Magnificent West Ham storm into the FA Cup quarter-finals at Blackburn
16:00 21 February 2016
PA/Press Association Images
The Hammers steamroller Rovers with a five-star show as Emenike and Payet score two apiece
Blackburn Rovers 1 West Ham United 5
West Ham eased their way into the FA Cup quarter-finals as they put on a stylish show to come from behind and beat Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
In a game that was far from physical, both teams were reduced to 10 men, but it was the Hammers class that was to tell in the end as two goals from Emmanuel Eminike and fine strikes from Victor Moses and Dimitri Payet saw them through.
West Ham had been forced into changes with Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia both injured, while Sam Byram was cup tied.
Manager Slaven Bilic severely restricted at both right back and up front, he went for Michail Antonio to fill in as an emergency defender, just as he had in the last half hour against Liverpool.
While loan signing Emenike played as the lone striker as he was the only one left!
The Hammers started the brighter with Moses making some penetrating forward runs and he went close after just four minutes when Payet’s free kick came out to him, only for his shot to be deflected wide.
But slowly Blackburn began to force their way into the game and on 20 minutes they grabbed the lead out of the blue.
A Rovers corner was cleared to the edge of the box and Ben Marshall was given too much time and space and thumped a low shot which beat Darren Randolph by his left-hand post.
It was another game where West Ham would be forced to come from behind, but they set about their task with real relish.
Emenike headed a Payet cross wide when under pressure, but on 26 minutes the Hammers were level.
Moses darted forward from halfway again and this time, as the defence parted, he was able to fire from the edge of the box which went under keeper Jason Steele and into the middle of the net.
The equaliser seemed to shock the Championship side and West Ham took full control, showing their Premier League class with some crisp passing and running with the ball.
Cheikhou Kouyate fired over off balance after winning the ball in the area, but on 36 minutes the Hammers grabbed the lead.
Payet won a free kick in an inviting position outside the box and he then struck a sublime free kick which swerved over the wall and into the far corner.
Blackburn started the second half at one hundred miles an hour, determined to haul themselves level, but they could not test Randolph in the West Ham goal and there task was made even harder on 55 minutes when Chris Taylor tripped the breaking Moses and was given a second yellow card.
Skipper Mark Noble went close on the hour as he stole into the box only to drag his shot across the face of goal, while Kouyate had the ball in the net when he followed up Antonio’s shot, only to be ruled out for offside.
It didn’t matter much as within minutes West Ham had made it 3-1. They laid siege to the Rovers goal before Kouyate unselfishly squared it to Emenike who tapped in at the far post for his first West Ham goal on his first start.
Manuel Lanzini returned from injury with 25 minutes left as West Ham looked to show their Premier League class as well as their FA Cup credentials by passing Rovers off the pitch in style.
There was one setback when Kouyate was shown a straight red after catching Rovers Adam Henley on the edge of the box, but that made it 10 against 10 and West Ham were still in charge and should have stretched their lead with 10 minutes left when Aaron Cresswell fired across goal and Emenike somehow managed to put his effort over from six yards out.
Moses was denied twice more, while Lanzini had a shout for a penalty after being checked in the box.
And with six minutes to go, the Hammers added a fourth goal. Payet played the ball forward and Emenike coolly rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home for his second to start a stampede of home fans heading for the exit door.
He twice missed out on a hat-trick after being set up by Payet again, but his first effort was blocked from close range and then his header was well saved by Steele.
But in injury time they put the icing on the cake with a stunning fifth goal as Payet ran from halfway, before firing home to round off a superb afternoon for the rampant Hammers.
It was a magnificent performance and for the 7,000+ away fans, it was well worth the early start to get here.
West Ham: Randolph, Antonio, Collins, Ogbonna (Oxford 78), Cresswell, Obiang (Lanzini 67), Noble (Song 73), Kouyate, Payet, Moses, Emenike.
Unused subs: Adrian, Henry, Parfitt-Williams, Browne.
Red card: Kouyate.