Wombles Wobble Sees Hammers Out of Cup
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 27 Jan 2019 11:25:00
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It's another fourth round exit from the Emirates FA Cup to another lower league side for West Ham United as they were dumped out by Sky Bet League One outfit AFC Wimbledon at The Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday night.

As he did in the third round tie against Birmingham City, Manuel Pellegrini named a full-strength side which included Adrián, Grady Diangana, Arthur Masuaku, Javier Hernández, Robert Snodgrass and Pedro Obiang.

Given that there were a number of shock results earlier in the day, the Dons were determined to add their name to the list and put the Hammers under pressure straight from the kick-off. Dylan Connolly was given his full debut since arriving at Wimbledon earlier this month and he was a constant threat. He created the first moment of danger for the visitors when he delivered a low cross but thankfully, Michail Antonio was there to block it.

The pressure kept coming when Andy Carroll's clearance dropped to Terrell Thomas but fortunately for the visitors, he sliced his attempt over the top.

It was still all Wimbledon by this point and West Ham were thankful to Adrián, as he punched away Mitch Pinnock's freekick.

Whilst the hosts continued to dominate, Hernández wasted a decent opportunity, after being played in by Snodgrass. The striker took the shot on but it was deflected behind.

Connelly went close on eighteen minutes but his glancing header was well dealt with by Adrián.

The home teams' pressure finally paid off for Wally Downes, as his side took a deserved lead on 34 minutes when Kwesi Appiah put them in front via a deflection.

The Irons were hoping to keep the deficit down to just one by half-time but Scott Wagstaff made it two before referee Anthony Taylor blew for the break. Obiang lost possession inside the West Ham half of the field and the Dons' man was able to then slot past the helpless Spaniard, who rushed out of his goal to try and stop him.

After a shocking first-half, the Hammers had a real job on their hands if they were going to progress any further in this year's competition.

Pellegrini wasn't happy either at half-time and really made a statement by making a triple change before the action recommenced. He withdrew Diangana, Obiang and Andy Carroll and Ryan Fredericks, Felipe Anderson and Lucas Pérez all entered the fray.

The changes failed to make an immediate impact as Downes saw his side extend their advantage as Wagstaff grabbed his second of the night when he met Appiah's cross and finished past Adrián with ease.

The hosts then sat back and allowed West Ham to find a way back into the game on 57 minutes. Fredericks crossed and Antonio had his effort cleared off the line before Pérez turned the ball home to give the visitors hope.

Their chances of turning the tie around were boosted on 71 minutes when Will Nightingale gave away a freekick allowing Anderson to produce another one of his specials, as the Brazilian midfielder gave goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale no chance.

The East Londoners had chances to get back into the game and blew the lot before youngster Toby Sibbick who had just been introduced from the bench in place of Connolly finally confirmed a fifth round place for the Dons with two minutes of normal time to play.

Even though the Hammers had five minutes of stoppage time to try and find a third goal, they weren't able to as a dismal night was finally ended by Taylor's final whistle.

After losing at AFC Bournemouth last weekend and then suffering this embarrassment, West Ham are back in Premier League action on Tuesday night needing a result when they face newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux to restore some face.

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