West Ham United v Cheltenham Town: Chat and updates
West Ham United 2 Cheltenham Town 1
TWO quick goals either side of half-time put paid to Cheltenham Town's hopes of a Capital One Cup upset at West Ham United this evening.
Sam Allardyce was able to make 11 changes to the team that drew 0-0 at Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday and still have too much quality for the battling Robins.
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They kept the Premier League side at bay for 42 minutes, but a top-class free-kick from Ricardo Vaz Te broke the deadlock and young Ravel Morrison made it 2-0 less than a minute into the second half.
Suddenly the game looked beyond Mark Yates’ side after they had competed so well for most of the first period.
Matt Richards’ penalty restored hope as Cheltenham by no means disgraced themselves on the big stage, but it is the Hammers who progress to the third round.
A hamstring injury to summer signing Troy Brown meant a first appearance in senior football for 18-year-old Crystal Palace loan defender Ryan Inniss.
He partnered Steve Elliott, a man nearly 17 years his senior, at centre-half and the only other change saw winger Jermaine McGlashan return in place of Steven Gillespie as 4-4-2 became 4-5-1.
The first half was disrupted by a series of stoppages for injuries, with West Ham’s French midfielder Alou Diarra forced to leave the field on a stretcher in the 35th minute.
Cheltenham left-back Craig Braham-Barrett clashed heads with former Chelsea and Liverpool star Joe Cole early on and both players required treatment.
The first shot on target was a powerful free-kick from Matt Taylor which was straight at Scott Brown, but he still did well to hold on it.
The game was held up again when Inniss sustained a cut to his right eye and was forced to leave the field to have the gash cleaned up.
Cheltenham were temporarily down to 10 men, but Inniss returned with a clean shirt to continue what was a highly accomplished debut.
Richards sent a free-kick over the bar after 15 minutes and the midfielder miscued well wide after being set up by lone front man Terry Gornell.
Diarra was replaced by Mohamed Diame before Cheltenham’s best effort of the first half.
It was a shot from skipper Russ Penn which cleared the bar in the 39th minute, but it worried Spanish goalkeeper Adrian and came at the end of some sustained possession for the League Two side.
Cole instigated the slickest attacking move of the first half, but Morrison was cautioned for diving in the penalty area.
West Ham were celebrating in the 42nd minute however when Vaz Te smashed an unstoppable free-kick past Brown from 25 yards. It had been awarded for a trip by Penn on Morrison.
Brown had to stretch to turn over a lobbed effort from defender James Tomkins four minutes into the six added at the end of the first half as it remained 1-0 at the break.
But ex-Manchester United starlet Morrison capped an impessive full debut with the second goal less than a minute into the second half.
Half-time substitute Stewart Downing was involved, feeding the 20-year-old, who beat Brown with a crisp shot which flew into the bottom left corner.
Diame powered through the middle and tried his luck from outside the box, but it was inches over the bar as Cheltenham faced an onslaught.
Brown reacted well to beat away a header from Vaz Te as West Ham continued to open Cheltenham up and Downing headed Taylor’s cross narrowly wide.
Up against it, Cheltenham were handed a lifeline in the 57th minute when McGlashan was flattened by the Adrian and Richards scored his third goal of the campaign from the spot
Byron Harrison replaced East End boy Sam Deering in the 63rd minute as Cheltenham adopted a more attacking formation in search of an equaliser.
Penn drove one wide from outside the box but Brown was forced to make a superb reaction save to deny Jack Collison and George McCartney’s header was deflected against the bar by Penn in the 76th minute.
Harrison had a half chance at the death, but Brown had to save brilliantly again from Matt Taylor before Inniss hacked a follow-up effort off the line.
Teenager Zack Kotwica almost levelled with the last kick, but it was not Cheltenham's night.
They must now return to reality on Saturday with a trip to Bury, but they can certainly take heart from their sterling efforts at the Boleyn Ground.
WEST HAM UNITED: Adrian, L Chambers, J Tomkins, G McCartney,R Rat, A Diarra (M Diame 35), J Cole (S Downing 46), J Collison, M Taylor, R Morrison, R Vaz Te. Subs not used: S Henderson, K Nolan, E Lee, P Ruddock Mpanzu, S Lletget.
CHELTENHAM TOWN: S Brown; K Lowe, R Inniss, S Elliott, C Braham-Barrett; J McGlashan, R Penn (A Vincent 83), J Taylor, M Richards, S Deering (B Harrison 63); T Gornell (Z Kotwica 76). Subs not used: C Roberts, B Jones, S Jombati, S Gillespie.
REFEREE: G Scott.
STAR MAN: Russ Penn.
Join Jon Palmer at the Boleyn Ground from 6pm for chat, debate, team news, live updates and video reaction from the Capital One Cup second round clash: