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FA Cup
Saturday, 26th January 2019

AFC Wimbledon 4
West Ham United 2

by Chris Wilkerson


West Hamís chances in the FA Cup were ended this weekend as AFC Wimbledon embarrassed their Premier League opposition and outplayed the Hammers in every area.

It was an abysmal performance by Manuel Pellegriniís side, the first half a horror show that exposed the limitations of every player starting the game.

The main culprits of mediocrity were down the left side of West Hamís defence, with Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku either terrified by ghosts of Wimbledon past or just not very good defenders.

They were not helped by the shaky goalkeeper behind, Adrian making a mockery of any belief that he was competing for Fabianskiís number one spot.

A 2-0 half-time lead was no less than the home side deserved. Wally Downesís men had swarmed West Ham, forcing them deep. The 4-4-2 deployed by the Irons just ended up with Obiang and Noble so far removed from the less than mobile strike duo of Hernandez and Carroll.

There were arguably only three occasions all half where the ball went forward and stayed there. On two of those occasions, Hernandez hit harmless shots from the edge of the area to cause no threat. Carroll lurched around like a drunk lost at the end of a night out; his contract canít end soon enough.

West Ham did have the best early chance. It fell to Hernandez, who was fed into the box by Snodgrass. His poked shot was blocked by the toe of the defender, cannoning the ball off the post.

But to talk about West Hamís attack in this first half would be a waste of space, which is also a fair description of what they were.

In contrast, Wimbledonís front four were abuzz. They were getting the service too, with the extra man they had in midfield seemingly enough to force West Hamís central midfield pair deeper and deeper.

It was the gap this created to the attack that was highlighted in the first goal.

A poor Noble pass saw Carroll stumbling back but beaten to the ball. From there, it took Wimbledon two passes to feed striker Kwesi Appiah in space on the edge of the area. He looked to guide the ball to Adrianís left, but the toe of Ogbonna took the ball the other side of the soon beaten Spaniard.

Five minutes later, those gaps in the West Ham defence were made to look minuscule as Obiang, Ogbonna and Diop manufactured a red carpet for Scott Wagstaff to stroll down and place the ball into the net for 2-0.

Obiang had dawdled on the ball and lost it facing goal. Yet from at least 40 yards out, Wagstaff was able to run towards goal under no pressure. Ogbonna and Diop had spread too wide to offer a backwards pass, and Wagstaff drove between them before they could react.

The coaches sat on the West Ham bench with their heads in their hands. 2-0 at half-time should have sounded a shock, but it was all each side deserved.

Pellegrini rang the changes:

Carroll, Obiang and Diangana off for Perez Anderson and Fredericks.

But before any change of play could be forced, Wimbledon had scored again. Inside a minute of the restart, it was 3-0.

With no pressure on the edge of the area, Appiah got the chance to dink in a cross as Diop steps off him. Masuaku, as ever, was asleep at the far post and Wagstaff got in behind him to flick the ball into goal.

Whilst it was a goal that dented hopes of a full comeback, it didnít end the game as a contest. For West Ham, the chance for Felipe Anderson to control the game was enough to raise everyone else.

The Brazilian helped West Ham take control. Fredericks too was transformative, bursting down the right flank at great pace over and over again.

The pair combined often, whilst Fredericksí brilliant work was unrewarded first when a lovely low cross was attacked by no one when an ambitious striker would have scored, then when a cutback was blasted over by Hernandez.

Eventually, it was this right hand side that caused a breakthrough. A poor corner was cleared, but Fredericks worked it back down the flank with Snodgrass. The right back drove a cross towards Hernandez. His shot was saved, but Lucas Perez converted the rebound with a powerful driven finish.

Minutes later, the goalscorer should have had another, missing a glorious chance from a bouncing corner.

The home side retreated, finally finding a reason to be worried by the supposed class of their opposition. West Ham were looking dangerous, but that extended to threatening their own goal, Adrianís clown act continuing as he made a mess of an easy cross and was only saved by his defence.

The danger was building, and when Snodgrass was cynically tripped just outside the Wimbledon area, hope reared its ugly head again.

