West Ham played the first of the FA Cup third round matches at home in the London Stadium against Manchester City and I bet they wish they hadn’t. After 35 minutes of a decent match with both teams putting out first teams and lots of flair City were awarded a dubious penalty by referee Michael Oliver. It completely changed the game as City took the ascendency and found themselves 3-0 up at half time. As well as the converted penalty nicely slotted home by Kolo Toure they gained a second eight minutes later with an own goal by Nordtveit. It couldn’t get any worse for the Hammers. It did. At least for the third goal City were on the rampage and West Ham all at sea, so much so they could have had flipper in goal. Three City players against one West Ham defender, ball rolls into the box and David Silva looked embarrassed to have so much time and so much space to slot home number three. After the break life didn’t improve much for West Ham as further goals from Aguero and John Stones completed a rout over the Hammers. West Ham do not look at home in the London Stadium and it could prove costly for them in more ways than one over the next year or two, it’s not much consolation but at least Andy Carroll looked back to his best. As for City they will be relieved to get this game over and played well despite the early first half fortune with the first two goals. Both Silva and Sterling were in excellent form and it’s a shame David Gold the West Ham owner wasn’t there as he was in hospital. If he had been there Gold would have seen Sterling and Silva make a fortune out of the Hammers defence. Get well soon David and get well soon West Ham.
Manchester United beat championship team Reading 4-0 at a canter with Wayne Rooney and Martial giving them a two nil lead after only 15 minutes. The game was effectively over by this point but Rooney’s goal after 7 minutes made him equal with Sir Bobby Charlton with a record 249 goals for the Reds. He had a couple of chances to get the magic 250 but squandered the opportunity. Marcus Rashford added a third in the second half and will be over the moon considering he had failed to find the net since September. Life got even better for him in the 79th minute when a suicidal error from Reading keeper Ali Al-Habsi who failed to control a back pass, in fact he completely missed the ball allowing Rashford probably the easiest goal he will ever score from one metre out and not a Reading shirt anywhere near him. Al-Habsi should have been kicking himself at such a schoolboy error but he probably would have missed even that.
So Manchester United go marching on as do current Premiership Champions Leicester City who defeated fellow Premiership rivals Everton with a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park. All three goals were in a whirlwind eight minutes so not the time when you’re a fan to go off for a chip butty and a cup of Bovril or any other beef flavoured drink at your disposal. Lukaku put Everton ahead in the 63rd minute but Musa scored a brace in 4 minutes of each other to win the game for Leicester. Leicester are now in round 4 but I’ve not heard the media mention they are still up for the treble, ie Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League survival. Come on you Foxes.
Joining them in round 4 will be Rochdale, 2-0 winners over little non-league Barrow, this was a cut and thrust match without any real skill but Rochdale did what was required.
Eastleigh’s Manager Martin Allen returned to old club Brentford but his team were humbled 5-1 with Brentford playing superior football throughout. Accrington Stanley saw off Luton Town 2-1 thanks to goals from the brilliantly named Sean McConville and Omar Beckles who sound like they jumped out of a Roy of the Rovers feature. To further dampen Luton’s fire they had Rea sent off in injury time. That’s Glen Rea rather than rock singer Chris Rea by the way.
Birmingham and Newcastle saw out a 1-1 draw with Newcastle looking the better of the two teams and a replay beckons next week. Blackpool and Barnsley also replay after a 0-0 draw as do Bolton and Crystal Palace and not forgetting Bristol City and Fleetwood who all failed to score. Replays abound. A few more goals though eh lads?
The mighty Brighton and Hove Albion kept up their recent excellent form with a 2-0 win against a sterile MK Dons. Despite Manager Chris Houghton changing the whole team they were still far superior to MK Dons with Kayal and Hemed both getting on the score sheet but it could have been 5-0.
The all premiership tussle between Hull and Swansea ended up as a 2-0 victory for the Tigers with Hernandez and Tymon leaving it late to drown the Swans. Hull’s great cup exploits continue this season with them safely embedded in the fourth round of the FA Cup they are still in the semi finals of the League Cup. Why they can’t crossover this cup form into Premiership form is anyone’s guess but new boss Marco Silva tasted victory in his first game in charge of the Premiership strugglers. The attendance for this game was dire with only 200 making the trip from Wales and with the home fans staying away in droves in protest over the current owners a measly 6,600 saw the match.
In an all Championship match Ian Holloway’s QPR were knocked out by Blackburn Rovers 2-1 with a penalty for Rangers Bidwell simply a consolation following a Lynch own goal and Feeney effort putting the Rovers 2-0 up.
Payne, Palmer and Bunn (sounds like a dodgy firm of solicitors) all scored for Huddersfield as they saw off Port Vale easily with a 4-0 win. Payne scored his second and Huddersfield fourth with six minutes of the match remaining.
“Main photo: Vlad1988/ Shutterstock”