West Ham United 4-0 Doncaster Rovers – Reaction
It was so un-West Ham like. A potentially tricky cup tie, the critics sharpening their knives, embarrassing headlines drew up ready.
But this West Ham simply won’t play ball. They are resolute, workmanlike, and ruthless. Visitors, Doncaster Rovers – going well in Sky Bet League One – never really stood a chance.
Pablo Fornals landed the first big punch within two minutes and they never looked back.
Andriy Yarmolenko and then an unfortunate own-goal from Andy Butler put the tie out of reach, before debutant, Oladapo Afolayan, capped he day off with a fourth.
Assistant manager, Alan Irvine, did the post-match talking: “Fantastic to get through, fantastic to get a clean sheet, and to score four goals,” the Scotsman enthused.
“Great to be able to give three young lads the chance to make their debuts and lovely to see one of them scoring in a game we knew would be a tricky game because Doncaster have played extremely well recently, but everything went very very well for us.
Of course, having knocked out Stockport and Doncaster, things will be somewhat more difficult in round-five at with Manchester United or Liverpool. But what, realistically, can the Hammers accomplish in this seasons competition?
“We have used the squad today but we haven’t used a whole load of kids from the start of the game, we have used a squad of Premier League players who have a lot of experience so we certainly weren’t looking at this as the sort of game where we could put out a weakened team,” Irvine added.
“We know what is coming over the next few weeks and we know the importance of being able to spread the demands amongst the whole squad, and fortunately, the players who came in today did extremely well.
“They strengthened their claims for starting places but they have also got to try and dislodge some people who have been playing really well for a number of games, it is a really healthy place for us to be in.
“I think we have a good squad of players as long as we can keep them all fit and healthy, but if we can keep them like that then why can’t we have a go at going as far as we can in this competition.”