West Ham United 2-1 Birmingham FT





Final score - West Ham United 2-1 Birmingham City

93 mins - Cole does well to make a nuisance of himself and Birmingham have a throw deep inside their own half. Tomkins makes a strong challenge on Gardner as he comes forward. The ball is worked to Carr who crosses and although the ball drops to a blue shirt, Green holds on and that's it. The final whistle is blown. James Tomkins was voted Man of the Match.

92 mins - Carr sends the ball long and Faubert is fouled. We've got just over a minute to play.

91 mins - We're going to have at least three more minutes. Hines brings down a Birmingham player wide on the left and the Blues have a free-kick. It is headed clear.

90 mins - Crikey! That was close. Carr crosses and Zigic flashes a header a foot wide of the post with Green beaten. Grant makes his final change, bringing on Kovac for Noble.

89 mins - Cole gets on to Noble's pass and runs into the corner. He holds the ball up for a while before fouling Johnson.

88 mins - Faubert tracks back well and runs Beausejour off the ball. Good defending that. Gardner picks up possession and shoots from 30 yards, but Parker blocks.

87 mins - Birmingham bring on the giant Serbia striker Nikola Zigic for Larsson.

86 mins - Carr gets in behind Upson after playing a one-two with Larsson, but he runs the ball out for a goal kick.

84 mins - Larsson whips over another fantastic cross and Reid does well to head clear.

83 mins - The home fans are singing Carlton Cole's name. Alex McLeish makes a second change, replacing Hleb with Chile winger Jean Beausejour.

82 mins - Eight minutes of the 90 to go and West Ham have a throw inside the Birmingham half. Upson tries to spread play wide right for Faubert but he over-hits it and the ball flies out.

80 mins - Suffice to say, the stadium is jumping again! Foster cannot believe he has let that shot slip past him.

78 mins - GOAL! Cole! Parker sends Spector away with a superb ball. The No18 holds off Murphy and pulls the ball back into the path of Cole, whose first-time shot somehow squirms under Foster and rolls over the line. Well, well, well...

77 mins - Hines swaps passes with Parker before making his way to the byline and winning a corner. Parker crosses low and the ball squirms through to Reid, whose shot bounces into the hands of Foster.

75 mins - Murphy crosses and Tomkins goes in bravely ahead of Jerome to concede a corner. Faubert only half-clears and Larsson crosses dangerously. Murphy gets there first and flashes a header wide.

73 mins - Cole is on for Piquionne, while Hines is on for Sears.

72 mins - We're going to see Hines and Cole shortly. On the pitch, Birmingham want a penalty as Ferguson bursts into the box and goes down under a challenge from Upson. Nothing given by the referee.

70 mins - Birmingham have put in some fine crosses tonight and here is another chance as Faubert pushes Murphy. The left-back takes the kick himself, but it's too high and Green collects.

68 mins - Carr races in behind Sears and looks to have lost the youngster, but he does well and pokes the ball out for a throw.

67 mins - Birmingham attack and it's three-on-three. Hleb tries to cut inside and Noble makes a superb sliding challenge.

64 mins - Ridgewell is offside as he gets in behind Faubert and heads Larsson's free-kick goalwards. Green wasn't to be aware of the flag and makes a superb save.

63 mins - Birmingham are right on the front foot here. Gardner shoots and Faubert blocks. West Ham break and Piquionne wins a free-kick. It is taken quickly but Parker is run out of possession inside the Blues box.

62 mins - I suppose a 1-1 draw is an acceptable result from here? What is for sure is that the ten men in claret and blue are going to have to work their white socks off over the next half-an-hour.

60 mins - West Ham have gone 4-4-1 with Piquionne up front on his own. Spector has gone on the right of midfield and Sears over to the left wing.

58 mins - Another Birmingham player is down injured. It's Larsson clutching his groin. And Obinna has been sent-off! A replay shows he flicked his leg out and caught Larsson as Upson threw the ball in. Uphill task now.

56 mins - GOAL! That was coming. Former West Ham schoolboy Ridgewell gets in front of Reid and powers a header past Green from six yards.

55 mins - Noble springs Faubert down the right and his cross is deflected into the path of Sears. He controls but his shot is blocked. Birmingham break through Ferguson and Carr wins a corner. Larsson delivers and Jerome's header is cleared off the line by Sears before being scrambled behind.

54 mins - This is one-way traffic at the moment. Piquionne tracks back and fouls Ridgewell. Another chance for Larsson to cross into the box. The Swede crosses and Green catches.

52 mins - Larsson crosses to the near post and Jerome stabs well wide of the target. The home fans are being outsung by the away supporters at present. That shows how Birmingham are on top at present.

51 mins - Birmingham are bossing this since half-time. Carr wins a corner off Upson. Parker is there to clear. Birmingham pick up the loose ball and Upson is forced to slide in and concede another corner.

