Oxford United 4-0 West Ham: League One side pull off shock

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By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Kassam Stadium
As his side have been bundled out of this Carabao Cup in fashion by League One Oxford United, west Ham director Manuel Pellegrini took responsibility.
The Hammers arrived at the Kassam Stadium on the back of an outstanding win over Manchester United to achieve the heights of fifth in the Premier League, but Karl Robinson’s side beautifully outplayed and then over-powered their illustrious competitors, who finished a complete shambles.
Oxford, now 12th in League One, were full of optimism following a record-breaking 6-0 triumph at Lincoln City in the weekend and this is a famous and merited triumph.
“The team didn’t play well. Not only did we concede four goals, but we didn’t create too many chances,” Pellegrini said.
“We missed too many moves from the start and the obligation is first on me because I picked the gamers, and also second on the group which didn’t compete.
“It’s easy to say we played quite badly, but Oxford did everything they needed to win this match. They played a great deal of motivation, together with appetite and we did not play nicely.”
Both sides much-changed sides and the only surprise was West Ham before withdrawing after 55 minutes when Roberto was taken across by central defender Elliott Moore, really endured for so long.
Oxford, who missed clear chances in the first half by Cameron Brannagan and Anthony Forde, almost increased their lead promptly as Roberto saved brilliantly from Jamie Mackie.
But there was no escape for West Ham as substitute Matty Taylor switched with 19 seconds left in Mark Sykes’ cross.
Heal Tariqe Fosua hat-trick enthusiast at Lincoln City, raced clear from the halfway line to score with fantastic composure after 84 minutes to extinguish any hopes of a West Ham comeback.
The agony was not over yet for West Ham boss Pellegrini along with his abject facet as Shandon Baptiste deservedly capped a man-of-the-match showing having a fourth.
Oxford host fellow League One side Sunderland, who won 1-0 at Sheffield United, from the fourth round at the week beginning 28 October.
“Looking in the scoreboard – 4-0 against West Ham and an extremely strong West Ham – that will go down as one of the greatest results at the Kassam in the past few years,” Oxford manager Robinson explained.
The EFL Cup represented a realistic opportunity for West Ham to win a trophy, but Pellegrini risked this shock by making nine changes, leaving out danger men Sebastien Haller along with Felipe Anderson.
He reduced the price as the Hammers produced a distressed screen, much to the annoyance of the fans that packed a single corner of this three-sided stadium.
West Ham were slow , off the speed and seemingly complacent since they were hustled out of the stride since the track-suited Pellegrini failed to inspire his team.
He maintained Haller back till they were down a goal but after which the momentum had been flowing in the direction of Oxford, that should have inflicted even heavier punishment since they ran riot to the end.
Jack Wilshere wasted an chance to stake a claim as he had been over-run by the energy of Baptiste. Wilshere looked a spent force in comparison.
This was reminiscent of West Ham’s reduction at League One AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup fourth round last year since they lacked heart and stomach for the battle, surrendering without suggesting for one minute they would get back into this game after Oxford went ahead.
West Ham have shown evidence of stability and improvement in the Premier League, which was a modified line-up, but their functionality was inexcusable and the plaudits have to go to the underdogs.
“I believed it was a poor performance from everybody,” said Hammers captain Zabaleta.
“We feel sorry about the operation tonight and accountable to the outside fans who reached the match. It was just a bad night.”
This contest gave Oxford the best day in their history if they beat QPR at Wembley in 1986 – which really is a night which will even live long in the memory of the jubilant fans.
West Ham made adjustments but, for circumstance, Oxford director Robinson also made six adjustments and his group dealt much better with those alterations.
Oxford were in control from the first whistle, feeling immediately that West Ham weren’t in the right frame of mind to confront a decrease league opponent determined to inflict a shock.
Robinson may have feared the first-half misses from Brannagan and Forde may haunt thembut they won at a canter and it wouldn’t have been unjust had they appreciated a much greater success margin.
Oxford have scored 10 goals without reply in their past two games and this scoreline has been a greater than true reflection of the gulf between the two sides.
Baptiste was outstanding in midfield, the veteran Mackie had been a danger throughout and it’s huge charge to Robinson and his players they never took a backward step after Moore place them forward 10 minutes following the rest.
Oxford continued to be daring and go in search of goals, along with the celebrations on and off the pitch at the final whistle were totally deserved.
This was a night of pity for West Ham, but it would be a insult and injustice to downgrade the quality of Oxford’s performance that brought this phenomenal success.
“We had the impression in ourselves that we could get a result,” Robinson stated. “I am on the moon for those fans and the players.
“It is about the players, about the fans and around the neighborhood of Oxfordshire and also the big thing for me today is the individuals who came here for the first time in quite a while, they purchase a ticket and come on Saturday [for the league match against Gillingham].”

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