Saturday, January 5

Carroll keeps Wembley dream alive

West Ham 2 Birmingham City 0 (FA Cup)

Missed this one as it was my sister's 50th birthday lunch (very poor planning by my parents to have a child in the football season), but luckily the Hammers' Wembley dream is still alive. It was certainly an eventful afternoon for Andy Carroll, who headed a City effort off the line, rounded the keeper only to poke it wide, dug out a shot that hit the bar and in added time scored with a trademark header — his first goal for a year.

West Ham had started perfectly after two minutes with Arnautovic nodding home after Ogbonna's header was saved by Camp. Arnie was then subbed by Pellegrini who wanted to protect his knee twinge, with Marko throwing a minor strop.

Birmingham had several chances to equalise, as Masuaku and Antonio made desperate clearances and late on Harding was foiled by a good save from Fabianski. Bringing on Snodgrass and Anderson helped tip the game, with Antonio providing the late cross for Big Andy's goal.

All in all, a useful exercise for West Ham, with Nasri getting 58 minutes of game time and Silva getting an outing too. The Cup Final breakfast is still on round at Nigel's gaff in Kew.

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