
The passing game was not up to scratch today. Got a lot of break-up challenges in but was culpable to one extent or another for both goals.


Victor Moses
Created one chance for Sakho but otherwise a quiet game.


Manuel Lanzini
Another not quite up to the heights he can reach but still not a bad game until he was subbed.


Dimitri Payet
Not quite as dominant as he has been of late but still at the heart of all our good moments. MOTM


Diafra Sakh0
The work he puts in is astounding. Held the ball up well and brought others into play.


Substitutes


Andy Carroll
(Replaced) Still not quite there and who else held their breath when he went down in the second half. However, he caused a major nuisance and his presence led to the equaliser.


Padro Obiang
(Replaced) Another quiet and efficient runout. The “foul” that he was supposed to have perpetuated on the diving Hoolihan was a complete joke.


Mauro Zarate
(Replaced) Looked sharp when he was on which made me wonder how things would have transpired had he come on earlier


Darren Randolph
Did not play.


James Collins
Did not play.


Michael Antonio
Did not play.


Nikica Jelavic
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Mike Dean.

Attendance: 34,857.

Man of the Match: Dimitri Payet.

West Ham United

Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Victor Moses, Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Payet, Diafra Sakh0.

Goals: Diafra Sakho 33 Cheikhou Kouyate 90                .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Blackburn Rovers

.

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: n/a.

Sent Off: None sent off..

 
Staff Writer #2's Man of the Match: Dimitri Payet


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