Hammers ease into fifth round with Doncaster win


Pablo Fornals scores against Doncaster

West Ham United 4-0 Doncaster Rovers
Emirates FA Cup fourth round

West Ham United booked their spot in the Emirates FA Cup fifth round with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers at London Stadium on Saturday.

Two goals in each half eased the Hammers past their high-flying League One opponents and set up a fifth round tie at either Liverpool or Manchester United, who face each other on Sunday.

Pablo Fornals got the home side on their way with a neat finish less than two minutes into the contest, before Andriy Yarmolenko doubled the advantage before the break.

An Andy Butler own goal gave West Ham a third early in the second period and then Dapo Afolayan, making his debut as a substitute, added further gloss to the scoreline late on.

It took West Ham 83 minutes to break the deadlock at Stockport in the previous round, but there was no such frustrating wait this time around.

Less than 120 seconds were on the clock when the Hammers unlocked Doncaster’s defence, with Yarmolenko holding the ball on the right channel and waiting until the perfect moment to nudge through to Ryan Fredericks on the overlap.

The right-back’s low cross, back to the penalty spot, was instant, and Fornals was in the right place to take advantage, finishing unerringly with his left-foot.

The Hammers weren’t content there, and kept their foot on the accelerator in the opening stages, Manuel Lanzini and Yarmolenko both crashing attempts narrowly wide of the near post before ten minutes had been played.


Pablo Fornals ceelebrates his goal

Saïd Benrahma and Lanzini were linking up nicely to find space between Doncaster’s lines, and it was an interception from the former that set the wheels in motion for West Ham’s second just past the half-hour.

The moment the Algerian took over possession deep in Doncaster territory, the visitors were in trouble and his swift pass sent Yarmolenko clear down the middle to dink stylishly over the advancing Ellery Balcombe’s dive.

West Ham were in complete control, with Łukasz Fabiański only called into action to make a simple save from Joe Wright’s looping header before the break.

David Moyes’ men emerged from the dressing room for the second period just as they had the first, with Balcombe needing to make excellent saves from Benrahma’s free-kick, Lanzini’s stinging shot on the turn and Tomáš Souček’s dipping volley all before the 52nd minute.

The Hammers’ pressure quickly paid dividends, as their third goal arrived eight minutes after the restart. Away defender Butler was unfortunate to turn into his own net as he tried to intervene after Issa Diop flicked on a corner at the near post.


Dapo Afolayan celebrates

Doncaster did manage to stem the tide of Hammers shots after Butler’s own goal, and nearly pulled one back on the hour through Matt Smith, who took a touch to control a Jon Taylor cross at the far post, get the ball out of his feet and lash at goal, with the ball kissing the top of the crossbar on its way over.

With the game safe, the Hammers handed debuts to youngsters Afolayan, Nathan Trott and Jamal Baptiste from bench, and it was the former who had the final word.

The 23-year-old could not have wished for a simpler chance to notch his first goal in Claret & Blue, tucking home from close range after Balcombe could only push Fredericks’ fiercely-struck shot out into danger.

West Ham United: Fabiański (Trott 83), Fredericks (Baptiste 83), Diop, Balbuena, Johnson, Noble, Souček (Afolayan 70), Benrahma, Lanzini, Fornals, Yarmolenko
Subs: Coufal, Cresswell, Dawson, Ogbonna, Rice, Antonio

Goals: Fornals 2, Yarmolenko 32, Butler og 53, Afolayan 78

Doncaster Rovers: Balcombe, Halliday, Anderson, Butler, John, Smith (Simões 64), Wright (Amos 79(, Taylor (Williams 70), Eyenga-Lokito (Richards 64), James, Okenabirhie
Subs: Jones (GK), Blythe, Ravenhill

Referee: Robert Jones