Hammers Suffer Major Carabao Cup Upset
By Tom Dowsett
Thursday 26 Sep 2019 14:08:00
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In round three of the Carabao Cup last season, West Ham United romped to an 8-0 win over Sky Bet League Two outfit Macclesfield Town in Stratford. However, on Wednesday night, it was a totally different story, as Sky Bet League One side Oxford United inflicted a first away defeat of the campaign on the Hammers by beating them 4-0 at The Kassam Stadium.

Unlike in the last round, two players retained their places from the previous match. In this case, Pablo Fornals and Issa Diop were the lucky ones to be handed a chance to play, following the 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Sunday.

Otherwise Manuel Pellegrini named a side that included the majority of the players that featured in the last round away at Sky Bet League Two outfit Newport County. There was however a first senior start for promising Development Squad player Nathan Holland.

Holland looked like he was going to repay the faith that Pellegrini had shown in him early on. He made a great run down the left wing to latch onto Albian Ajeti's ball but unfortunately, U's defender Rob Dickie anticipated the danger and was in the right place to get a block in.

Although both teams won at the weekend, their confidence wasn't in evidence at all here. The home side wasted decent chances to go ahead. Both Cameron Brannagan and Anthony Forde missed the target with their efforts.

Minutes later, Former Hammers' Academy graduate Rob Hall went closest to shocking his old club by putting Karl Robinson's side in front with 26 minutes gone, fortunately for the visitors though, his free-kick hit the frame of the goal.

West Ham had good spells of possession but lacked any cutting-edge. They nearly threatened home goalkeeper Simon Eastwood, but he had readjusted in time to thwart Jack Wilshire on 33 minutes.

At the break, the crowd were no closer to knowing who was going to end up in the draw for the fourth round, as the deadlock was yet to be broken.

The hosts made a bright start to the second-half and were finally ahead on 55 minutes. Defender Elliott Moore broke clear of the Hammers' defence and found space in the box to turn and shoot past visiting goalkeeper Roberto Jiménez Gago.

Pellegrini reacted to that setback by making his first change with Sébastien Haller coming on for Holland.

A minute later, Jiménez Gago kept his side in the game as he showed sharp reflexes to claw Jamie Mackie's effort away from danger.

Pellegrini still didn't like what he was seeing from his side and made another change with 66 minutes gone as Felipe Anderson replaced Wilshire.

The change failed to make a difference and ironically enough, it was two of Robinson's substitutes that had the desired impact as on 71 minutes, Mark Sykes set up Matty Taylor to increase the home side's advantage from close range.

Being two goals down, it seemed West Ham had a mountain to climb but Pellegrini did introduce Mark Noble in place of Robert Snodgrass as he made his last change on 74 minutes.

After Noble entered the fray. A further ten minutes passed before Oxford helped themselves to a third, as another of Robinson's changes found the net. Another defensive mistake, this time from Arthur Masuaku allowed Tariqe Fosu to find space in the box and round Jiménez Gago, meaning there was no way back for the Irons.

However, the U's weren't finished there, as two minutes into stoppage time, it was four, as Shandon Baptiste got in on the act when he strolled his way into the box and slotted the ball past Jiménez Gago.

Oxford knocked out Sky Bet Championship side Millwall to make it to this stage but surely this victory will mean more to them, whereas the East Londoners will want to make up for this disappointment as they hope to continue their current run of form in the Premier League with a positive result. They make the trip to The Vitality Stadium and face AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.

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