Hammers Eventually Nail Wimbledon
By Tom Dowsett
Wednesday 29 Aug 2018 15:43:00
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It may have been a tough evening at The Cherry Red Records Stadium for West Ham United on Tuesday but, at least they are through to the third round of the Carabao Cup after coming from behind to beat Sky Bet League One side AFC Wimbledon 3-1.

Only Issa Diop and Robert Snodgrass retained their places from the defeat at The Emirates Stadium as Manuel Pellegrini made nine changes including first starts of the season for Adrián, Aaron Cresswell, Pedro Obiang and Andriy Yarmolenko.

Despite coming off with injury three days earlier, Michail Antonio had recovered enough to be named on the bench.

The game had barely got into any sort of rhythm before Neal Ardley's team went in front.Inside two minutes, Joe Pigott rose above the West Ham defence to head Mitch Pinnock's corner past a helpless Adrián.

The home fans were delirious to take an early lead but were not so pleased with what happened sixteen minutes later, as referee Tim Robinson gave Rod McDonald a second yellow card for pulling the shirt of Javier Hernández. This left the Wombles with a hard task for the rest of the contest.

Ardley then had to reshuffle his side and made an early change as Pigott was replaced with Will Nightingale.

McDonald's dismissal certainly gave the Hammers an edge but despite having the majority of the possession, they weren't able to make it count.

On his full debut for the club since making the move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, Yarmolenko had an excellent chance for the visitors but unfortunately he only succeeded in sending the ball high over the bar with 25 minutes gone.

Pellegrini's side were definitely in the ascendancy by this point and three minutes later, the Ukrainian tried his luck again as he beat goalkeeper Tom King with a looping header, only for substitute Nightingale to clear off the line.

Three minutes of stoppage time were added before Robinson brought the first-half to a close. Surely the Irons weren't about to suffer at the hands of lower league opponents, or were they?

At the break, Pellegrini made his first change with Obiang making way for Felipe Anderson.

The Brazilian almost made an immediate impact when he broke away but he couldn't level matters, as his shot hit the side netting.

Anderson's introduction was certainly making a difference though, as he later set up Hernández but the striker failed to even test King who easily plucked the ball from the sky.

West Ham's loyal support sensed a goal would arrive and on 63 minutes their team finally made the breakthrough as Diop, who was unfortunate to give the advantage back to Arsenal on Saturday, registered at the right end. He sent an unstoppable 25-yard shot beyond King to equalise after Anderson had played him in.

The young Frenchman went ever so close to adding his second just two minutes later when his venomous header had King beaten but he wasn't so lucky this time, as he saw the effort come back off the bar.

There was more pressure for the hosts to deal with as the Irons went close on a number of occasions before Pellegrini introduced Antonio in place of Lucas Pérez on 80 minutes.

West Ham really turned on the style with full-time approaching and on 83 minutes, they effectively finished the job, as a corner from Snodgrass was met by Angelo Ogbonna, who placed a left-foot finish past King.

Pellegrini understandably wanted to keep things tight and deep into stoppage time, he replaced Yarmolenko with Arthur Masuaku.

The substitution paid dividends, as the Hammers went on to add a third when Masuaku spotted Hernández in space and the Mexican took the ball around King and slotted it into an empty net.

Robinson's final whistle brought huge relief to all connected with West Ham and the team can now look forward to the draw which will be made on Thursday evening.

Fingers crossed the Irons can now take some of the confidence earnt from that result into Saturday's home game with last season's Championship title winners Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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