Filed: Tuesday, 30th November 2010
By: Staff Writer
West Ham are through to the semi finals of the Carling Cup after destroying Manchester United amidst a blizzard at the Boleyn Ground tonight.
Avram Grant's Hammers produced one of those rare performances that is surely destined for future compilations of greatest games with a performance as good as anything seen for many a season.
It was a night for the unsung hero as Jonathan Spector, Luis Boa Morte and Carlton Cole excelled with performances to match any they had previously offered in a claret and blue shirt.
Spector, with two goals to his name (and a third ruled out for offside) ensured the Hammers didn't miss the rested Scott Parker whilst Boa Morte spent the evening harrying and snapping at heels - often to the distaste of Alex Feguson, who once famously accused the Irons of exhibiting 'obscene effort'.
Meanwhile Carlton Cole - who grabbed both of United's second half strikes - shook off his 'one goal Cole' tag with two exquisite finishes.
The oft-criticised Spector -who also had an effort harshly ruled out for offside on the quarter-hour mark - put West Ham ahead on 22 minutes when he both started and completed a move.
Having stole the ball in midfield the American fed the ball wide before continuing his run into the box. Victor Obinna, also enjoying a good night, lifted the ball into the box where Spector nodded home into the bottom right corner.
Boosted by the goal, West Ham continued to push on and got their reward on 37 minutes when Spector took advantage of a slip by Victor Obinna inside the box to round Kuszczak and fire home into the same corner as before.
At the other end the only major scare in the opening half for Rob Green came after just seven minutes when Gabriel Obertan forced a fingertip save from the England 'keeper that rebounded off the post before being cleared to safety by James Tomkins, making his second successive start after a lengthy lay-off.
Green, faultless in recent weeks almost qualified for this Christmas's bloopers video six minutes into the second half when an attempted clearance hit substitute Macheda on the backside before falling kindly to Javier Hernandez; fortunately for the embarrassed 'keeper, he reacted quickly to tackle the striker and divert the ball to safety.
But that scare was soon put to bed when Cole sent the Hammers 3-0 up on 56 minutes. Obinna, so full of energy, desire and drive on the left flank teased and tormented his marker before delivering a centre that Cole pounced upon to divert expertly into the far corner.
Even at 3-0 there was still a sense of unease amongst the home crowd, but that was finally dispelled when Cole notched his second of the evening on 66 minutes.
Obinna once again was the source, showboating before delivering a low cross. Cole, as he so often does, twisted his way into a shooting position before firing across Kuszczak to make it 4-0 - and thus giving the Hammers their biggest home win against the red side of Manchester since the mid-1950s.
The margin could have been even greater had Mark Clattenburg given a blatant penalty when sub Zavon Hines, making a welcome return after a lengthy lay-off was clearly bundled over in the box ten minutes from time. Not for the first time this season, Clattenburg infuriated Hammers fans with a diabolical decision.
Also through to the semi finals tonight are Arsenal, who beat Wigan 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. Tomorrow Birmingham host Aston Villa in the Midlands derby whilst West Bromwich Albion travel to Ipswich in the remaining quarter final ties; the draw for the last four will be made this weekend.
West Ham United 4 (Four) Manchester United 0: match facts
West Ham Utd: Green, Ben-Haim, Upson, Spector, Faubert, Tomkins (Reid 74), Kovac, Boa Morte, Barrera (Hines 76), Cole (Stanislas 89), Obinna.
Subs not used: Boffin, Parker, Piquionne, McCarthy.
Goals: Spector (22, 37), Cole (56, 66).
Booked: Reid (90).
Manchester Utd: Kuszczak, O'Shea, Evans (Brown 72), Fabio Da Silva (Rafael Da Silva 65), Smalling, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Obertan, Hernandez, Bebe (Macheda 46).
Subs not used: Amos, Park, Carrick, Eikrem.
Attendance: 33,551 .
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (5).
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08:13PM 1st Dec 2010
''I couldnt believe what I was watching. Why can't we play like this all the time? I was really pleased with how the players looked so up for it and got stuck in, which is maybe something to do with Wally Downes installing a bit of passion into them.
I have never been a great admirer of Spector or Boa Morte though both of them were very good, but for me they have to play like this a lot more consistently and as somoene else mentioned, it's good to be proved wrong sometimes.
I know it was a weak Man Utd side but didnt we have a few first teamers missing? Parker, Noble, Piquionne, Behrami, Hitzlsperger, Gabbidon, etc?
Hoping to be proved wrong again but I think we will be brought back to Earth again on Sunday by Sunderland, but if we want predictability we would never support West Ham in the first place.''
05:38PM 1st Dec 2010
''I love it when players who haven't been doing well suddenly come good. I've been criticising Obinna for the accuracy of his shooting and passing, but he scored his first league goal against Wigan and was many people's man of the match against Man U, having played a part in all four goals.
We all know the amount of stick that Cole, Boa and Specs have taken and all three have received glowing praise for their performance against Man U.
Sometimes it's great to be proved wrong.''
by g portugal
11:38AM 1st Dec 2010
''This should give the lads genuine confidence from here on out, which is what we need to move up the table.''
by WHUFC Netherlands
10:15AM 1st Dec 2010
''This is how West Ham should be playing, finally we've seen a good performance of the team and against one of the biggest names in the Premier league as well. Couldn't have wished for anything more than 1-0, my friend called me up all excited saying West Ham was leading two to nil, popped on the tele and saw something I never expected, WHU in top form.
Maybe it really was the previous coach that disturbed the game rhythm, I don't know. One win, let's hope for a lot more :)''
by Hammer Head
09:31AM 1st Dec 2010
''It's got to go down as 'the St Andrew's day massacre'...''
10:42PM 30th Nov 2010
''A good win against an average Man Utd team who had no Rooney, no Berbatov, no Ferdinand.''
10:10PM 30th Nov 2010
''The BBC says the draw for the semis is after tomorrow's games.''
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