Anderson stepped up, fired the ball through the gap Diop had left in the wall and well beyond the goalkeeper. There were echoes from Marseille of a former saviour who had once dragged West Ham through torrid cup ties.

18 minutes remained, but that was as good as it got.

Another goal came, but for the deserving victors.

Masuaku, by now surely close to just putting on a Wimbledon shirt, was not content. Heíd tried to give away a penalty, but that had been missed by the referee.

As the game neared an end, Ogbonna and Masuaku teamed up to make a hash of clearing a ball down the left channel, eventually giving away a corner.

Whilst Adrian made a surprise save as a free header was thwarted, the reprieve lasted only seconds more.

The ball stayed around the West Ham area and was lost, before a delightful ball to the back post evaded everyone but 19-year-old Toby Sibbick, who scored his first professional goal to put the tie to bed.

The game was over, as were West Hamís chances of winning a trophy this year. Antonio did manage to miss three glorious chances in stoppage time, but it mattered little. Embarrassment had peaked, missed chances wouldnít even register any longer.

For West Ham, it was enough to drag another bit of hope into the gutter, and there has to be doubts how many of these players will see another FA Cup tie for West Ham.

The media department wasnít finished for the evening. Marko Arnautovicís new contract was announced within an hour of full time; someone at West Ham had misread the tone of the room.

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Player Ratings

Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Hapless. He left crosses when he needed to intervene, made rash decisions and dropped simple catches. All his negatives in one neat match bundle.


Michail Antonio
Realistically, he was the least bad in the first half. Excused much focus in the report for his late misses, but they sum him up. Nearly good, not often good enough.


Arthur Masuaku
Not a left back. Often needs a run of games to get into things, but this was embarrassing. Exposed and beaten down the left around 8 times. Has no awareness when defending a runner at the far post.


Issa Diop
Poor in parts, but may have looked around him at the defence (and goalkeeper) and just lost all hope.


Angelo Ogbonna
Sometimes he has moments where he looks terrified of football as a concept. This game it never stopped.


Pedro Obiang
Sometimes he gets the ball and seems overcome if he canít curl a slow pass to someone out wide. Suffered the same problems as Noble, but also made a mess of the second goal.


Mark Noble
The central midfield two couldnít handle Wimbledonís midfield. Allowed himself to sit too deep without actually protecting the defence.


Grady Diangana
Just didnít make a dent in the game. If you erased him from it, nothing would change.


Robert Snodgrass
Gets an extra point for having to play near Masuaku. Better in the second half, industrious and passed forward.


Javier Hernandez
The frustration is that if he canít be a striker that bullies a team like this by being too good, what is he? Did make himself available and create space for chances, even if he didnít take them.


Andy Carroll
One header back to Hernandez was good but if he gets a new contract then Iíll cry. Played like an old man searching for his glasses.


Substitutes


Felipe Anderson
(Replaced Diangana) Hard to score him better than that was we still drew the half he was on, but he scored and pretty much made the team look somewhat acceptable for a spell.


Ryan Fredericks
(Replaced Obiang) Did all he could do, really. Constantly ran the overlap, delivered well, has pace that can worry.


Lucas Perez
(Replaced Carroll) Scored, missed a chance, floated around sometimes in play, often anonymous. Picture most of his performances.


Lukasz Fabianski
Did not play.


Declan Rice
Did not play.


Conor Coventry
Did not play.


Nathan Holland
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Attendance: 4,777.

Man of the Match: Felipe Anderson.

West Ham United

Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo, Michail Antonio, Arthur Masuaku, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Grady Diangana, Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, Andy Carroll.

Goals: Lucas Perez 57 Felipe Anderson 71                .

Booked: Ryan Fredericks 0 Arthur Masuaku 0        .

Sent off: None.

AFC Wimbledon

Ramsdale, Watson, Thomas, McDonald, Oshilaja, Nightingale, Wordsworth, Connolly (Sibbick 86), Pinnock (Soares 65), Wordsworth, Appiah (Jervis 76).

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: Garratt, McDonnell, Pigott, Trotter.

Goals: Appiah (34), Wagstaff (41, 46), Sibbick (88).

Booked: .

Sent Off: .

 
Chris Wilkerson's Man of the Match: Felipe Anderson


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