Unstoppable Ashikodi

NOT too many things can stop Moses Ashikodi. Certainly the Blackburn Rovers defence tried and failed in last night's FA Youth Cup Fourth Round, as Mo's powerhouse performance helped Hammers to a 4-1 win.

But when he emerged surprisingly early from a raucus Upton Park dressing room, the 17-year-old hitman revealed that the post-match celebrations had got the better of him.

"It's too loud in there," he shouted over the noise, "I had to get out. Everyone is delighted with the performance, coming back from 1-0 down at half-time, but it's the older boys who are making most of the noise in there.

"Anton Ferdinand and some of the other boys who were too old to play came down to watch and there celebrating harder than most of the players.

"It's a really great feeling for the team, but we put so much effort in that the lads are feeling the effects now. There's a few with cramp and we just need to get home and get some rest.

"We've got a huge game against Crystal Palace this Saturday in the League and we need to get back to training on Friday and be ready for that."

The 17-year-old striker's relaxed demeanour after the game was completely at odds with the inspired performance that terrorised Blackburn's defence. But the glint returned to Mo's eyes when he recalled his equalising goal early in the second-half.

"It was a typical strikers goal," he smiled, remembering how he crashed through a ruck of players with the momentum of a runaway train to force the ball over the line.

"I just saw the ball there and chased it. I didn't really care who got in the way. We were losing at the time and in that situation anything goes. I was determined that we were going to score from that position and once we add we never looked like losing.

"It's Leyton Orient in the next round and after tonight's performance I think they'll be scared to come up against us."

Tony Stokes, switched from his usual forward role into midfield last night, got the goal that put West Ham ahead. And he could not contain his delight after the fantastic comeback victory.

"The dressing room is really jumping," said Tony. "To turn the game around like that in the second-half was fantastic and everyone is buzzing.

"Midfield isn't my normal position, but I was more than happy to play in there and spray some passes around.

"It was nice to get on the scoresheet as well. I scored in the last round and I scored again against Blackburn, so hopefully I can keep the run going when we meet Leyton Orient."