Positive COVID tests overshadow Hammers cup progress

West Ham United 5-1 Hull City 

West Ham United eased into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, although much of the focus was on manager David Moyes, along with Issa Diop and Josh Cullen, who returned positive COVID-19 tests while the Hammers prepared for their tie with Hull City at the London Stadium.

The club posted a statement midway through the first-half confirming that ‘All three, who are asymptomatic, will now follow Public Health England and Premier League guidelines and protocols.’

Last-minute changes saw the home side forced into replacing Diop and Cullen with Harrison Ashby and Jack Wilshere – Assistant Manager Alan Irvine taking the Scotsman’s place in the dugout. Meanwhile, the East Londoners handed a senior debut to 19-year-old defender, Ajibola Alese. 

But it was the home side who started on the front foot, with Fabian Balbuena and Felipe Anderson trying their luck during the opening moments. Soon after, the busy Ashby tested Tigers stopper, George Long, with a fierce strike after cutting in from the right.

But the opening goal came shortly before the twenty-minute mark – Former Hull man, Robert Snodgrass met Andriy Yarmolenko’s cross with a crisp left-footed volley – Long left motionless as the ball fizzed low into the corner of the visitors’ net.

It was one-way traffic – Manuel Lanzini was a whisker away from adding a second after he was afforded the freedom of the Tigers box. But a minute before the break it was 2-0. Sebastien Haller netted from eight yards after Yarmolenko fashioned an opening.

Ten minutes after the break it was three. Sean McLoughlin fouled Felipe Anderson – Yarmolenko comfortably doing the honours from the resulting spot-kick.

Hull substitute, Mallik Wilks, reduced the arrears slotting home from an angle – Darren Randolph annoyed at his backline, having been breached after previously having so little to withstand.

Josh Magennis had Randolph scampering across his goal as the Humbersiders looked to make a fist of it. But with both Wilshere and Snodgrass again going close, any thoughts of a late recovery appeared minimal.

And so it proved. Magennis fired another effort into Randolph’s arms. But within seconds Haller had waltzed around Long before slotting the Hammers fourth of the evening into an empty net. 

The Premier League side wasn’t finished – Yarmolenko providing a stylish finish for his second after Felipe Anderson had picked him out from the left.

The result will undoubtedly pale into insignificance. West Ham’s statement added; ‘The Club’s measures and protocols around COVID-19 remain stringent. This included offering to test the Hull City team ahead of tonight’s fixture – an offer which they opted not to accept.’

West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday, September 27 when Wolverhampton Wanderers visit the London Stadium (7pm).

West Ham United: Darren Randolph, Ben Johnson, Fabian Balbuena (Capt), Harrison Ashby (Emmanuel Longelo 69’), Ajibola Alese, Jack Wilshere, Robert Snodgrass, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson, Sebastien Haller Subs not used: Nathan Trott (GK), David Martin (GK), Conor Coventry, Jarrod Bowen, Xande Silva

Booked: None

Goals: Robert Snodgrass 18’, Sebastien Haller 45’, 90+1’, Andriy Yarmoleno 55’ (penalty), 90+3’

Hull City: George Long, Lewis Coyle, Richie Smallwood (Capt) (George Honeyman 18’), Dan Batty, James Scott (Mallik Wilks 60’), Alfie Jones, Sean McLoughlin, Brandon Fleming, Thomas Mayer (Keane Lewis-Potter 60’), Josh Magennis, Callum Jones Subs not used: Matt Ingram (GK), Reece Burke, Josh Emmanuel, Martin Samuelsen

Booked: Sean McLoughlin (foul), Brandon Fleming (foul), George Honeyman (foul)

Goals: Mallik Wilks 71’

Referee: Simon Hooper

Assistants: Daniel Robatham and Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: Kevin Friend

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]