Burke blast gives West Ham fans something to cheer about at last
PUBLISHED: 13:30 17 January 2018
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It wasn’t pretty, but West Ham are through to the FA Cup fourth round
West Ham boss David Moyes summed things up quite succinctly after Tuesday night’s attritional FA Cup win over gallant League One outfit Shrewsbury Town.
“I just said in the dressing room, ‘don’t concede any goals, win the games and it doesn’t matter how you do it at times’.”
He was right to a point. The biggest thing was getting through the tie, then it was avoiding injuries to key players and lastly to give some youngsters a chance.
All three of those boxes were ticked, but in doing so, we had to sit through a dull, uninspiring game that Shrewsbury, just as in the first game, could easily have won.
“We always looked the more likely side, albeit we didn’t do enough going forward,” said Moyes.
Again, he was only partly correct. The Shrews had their chances. They headed over from a corner and former Hornchurch man Stefan Payne had the biggest chance when he was put through, only to be denied by a fine save from Joe Hart.
It was the introduction of Marko Arnautovic and Mark Noble that was to prove the difference in the end. Both of them, along with Manuel Lanzini, added sharpness and a little more urgency and the visitors began to tire from their exertions.
Arnautovic went close twice in a minute and Lanzini and Noble both had efforts cleared off the line as they got closer.
But West Ham still couldn’t win it in normal time and an army of parents looked at their watches at the alarming prospect of an extra half hour for their £1-paying kids to stay up on a school night.
In the end the Hammers nicked it without having to go to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Noble’s corner was juggled unconvincingly by Toni Martinez and it fell for Reece Burke to thump in a shot off the underside of the bar.
“Reece struck it really well and we were always going to need something like that,” said Moyes. “We had a few half chances which we didn’t take, so it was always going to need something.”
So what did we learn? That a lot of the players are not ready to step up to the Premier League maybe.
Martinez does not look good enough; Reece Oxford has gone backwards since we last saw him and Sam Byram needs more games to get fit and Arthur Masuaku needs to improve his productivity.
But West Ham are through and as Moyes pointed out, that is all that mattered on a cold night in Stratford.
West Ham: Hart 7, Byram 6 (Zabaleta, 90) Burke 7, Ogbonna 8*, Masuaku 5, Obiang 6, Oxford 5 (Noble, 69, 7), Cullen 7, Lanzini 7, Ayew 5 (Arnautovic, 69), Martinez 6. Unused subs: Adrian, Haksabanovic, Samuelsen, Makasi.