Five star Hammers prescribe the perfect tonic for Moyes
West Ham United 5 Hull City 1
Julian Taylor at the London Stadium
West Ham booked their passage into the next round of the Carabao Cup with what amounted to little more than a brisk training exercise against brittle Hull City.
Goals from Robert Snodgrass and two from both Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko – one from the penalty spot – were ultimately sufficient to ease past the paper Tigers, where the gulf between the Premier League and League One was patently obvious. Mallik Wilks netted a consolation for Hull, but the lasting damage had already been inflicted upon Grant McCann’s side.
The victory came on a night when West Ham had their own difficulties to bear off the field. Prior to the start of this third round tie, manager David Moyes, along with players Josh Cullen and Issa Diop, were absent having tested positive for Covid-19.
The trio returned home before the game, with Hammers assistant boss Alan Irvine, consequently, overseeing events. The manager and players were asymptomatic but, nevertheless, it is another huge concern for the immediate future of game in general; certainly, in view of the postponement of Leyton Orient’s game against Tottenham a short hop away due to a coronavirus outbreak within the O’s squad.
At least, from West Ham’s perspective, Moyes’ men reorganised from the dressing room health shock, showing much-needed focus and did the job which was required. Regrettably, the club now has a waiting game in relation to their afflicted manager and two of his charges.
Following the weekend defeat at in-form Arsenal, it was imperative for West Ham to get back to winning ways, particularly given the comparative lack of incoming transfer activity of late.
In terms of team news from the east Londoners, Jack Wilshere was shoehorned in for the stricken Cullen. Out-of-favour Wilshere is currently on the window ledge of first team operations but, naturally, this was still an opportunity for the midfielder to demonstrate what he remains capable of.
West Ham did start brightly enough, though, and Felipe Anderson was busy making his presence felt with a couple of rangy efforts: the first shot from just outside the penalty going inches wide, with the second a couple of yards over the bar. Still, these were sufficient warning signs for Hull.
In the 11th minute, Harrison Ashby – in for Diop and making only his second appearance - then made his intentions known, only for the young Scotland youth cap to see his well-struck drive palmed away well by Tigers keeper George Long.
However, the hosts only had to wait a further seven minutes before they opened the scoring in rudimentary fashion. Somehow, Snodgrass found himself unmarked around ten yards out - and he had plenty of time to control a clipped cross from the right by Yarmolenko before drilling the ball back across Long and low into the corner of the net. A casually fine strike from the Scot.
Hull, for their part, spent virtually the entire first half an hour or so camped inside their own half. Unlike fellow League One outfit Charlton Athletic who lost at the London Stadium in the previous round, the Tigers lacked composure, drive and simply could not hold on to any possession. Their forward, Josh Magennis, was a solitary, isolated figure, labouring somewhat thanklessly at times.
That West Ham added a second a minute before half time was no surprise. Again, it was simplicity itself. Haller had the easiest of opportunities to tuck the ball home after Yarmolenko won the ball 25 yards out, before supplying the Frenchman - scorer of a brace against Charlton - last week.
It was then time for Yarmolenko to have his moment from the spot following a foul in the box. And the influential Ukrainian made no mistake, sending Long the wrong way from 12 yards.
Vast tracts of the second half were peppered with various injury stoppages – until, surprisingly, City pulled a goal back. In the 69th minute, Tigers substitute Wilks slipped past Longelo-Mbule, a replacement for Ashby moments earlier, before driving the ball low from an angle underneath Darren Randolph. It was pretty much the first real threat the Hammers’ goalkeeper had faced all evening.
Hull certainly gained confidence from their goal and began to take calculated risks inside the West Ham half, although from McCann’s point of view he must wonder why it took them so long. Magennis was eventually presented with a superb opportunity, albeit too late, but the Northern Ireland international fired straight at Randolph. He was to soon rue the miss. Incredibly, West Ham completed the task in hand with a brace in stoppage time when Haller finished from close range and Yarmolenko drove into the roof of the net to put an even healthier complexion on things.
West Ham United: Randolph, Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Wilshere, Haller, Johnson, Alese, Ashby (Longelo-Mbule 68)