West Ham United are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after atoning for their Premier League defeat at home to Brentford last Friday night by beating the Bees 1-0 at The Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday evening.
David Moyes made four changes to the side that picked up a vital point at Leeds United three days earlier, as Ben Johnson deputised for the injured Vladimír Coufal, Emmerson Palmieri started in place of Pablo Fornals, who dropped to the bench. Thilo Kehrer was again left out of the starting line-up in favour of Angelo Ogbonna, while Gianluca Scamacca was unavailable due to injury and was replaced by Michail Antonio.
Alphonse Areola was also suffering from a minor injury, meaning that Łukasz Fabiański retained his place in goal, while Darren Randolph was selected amongst the substitutes. Moyes also included youngsters Connor Coventry, Divin Mubama and Kamarai Swyer.
West Ham were keen to learn the lessons from their previous meeting and weren’t going to make it as easy for the hosts as it was the previous week. In another tight affair, Thomas Frank’s side started the brighter of the two teams and had a great chance to open the scoring when a cross from Keane Lewis-Potter found Yoane Wissa but thankfully for the travelling support, Fabiański made a crucial save with his feet.
West Ham did have their chances and Lucas Paquetá would have hoped to have done better with his attempt. When the ball was presented to him, he snatched at a volley and unfortunately sent it wide.
Soon after, Jarrod Bowen tried his luck but sent an effort wide of the post.
Whilst the Hammers struggled to create any clear-cut chances, Brentford on the other hand, continued to fashion opportunities. One such move came as an occurrence of the Irons failing to clear the danger from a free-kick, which meant an almighty scramble ensued but, to the relief of the Visitors, the move ended with former Burnley defender Ben Mee hitting the post, having said that, nothing would have come of the chance, as he was flagged offside.
Moyes’ men were keen to see if they could take an advantage into the half-time break and they had the chance to do so when they were awarded a corner. Unfortunately, they failed to even test stand-in goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.
West Ham had done well to still be holding their Premier League opponents when referee Andre Marriner blew for the break, all they needed to do now was to ensure that they secure a place in the next round.
It was clear when the action recommenced, that the two teams were just sizing each other up in that opening period and were ready for the real battle to start in the second!!!
Once it did, the visitors had a great chance to go ahead when Palmieri collected possession after some great team play and he in-turn crossed for Tomáš Souček but unfortunately, the Czech was unable to apply the telling touch.
Minutes later, the Hammers were awarded a free-kick which was invitingly sent into the box but it was just a shame that Craig Dawson couldn’t reach the delivery. Having said that, they were able to keep the pressure on, as Palmieri tried his luck, but the Bees’ defence stood firm, before Antonio then headed Nayef Aguerd’s cross over the crossbar.
Replays make a return in the third round this season and that is just what either side didn’t want and they were doing all they could to try and avoid the draw.
Frank’s team went close but fortunately for the East London faithful, Lewis-Potter sent an attempt wide of the post.
Saïd Benrahma has a habit of scoring here and when Moyes sent him on to take the place of Souček in the sixty ninth minute, the Algerian winger took no time at all in haunting his former club once again. Captain Declan Rice intercepted the ball and it broke kindly for Benrahma, who sent a scorcher of a shot rocketing past Strakosha and the away end went ballistic!!!
Moyes then made a double change, as he replaced both Paquetá and Antonio with Flynn Downes and Fornals.
Brentford were trying to find a leveller but the East Londoners were in no mood to give them a way through. New recruit Kevin Schade did the best he could, but Aguerd produced a timely block to deny him a route to goal.
That was the last action of the game and when Marriner blew the final whistle, the Irons could finally celebrate their first victory since picking up all three points at home to AFC Bournemouth way back on October 24.
Another away tie awaits Moyes’ men in the fourth round, as they have been drawn to face Sky Bet League One outfit Derby County with the tie taking place on Monday 30 January. Before then though, the Hammers will attempt to get back to winning ways in the Premier League with a trip to Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.