51 mins - After what seems like ages, Craig Gardner runs up and smashes his shot past the wall and a couple of yards wide of the left-hand post. That was an anti-climax!

50 mins - Reid is penalised for bringing down Gardner about 25 yards out right in the middle of the pitch. Birmingham fans are singing Seb Larsson's name. Robert Green, you have been warned.

49 mins - Spector is caught by Ferguson as he rises for a header. Dowd gives nothing but the assistant referee flags and it's a free-kick inside the Birmingham half. Parker takes it and Reid heads goalwards, but Foster is there to catch.

47 mins - Larsson gets to the byline and crosses high over Green's head. Faubert heads clear and when Murphy pokes the ball forward, the full-back ushers it out for a goal kick. Birmingham come again moments later and Spector tracks back superbly.

46 mins - West Ham kick-off the second half. Another couple of goals would not go amiss.

Birmingham are forced to make that half-time change, replacing Scott Dann with David Murphy. Murphy will play at left-back, with Ridgewell moving into the middle alongside Roger Johnson.

Half-time score - West Ham United 1-0 Birmingham City

46 mins - Into added time and Tomkins wants a free-kick for a shove by Jerome. Instead, he can only poke the ball behind for a corner, which is too deep. When the ball is retrieved and crossed low, Parker cuts it out and Faubert clears. Moments later, the half-time whistle goes. Just before the whistle, though, a Birmingham player goes down in a heap near the halfway line. I'm not 100 per cent sure what happened, but he needs some attention. It's Scott Dann and he's pulled a hamstring. He'll almost definitely need to be replaced after the interval as he is being stretchered off.

43 mins - Piquionne is penalised for handball and Larsson again delivers into the box. Dann rises highest, but his header flies well over the top.

41 mins - Parker makes one good challenge but the ball goes straight to Carr. Parker slides in again and just catches the Irishman. Free-kick wide on the right for Larsson. He finds Ridgewell at the far post and he heads back across goal, but Green is there to claim.

40 mins - Piquionne bursts through two challenges before finding Upson in an advanced position. The left-back passes inside to Obinna, who switches the ball on to his left foot, but slices his shot wide of the left-hand post from the angle.

38 mins - A quick throw is worked to Sears by Piquionne, but his shot is too high and wide of the right-hand post. Obinna made that possible by taking the throw-in quickly.

35 mins - West Ham are working really hard in midfield to press Birmingham, meaning the visitors are playing most of their football around the halfway line.

33 mins - West Ham can kill this leg off if they can take some of their chances. First, Faubert's low cross is held by Foster, then the right-back's delivery is controlled by Sears before the youngster volleys wide from the edge of the box.

30 mins - Sears breaks away and finds Spector inside the box. The American's first cross is blocked but it comes back to him and he lays the ball to Obinna. He cuts on to his right foot and tests Foster with a rasping shot. The goalkeeper is keeping Birmingham in the game here as he claws the ball aside for another corner. Tomkins wins it in the air, but the ball loops into the hands of the goalkeeper.

27 mins - Sears does well to intercept inside the centre circle before lofting a ball over the top for Piquionne. The No30's touch is a little heavy and he goes to ground as Dann attempts to challenge. No penalty.

25 mins - Birmingham enjoy some possession and knock the ball around confidently in midfield before it is worked to Ridgewell wide on the left. He crosses high towards Jerome, but Green judges the flight of the ball well and claims near his penalty spot.

22 mins - Some superb interplay on the near side between Parker and Noble ends when the No16 is flagged offside. Shame, because he had found Sears in acres of space on the edge of the penalty area.

21 mins - Foster is called into action again. Spector collects the ball 30 yards out and lets fly from 25, forcing Foster to claw the ball aside for a corner. Parker crosses and Tomkins heads towards the top corner, only for Foster to turn the ball over the top for another flag-kick. Parker collects the corner and crosses low. The ball is headed out for a throw.

20 mins - West Ham have a corner as Ridgewell is forced to head behind a deep cross. Parker crosses and Johnson heads powerfully clear at the near post.

19 mins - Jerome makes a clever run in behind Tomkins before laying the ball back to Carr, who crosses to the edge of the six-yard box. Green shows good hands to claim the ball low down to his right.

18 mins - Parker thunders into a challenge on Gardner wide on the West Ham right. He concedes a throw, but the home fans love that sort of commitment.

14 mins - Birmingham come straight from the kick-off and Upson is forced to knock behind for a corner. The ball comes over and Birmingham appeal half-heartedly for handball. Upson clears. Referee Phil Dowd gives nothing and play goes on.

13 mins - GOAL! Noble! What a goal by the homegrown Hammer. Noble skips past three defenders before crossing to the back post. Obinna heads down before Spector hooks the ball across the face of goal. Noble is there to lash the ball in from a difficult angle. Foster gets a hand to it, but can't keep it out.

