West Brom 4 West Ham 0 (Half-time 2-0)
The Baggies reached their first quarter-final in the FA Cup since 2008, as a double strike from Brown Ideye helped them to overpower a sluggish West Ham side at The Hawthorns. The home side were already two goals to the good by half-time and cruised through the second period to crush Sam Allardyce's hopes for silverware this season, with a convincing 4-0 performance.
Tony Pulis' introduction at the Midlands' club seems to be working out marvellously well, with their league form improving and now a quarter-final in the FA Cup for their fans to look forward to. They were always in command of their fifth-round tie against West Ham, as their opponents seemed oddly subdued throughout, a far cry from many of their vibrant performance this season thus far.
West Brom took the lead in the 20th minute from a relatively straightforward move. Craig Gardner found Craig Dawson down the right, who advanced down the flank and crossed perfectly for Ideye to fire home from close range.
The Baggies were looking lively and inventive, and almost added to their lead when Gardner saw his long-range shot tipped over by the keeper Adrian. Gardner fired in another powerful strike from distance that struck the bar, before James Morrison netted the second on 42 minutes with a fizzing shot into the top corner. It was no less than the home side deserved for being the more creative throughout the first period.
Turning round two goals behind, the away fans may have expected a response from their players, but worse was to come for the unchanged Londoners on 57 minutes. Ideye made the game safe for Pulis' men with a stunning header, generating all the pace himself from a deflected Saido Berahino cross. Replays suggested that there was a slight deflection on the way into the net. Nonetheless, cue acrobatic celebrations from the Nigerian striker after his fourth goal in three games.
Allardyce decided that he needed more firepower up front, so on came Morgan Amalfitano for Kevin Nolan, perhaps too late in the day to have any real influence on the result. It seemed to at last provide them with impetus going forward and they almost reduced the arrears on 66 minutes, when keeper Ben Foster somehow kept out Diafra Sakho's header and Gareth McAuley completed the clearance.
It proved to be the away side's last chance in the game, as four minutes later Amalfitano was sent off for pushing Chris Brunt in the face, following an altercation between the two players. All hopes of an unlikely comeback were extinguished in that moment, especially when Berahino added to the Hammers' woes on 72 minutes by thumping the ball home from a tight angle for his side's fourth goal. #Football