|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Scott Wagstaff double sends West Ham packing as Wimbledon relive glory years
Ed Aarons at Kingsmeadow
Date Published Sat 26 Jan 2019 21.54 GMT
Even for a former member of the Crazy Gang, it must have been hard to watch. With his side leading 3-0 five minutes into the second half thanks to two strikes from Scott Wagstaff and another from Kwesi Appiah, Wally Downes saw his side go into the final stages leading by a single goal after West Ham’s second-half fightback. But as the club that conjured up the most unlikely of FA Cup stories when they saw off Liverpool at Wembley in the 1988 final, Wimbledon are used to holding their nerve.
A brilliant header from the substitute Toby Sibbick in the 88th minute sealed a victory for Downes’s side that will go down in history in these parts.
This was in effect a rematch of a fifth-round tie in 1985 when Wimbledon – then in the second tier and in the midst of their rapid rise to the pinnacle of English football – were hammered 5-1 in the replay after drawing at Plough Lane. Downes was part of the team that day and returned there in December, leading the club’s new incarnation to the fourth round for the first time by beating Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town.
Yet with Vinnie Jones and a host of the 1988 winners in town, there was no escaping the echoes of the past as they tore into their opponents from the start.
Manuel Pellegrini had made five changes to the side that lost at Bournemouth, pairing Andy Carroll and Javier Hernández up front in the continued absence of Marko Arnautovic. West Ham have not got past the sixth round in this competition since they lost to Liverpool in the 2006 final and lacked intensity throughout the first half in front of a raucous crowd in suburban south-west London.
After spurning a couple of early chances, Wimbledon richly deserved their breakthrough when it came, 11 minutes before half-time. Mark Noble’s dreadful clearance was quickly returned after a lovely pass from Anthony Wordsworth and Appiah’s shot from the edge of the area took a cruel deflection off Issa Diop on its way into the net.
There was even better to come. Four minutes before the break, Pedro Obiang dallied in possession and lost the ball to a determined double-effort from Wagstaff and Appiah, the former racing clear to coolly slot home and send the home supporters into raptures.
With the game already slipping away, Pellegrini used the interval to make a triple substitution, withdrawing Carroll, the unfortunate Obiang and Grady Diangana for Ryan Fredericks, Felipe Anderson and Lucas Pérez. But within a minute it seemed as though any hopes of a change in fortune had gone out of the window. None of the three substitutes had even touched the ball when the excellent Dylan Connolly wriggled away on the left and found Wagstaff for the former Charlton midfielder to volley home his second.
Aaron Ramsdale, untested for almost an hour, was then forced into a smart reaction save by Michail Antonio. Unfortunately for the Wimbledon goalkeeper, Pérez was on hand to slam home the rebound and suddenly West Ham had a glimmer of hope. The Spaniard was guilty of wasting a chance to cut the deficit further when he missed the target from close range soon after.
A mistake from the Wimbledon captain Will Nightingale, who had barely put a foot wrong until that point, then offered West Ham real hope when he brought down Anderson just outside the box and the Brazilian curled home the free-kick with aplomb. With 19 minutes still to play, Wimbledon’s players suddenly looked jaded. Appiah was withdrawn for Jake Jervis and took an age to leave the pitch as Wimbledon attempted to run down time. Anthony Taylor rightly showed Arthur Masuaku a yellow card for diving as he attempted to earn the replay for his side.
But rather than wait for what seemed an inevitable equaliser Wimbledon, not or the first time, took matters into their own hands.
“I was pleased to get the fourth, and for the team and fans – it gave them the chance to enjoy the last few minutes,” said Downes. “At 3-2 with five minutes to go they could have got a corner and it was nail-biting. But getting the fourth helped them enjoy it.”
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS
Wimbledon (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale 8; Watson 7.5, McDonald 8, Thomas 8, Oshilaja 8; Nightingale 7.5, Wordsworth 8; Connolly 9 (Sibbick 85), Pinnock 8.5 (Soares 65, 6), Wagstaff 8; Appiah 8 (Jervis 76)
Subs not used: McDonnell, Garratt, Trotter, Pigott
Goals: Appiah (34), Wagstaff (41)
Manager: Wally Downes 8
West Ham (4-4-2): Adrian 4; Antonio 4, Diop 4.5, Ogbonna 4.5, Masuaku 4.5; Diangana 5 (Anderson 45, 6), Noble 5, Obiang 4 (Fredericks 45, 6), Snodgrass 5; Carroll 3.5 (Perez 45, 6), Hernandez 4
Subs not used: Fabianski, Holland, Rice, Coventry
Scorers: Perez (57), Anderson (71)
Booked: Fredericks, Masuaku
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini 5.5
Referee: Anthony Taylor 6