9 mins - West Ham are settling here and certainly enjoying more of the possession. Faubert romps down the right and wins a throw, but Sears cannot control it and the chance is lost.

7 mins - Oooh! Close. Spector pokes the ball out to Upson who bounds into the penalty area and crosses. The ball is blocked up into the air and Upson reacts quickest, smashing a rising shot goalwards that Foster can only parry the ball behind. Unfortunately, the corner is cleared.

5 mins - Upson heads the ball out to Obinna and he beats Larsson before crossing. The ball hits a retreating Gardner and flies behind for a corner. Parker takes the set piece and Foster punches clear to Sears about 20 yards out. The No19 volleys first time but the ball flies wide of the target. 'Ooohs' all-round from the home fans.

3 mins - Foster belts a long ball down the centre of the field and Jerome is offside. Then game has yet to settle into any sort of pattern, to be honest. Green takes the free-kick and it bounces all the way through to the Birmingham goalkeeper.

2 mins - It looks very much like West Ham are utilising a 4-5-1 formation, with Piquionne up front on his own and Upson at left-back. Birmingham attack and Jerome holds off Reid before finding Larsson, whose low cross eludes everybody and goes out for a throw in front of the East Stand.

7.47pm - Birmingham kick-off attacking the Bobby Moore Stand end of the stadium...

7.45pm - It looks like we're going to have a slightly delayed kick-off. The mascots are in the centre circle awaiting the two captains, Matthew Upson and Stephen Carr. Avram Grant steps on to the side of the pitch for a quick word with Scott Parker. The mascots sprint to the sideline and kick-off is nearly upon us...

7.43pm - The two teams emerge from the tunnel to a crescendo of noise. Following the handshakes, the Hammers break away towards the Bobby Moore Stand end. Robert Green belts a ball into the net from 40 yards.

7.42pm - The national anthem of east London is blaring out over the PA system. The home fans are in superb voice, as you might expect. The teams are in the tunnel and we're nearly ready to go!

7.40pm - Five minutes until kick-off and the atmosphere is really building, as you might expect. Night games under the lights are always special occasions and this promises to be no different. West Ham have not lost a mid-week home match this season in five attempts this season, defeating Oxford United, Stoke City and Manchester United in this competition and drawing with Blackpool and Everton in the Barclays Premier League.

7.37pm - Mark Noble is on the big screens telling everyone how he is desperate to get to Wembley with his beloved Hammers, an who can blame him? It's been 30 years since the Hammers appeared in the final of this competition, losing to Liverpool in a replay. Noble was in fine form against Barnsley on Saturday.

7.30pm - Plenty of big names at the Boleyn for tonight's game, as you might expect. Hammers greats Tony Cottee, Tony Gale and Julian Dicks are here, as are Kenny Brown, Phil Parkes and Alan Taylor. England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce is set to be among the spectators, while film star Danny Dyer is also a guest in the West Stand. Also, of course, the BBC television team is in attendance, with Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen here.

Good evening and welcome to the Boleyn Ground for what could be a memorable evening as West Ham United take on Birmingham City for a place in the Carling Cup final.

The Hammers have never played at the new Wembley Stadium and will hope to give themselves the best possible chance of doing so by taking a handsome first-leg advantage to St Andrew's in 15 days time.

West Ham have never won the League Cup, finishing as runners-up in 1966 and 1981. Birmingham have won the competition once, defeating cross-city rivals Aston Villa in 1963. The Blues also reached the final in 2001, losing to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out.

The two sides have met twice before in this competition. The Hammers ran out 3-2 aggregate winners in the second round in 1989/90 - on their way to the semi-finals - while the Blues were 3-2 victors in the fourth round in 1999/00.

The day has got off to a good start with the news that the Under-18s have reached the final of the Baniyas Youth Soccer Championship in Abu Dhabi. Strikes from Dylan Tombides and Blair Turgott and an own-goal saw the Hammers defeat German club Hamburger SV in the semi-finals. West Ham will take on the host club, Baniyas FC, in the final after they defeated Al-Ahly 2-1 in the other semi-final.

Back to tonight's match and West Ham manager Avram Grant has made three changes to the side that defeated Barnsley 2-0 in the FA Cup third round on Saturday. In come Matthew Upson, Freddie Sears and Frederic Piquionne, while Luis Boa Morte, Zavon Hines and Frank Nouble drop to the substitutes' bench.

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Reid, Tomkins, Upson, Sears (Hines 73), Parker, Noble, Obinna, Spector, Piquionne (Cole 73)
Subs: Boffin, Spence, Boa Morte, Kovac, Nouble

Birmingham City: Foster, Carr, Dann (Murphy 46), Johnson, Ridgewell, Larsson (Zigic 87), Ferguson, Gardner, Fahey, Hleb (Beausejour 83), Jerome
Subs: Taylor, Jiranek, Mutch, Derbyshire