Filed: Tuesday, 30th October 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel
West Ham United are through to the quarter finals of the Carling Cup thanks to an injury time winner from Carlton Cole.
The big striker - playing the lone role up front this evening due to a succession of injuries - held his nerve to win the game for the Hammers after being put clean through on goal in the fourth minute of injury time.
However twenty minutes prior to Cole's strike United were in dire straights after Jay Tabb had given the Championship outfit the lead. A simple ball over the top on 68 minutes caught the Hammers rearguard flat-footed and Tabb stole through on the far side - unchallenged - to nod home.
West Ham - who had rarely threatened the Coventry goal - looked at that stage as if they were about to add another lower league name to a long list of embarrassing Cup defeats. But vitally, Luis Boa Morte restored parity just four minutes later when his controlled strike took a wicked deflection via the foot of City's Ben Turner, giving Andy Marshall no chance.
Alan Curbishley had gone into the game with just one fit striker - Carlton Cole - at his disposal. But yet again Cole - as he did against Portsmouth last weekend - led the line superbly, and his winning goal was the icing on the cake of another solid performance.
Elsewhere the ever-improving George McCartney produced yet another impressive performance, whilst the rejuvenated Matthew Etherington - through whom most of United's best chances came - caused the City defence problems all night with a series of probing runs on the left flank.
Despite their divisional advantage the Hammers started the game slowly, and had to wait until the 11th minute before creating a meaningful effort on goal; Mark Noble's 25-yard free-kick fizzing narrowly over the bar.
At the other end Coventry failed to profit from the lions' share of possession, and just one real opportunity - a crisp drive across goal that narrowly evaded Richard Wright's far post on 22 minutes - was created in the opening 45.
The first half ended in controversy after Luis Boa Morte was hauled down when clean through on goal. Most onlookers were expecting a red card for the errant City defender yet none were more surprised than Boa Morte himself when HE was penalised by referee Rob Styles. For what, we can but wonder.
The second half started off as the first had ended, but it wasn't until the 68th minute that the deadlock was broken by Tabb. That goal sparked what had until that point been something of a drab affair, and within five minutes Boa Morte had levelled the scores.
Thereafter both sides spurned a number of opportunities to go ahead; substitute Kyle completely mis-kicked six yards from goal with just Richard Wright to beat, whilst at the other end George McCartney fluffed a sitter, blasting into the side netting after profitting from a loose ball in the box.
But then up stepped Carlton Cole to send the Hammers - somewhat fortuitously, it could be said - into the quarter finals. Richard Wright's clearance was met by the head of Boa Morte, and Cole - who moments earlier was inches from meeting a Matthew Etherington drive across the six yard box - dashed through to meet the flick on.
After brushing off a defender - fairly, despite the protestations of the Coventry bench - the former Chelsea man regained his conposure before cooly slotting the ball beyond Marshall. For a player said to suffer with confidence problems, this was some finish in the circumstances.
So despite a less than convincing performance the Hammers are through to the quarter finals for the first time in six years. Who they meet will be decided this coming weekend.
West Ham United: Wright, Neill, McCartney, Ferdinand (Gabbidon 85), Upson, Mullins (Spector 46), Noble (Paintsil 61), Bowyer, Etherington, Boa Morte, Cole.
Subs not used: Green, Reid.
Booked: McCartney (16), Neill (34), Spector (63).
Goals: Boa Morte (71), Cole (90+4).
Coventry City: Marshall, McNamee, Turner, Hall, De Zeeuw, Tabb, Doyle, Osbourne, Gray (Simpson 46), Best (Kyle 70), Mifsud.
Subs not used: Cairo, Ward, Thornton.
Booked: Osbourne (62).
Goals: Tabb (68).
Referee: Rob Styles.
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by Tell it how it is Charley!
10:36AM 31st Oct 2007
''Did Pantsil get a touch last night? It was a pretty unremarkable display. Much of the match you could see they were desperately short in the final third of the pitch. Etherington just didn't appear able to get into the match. The passing lacked a quick, cutting fluidity (sorry but I just don't rate Bowyer). Bowyer has a tendency to cut in on the right rather than take it down the wing. I think if he were prepared to run the wing especially in the forthcoming Spurs game he's going to give that Korean who plays on the left when hell of a hard time, who lacks any pace (take note Curbs). We want to send these lot down and we can all go home with a little Uncle Fester smile on our faces!''
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