Hammers Humbled At Hillsborough
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 09 Jan 2012 13:12:00
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West Ham United have failed to progress past the third round for the first time since 1999 after being beaten by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Sunday afternoon.

It had been suggested on Friday that Sam Allardyce may make changes to his side for this game and he did just that, as Robert Green, Carlton Cole, Kevin Nolan, Mark noble, James Tomkins, Julien Faubert and Papa Bouba Diop were all left out of the side and in came Ruud Boffin, Freddie Sears, John Carew, Gary O'Neil, Henri Lansbury, Joey O'Brien and Dan Potts.

The game started and the Hammers had controlled the opening stages, but Gary Megson's side had the chance of the half on 20 minutes. Jermaine Johnson set himself up well after cleverly working the ball past George McCartney and Potts to find himself clear on goal and, although he beat Boffin, the ball went wide of the post.

The visitors fashioned their first real chance on 38 minutes, when Jack Collison, Carew, O'Brien and Baldock combined well to set up Sears who blazed over from three yards out.

The Hammers, who had been the better side for much of the half, fashioned one more effort before half-time as Collison tested the goalkeeper with a powerful shot which Nicky Weaver dealt with well and the teams went in level at the break.

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The second half couldn't have started much better for the East Londoners. Just minutes in, Winston Reid was brought down after controlling the ball and a penalty was awarded which Baldock stepped up to take. He shot to the right of Weaver but the goalkeeper guessed right and kept the scores level by making a superb save.

The Owls had a great chance to go ahead when Jermaine Johnson beat O'Brien but Potts made a magnificent goal-line clearance.

On 65 minutes, Frank Nouble replaced Carew. Perhaps the substitution was made because the Norweigan had suffered a knock to his right leg earlier in the match.

Six minutes later Baldock had a great chance to put the Hammers ahead, but his powerful shot was pushed onto the post by Weaver.

With the deadlock yet to be broken, as Megson made his first change, Allardyce then followed suit as Robert Hall replaced Sears. Soon after, the third change was made for the Hammers, when Brian Montenegro was given his first taste of senior action since arriving in East London in the summer as he replaced O'Neil.

With only minutes to play, the home side had Julian Bennett stretchered off after a clash with one of his own team-mates. After that unfortunate incident the game then had 11 minutes of stoppage time added on. Bennett was replaced by Ryan Lowe and, with the tie seemingly heading for a draw, Wednesday prevented the two teams replaying at Upton Park when Chris O'Grady's low shot slipped through Boffin's grasp and into the net. At least the Hammers still had plenty of time to try and grab an equaliser!

West Ham nearly found that equaliser with just a minute of the 11 to go when O'Brien set up Nouble, who wasted a golden chance by volleying his effort wide and off target.

Seconds later the final whistle blew leaving Wednesday to progress where they will face an away trip to Blackpool, while the Hammers can now concentrate on their promotion push as they travel to the South coast to face Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon.

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