First-half Blitz Hammers Orient

FIRST-HALF strikes from Moses Ashikodi, Hogan Ephraim and Tony Stokes secured West Ham United's passage to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup, as they won 3-2 over Leyton Orient at Upton Park.

Tony Carr made two changes from the side that destroyed Blackburn 4-1 in the last round, Matt Reed replacing Darren Behcet in goal and David Shaw coming in to replace first-team graduate Mark Noble.

Hammers got off to the worst possible start, going behind after just 39 seconds. A 30 yard free-kick from Jason Demetriou took a wicked deflection off the West Ham wall and wrong footed Reed as it crept in at the far post.

In front of 3,212 fans at Upton Park Hammers responded well and thought they had equalised two minutes later when Ollie Allen side-footed home Jemel Henry's cross from close range, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

As the game settled after its frenetic start, Tony Carr's team began to find their feet. Kyel Reid's free-kick forced a comfortable save out of Clark Johnson, but there was nothing the Orient 'keeper could do when Moses Ashikodi equalised with just ten minutes gone.

Liam White fed Ashikodi with an incisive through-ball, and the striker danced his way around the visitors' defence before finishing coolly in the right hand corner.
Derek Duncan fired wide for the O's soon after, before David Shaw's dipping effort flew high and wide of Johnson's goal.

A marvellous start to the game was capped off on 17 minutes when West Ham took the lead. Tony Stokes' raking cross-field ball was brought down by Hogan Ephraim, who flicked the ball over the first Orient defender, jinked around a second before volleying low and hard past Johnson.

After taking the lead, Hammers began to assert their authority on the game. Chances were limited as the half wore on, but Ollie Allen might have been more fortunate when he caught Reid's shot on the volley only to see it cannon against Demetriou.

Then, with half-time fast approaching, West Ham added a third. Kyel Reid's corner from the right was met by Tony Stokes, and when his header rebounded off the bar it was Stokes that reacted quickest to stab the ball home and make it 3-1.

Ashikodi fired wide from 20 yards out soon after, before the lively Stokes again went close, bending in a long range effort that would have beaten Johnson had it not skipped just wide of the post.

Just before the half-time whistle David Shaw sent a drive whistling just over the crossbar, but at the interval Tony Carr's team could be mighty pleased with their work.

HT: 3-1

The second-half began at a relatively sedate pace compared with the first, but did see Orient full-back Demetriou lining up a free-kick in similar circumstances to the first-half. This time though his dipping shot crept just over the bar.

With 55 minutes gone Ishmael Welsh replaced Kyel Reid, just before referee Sainsbury awarded the visitors a penalty that put Orient right back into the game.
Jemel Henry looked to make minimal contact with striker Efe Echanomi but he the spot-kick was awarded and Demetriou stepped up to beat Reed to his left and make it 3-2.

Suddenly, it was Leyton Orient that were pressing, and Tom Ziepe gave the home side a scare when he hooked in a shot that dipped narrowly over Reed's crossbar.

Ashikodi's 25 yard free-kick that Johnson spilled for a corner brought light relief for the Hammers, while Allen's shot on the run swung off target and his near post strike brought an awkward moment for the Orient goalkeeper.

The Cup-tie ebbed and flowed, with both sides showing tremendous determination. But it was the Hammers that began to regain control of the game, as they looked to protect their advantage.

With 82 minutes gone Ashikodi created a great chance, flicking the ball over the top for Hogan Ephraim to chase. The Hammers forward showed good pace to get on the end of the pass, but could only fire into the side netting.

It was sad to see midfielder David Shaw leaving the field on a stretcher with just five minutes remaining, having gone down under a heavy challenge.

But still the Hammers held on to win 3-2 over their local rivals and earn a place in the quarter-finals, where they will take on Southampton.

WHU: Reed; Henry, Cohen, White, Tomkins, Shaw (Andrews 83), Allen, Stokes, Ashikodi, Ephraim, Reid (Welsh 55). Subs unused: Behcet (GK), Cowley, Davidson, Hines.
Scorers: Ashikodi 10, Ephraim 17, Stokes 42.
Attendance: 3,212