Dominant West Ham ease into fourth round as they sweep past Bolton
PUBLISHED: 21:54 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 21:54 19 September 2017
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Goals from Ogbonna, Sakho and a Masuaku screamer book place in round four
Carabao Cup Third Round
West Ham United 3 Bolton Wanderers 0
The Hammers comfortably cantered past the toiling Trotters at the London Stadium, where their place in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup was never, ever in doubt.
First-half goals by Angelo Ogbonna and Diafra Sakho ensured that Slaven Bilić’s boys were home and hosed by the break and, although the second period failed to deliver the thrills and spills of those opening 45 minutes, Arthur Masuaku’s sensational stoppage-time strike rounded off this clinical cup win.
Thanks to a valuable victory over Huddersfield Town and a dismally, dour draw at West Bromwich Albion, the Hammers had finally lifted themselves out of the Premier League drop-zone at the weekend and, after their goalless game at The Hawthorns on Saturday, they made 10 switches with only Cheikhou Kouyaté retaining his place.
Bilić had taken a strong squad to Cheltenham Town for the second round and, once again, it was clear that the man in the Hammers hot-seat was not taking any chances here, either, as he fielded an experienced, multi-million pound first-team line-up, while also handing a debut to 18-year-old, Montenegro international, Sead Hakšabanović.
And with just four minutes on the clock, the canny Croatian’s caution quickly paid off, when a foul on skipper Mark Noble in the right-hand channel allowed Man-of-the-match, Marko Arnautović to chip a perfectly weighted free-kick towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Ogbonna charged through the pack to send a thumping header crashing into the net.
Shortly afterwards, Arnautović almost took the rigging off its hooks with a left-wing free-kick that crashed into the side-netting and, on nine minutes, the goal-hungry Austrian waltzed into the Wanderers area before being foiled by Mark Howard.
Next, it was André Ayew’s turn to go agonisingly close, when he sent Sakho’s cut-back just wide of the base of the right-hand upright and then bleached-blond, Masuaku issued a warning of what was to come later, when he drilled a 20-yarder past the opposite upright.
Ayew also sent another angled effort into the stretched and snagged side-netting and, while the attendance was nowhere as close to the FA Cup crowd that witnessed these two sides play out the legendary White Horse final in 1923, the Claret & Blue fans amongst the 35,806 gathered inside London Stadium certainly still had enough to cheer during an eventful opening 20 minutes.
Wanderers may have seen off Crewe Alexandra and Sheffield Wednesday in the previous rounds but with just two draws from their opening eight league games, Phil Parkinson’s side found themselves rock-bottom of the Championship table coming into this tie.
Following Saturday’s defeat at Ipswich Town, the beleaguered Bolton boss made seven changes with only Mark Beevers, Craig Noone, Antonee Robinson and Filipe Morais retaining their shirts, while there was no place for the Hammers ineligible, on-loan duo of Josh Cullen and Reece Burke.
Still West Ham pressed as Hakšabanović went close before the accelerating Arnautović hooked over both the advancing Howard and the crossbar. The all-advancing Austrian was at the heart of everything and, on the half-hour, he raced free down the left flank before cutting back to Sakho, who accepted the invitation to double the lead with a 12-yard, side-footer that fizzed past the outstretched left glove of Howard.
Having got one, Sakho might also have grabbed a second before the break but Beevers bravely threw himself at the point-blank scorcher and, with the interval approaching, Aaron Wilbraham headed straight to the hitherto redundant Adrián as Bolton finally mustered an effort on goal to the ironic cheers of the visiting fans.
David Wheater replaced Dorian Devite for the restart and he soon saw Sam Byram slice an angled effort over the top, before the right-back also curled an 18-yarder wide, too.
On the hour, the hard-working Hakšabanović was replaced by fellow debutant Nathan Holland, who wasted no time in stepping from the bench to force an almost instant corner before Javier Hernández came on for Sakho.
By now, though, Bolton were content just to hear the final whistle, while the Hammers’ first-half impetus had disappointingly evaporated into the East End air and, with a quarter-hour remaining, Domingos Quina switched with Noble but apart from a couple of late bookings for Darren Pratley and Holland this tie looked to be fizzling out.
But three minutes into stoppage-time, Masuaku collected the ball on the left flank before topping off the evening with an unstoppable, 25-yarder that flew beyond Howard and under the right-hand angle to cement Hammers place in that last 16.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Byram, Masuaku, Ogbonna, Rice, Kouyaté, Noble (Quina 77), Hakšabanović (Holland 62), Ayew, Arnautović, Sakho (Hernández 71). Unused subs: Hart, Cresswell, Fonte, Antonio.
TROTTERS: Howard, Taylor, Dervite (Wheater h/t), Beevers, Robinson, Wilbraham, Pratley, Morais, King (Armstrong 80), Noone (Earing 71), Le Fondre. Unused subs: Turner, Madine, Brockbank, White.
Bookings: Taylor (43), Pratley (85), Holland (87).
Referee: Simon Hooper.