West Ham suffer humiliating drubbing at Oxford to crash out of Carabao Cup
PUBLISHED: 22:18 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 22:18 25 September 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers fail their university challenge as Oxford sweep them aside
Carabao Cup Round Three
Oxford United 4 West Ham United 0
The humiliated Hammers were sensationally dumped out of the Carabao Cup at the Kassam Stadium by the rampant U's, who sit 51 places below them in the league.
Following a blank opening 45 minutes, there was nothing to suggest that Manuel Pellegrini's side were about to crash to one of their most shocking defeats in living memory as four-midable Oxford simply blew four-lorn West Ham away with a quadruple second-half blast.
Elliott Moore started the rout ten minutes after the break, while substitutes Matty Taylor and Tariqe Fosu helped themselves to goals, before Shandon Baptiste's stoppage-time conversion rounded off an emphatic victory for Karl Robinson's League One outfit.
Sitting in fifth-spot in the Premier League, Pellegrini had made nine changes to the side that had won so well against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, with only Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals retaining their jerseys following his team's impressive 2-0 victory.
That meant a full debut for Nathan Holland and the 21-year-old West Ham wide-boy wasted no time in forcing an early stop out of Oxford keeper Simon Eastwood, before then flashing another left-wing ball across the face of goal.
Having already seen off Peterborough United and Millwall in this season's competition, the 1986 winners had also hit Lincoln City for six on Saturday but Robinson still made half a dozen changes to the side that had moved into 12th-place in League One with that emphatic 6-0 win at Sincil Bank as Moore, Baptiste, Robert Hall, Sam Long, Anthony Forde and George Thorne each earned call-ups.
And former Hammers' starlet Hall issued Oxford's first real warning of the night, when he burst into the visitors' penalty box, but his effort ricocheted to Cameron Brannagan, who then steered wide from eight yards and, shortly afterwards, Forde burst clear of the pushed up West Ham defence but lacking both pace and accuracy he could only scuff wide from the edge of the area.
Midway through the half, Thorne fell awkwardly in a challenge and duly departed with his left arm in a sling as Mark Sykes stepped from the bench and, with the U's substitute still finding his feet, Hammers lone front-man Albian Ajeti blasted high and wide from 20 yards.
At the other end, Hall came far closer with a 20-yard free-kick that rocked Roberto's crossbar and, with the game flowing from end-to-end, Holland again burst into the home area, where Eastwood again smothered the youngster's close-range shot.
Growing into the contest, Jack Wilshere was showing some quality touches allied to a fine range of passing and, on the half-hour, he almost embarrassed the U's 'keeper with a vicious, swerving 20-yard scorcher that the relieved Eastwood recovered to field at the second attempt.
Then, as half-time approached, Fornals slashed wide from similar range, while Holland - West Ham's liveliest performer in the opening 45 minutes - ghosted into the danger-zone, once more, where he found himself crowded out to keep it goalless at the break.
Just after the restart, Fornals cleverly lofted the ball into the area, where the bounce got the better of Pablo Zabaleta, while Robert Snodgrass saw the subsequent follow-up charged down to safety.
You may also want to watch:
Certainly, there was no warning of the storm that was brewing in the Oxfordshire night.
But, on 55 minutes, Wilshere was penalised for an aerial challenge on Long that saw both players needing treatment and, when Forde's consequent free-kick was pumped forward on to Dickie's head from halfway, the Hammers failed to clear leaving Moore to control Sykes' pass before turning and drilling Oxford ahead with a low angled eight-yarder that flashed across Roberto's outstretched right glove.
Pellegrini immediately pitched top-scorer Sebastién Haller into the fray at the expense of the unlucky Holland but only a flying save from Roberto then prevented Jamie Mackie from doubling the underdogs lead.
Buoyed by their opener, both Brannagan and Hall tried their luck from range and, with West Ham now up seriously against it, Felipe Anderson replaced the battered Wilshere, while goal-scorer Moore was booked for felling Ajeti and Snodgrass quickly followed for a lunge on Baptiste.
With West Ham's grip on the tie having now evaporated into the dark Kassam Stadium night - and those substitutions looking to have come far too late - another Oxford goal definitely could not be ruled out and, sure enough, the hosts doubled their lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Substitute Taylor had only been on the field for two minutes, when he popped up at the far post to slide home Sykes' low right-wing ball into the six-yard box.
That was the cue for skipper Mark Noble to replace Snodgrass but it was another Oxford substitute, who would soon have a more telling impact on a calamitous night for West Ham.
After replacing Hall, the fresh-legged Fosu showed Zabaleta and Sánchez the clean soles of his boots as Taylor sent him bursting clear from halfway and, after drawing the helplessly exposed Roberto, he coolly slotted home Oxford's third goal of the evening.
And the vast majority of the dejected 1,513 Claret & Blue fans had long evacuated the stadium, when the unchallenged Baptiste produced a carbon-copy charge down the left-flank before slotting past the lone figure of Roberto to comprehensively send Oxford into the Fourth Round at the expense of the red-faced Hammers.
U's: Eastwood, Long, Ruffels, Dickie, Moore, Thorne (Sykes 22), Baptiste, Forde, Hall (Fosu 77), Brannagan, Mackie (Taylor 68). Unused subs: Stevens, Woodburn, Agyei, Jones.
HAMMERS: Roberto, Zabaleta, Masuaku, Diop, Balbuena, Sánchez, Wilshere (Anderson 65), Fornals, Snodgrass (Noble 73), Holland (Haller 66), Ajeti. Unused subs: Fabiański, Cresswell, Cardoso, Coventry.
Booked: Moore (65), Snodgrass (67)
Referee: Robert Jones.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.