West Ham 4-0 Doncaster: Hammers sail into FA Cup fifth round

Lukasz Fabianski (WHU) at the EPL match West Ham United v Burnley, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th January, 2021. English Premier League matches are still being played behind closed doors because of the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and government social distancing/lockdown restrictions.

A routine win over League One side Doncaster Rovers has set us up for an FA Cup fifth-round tie against either Manchester United or Liverpool.

We went ahead in the second minute when Andriy Yarmolenko released Ryan Fredericks and his pull-back was steered into the net by Pablo Fornals.

Yarmolenko made it 2-0 as he lifted a finish over Doncaster goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe after Said Benrahma’s pass. Andy Butler scored an own goal and Oladapo Afolayan added a fourth.

Substitute Afolayan had only been on the pitch for eight minutes and netted his first Hammers goal from close range when Fredericks’ shot was parried by Balcombe.

Doncaster came into the game at London Stadium fourth in League One and with seven victories in their past eight matches.

However, we could have finished the match off inside the opening 10 minutes as after Fornals’ early goal, Manuel Lanzini and Yarmolenko both shot wide when well placed.

But Yarmolenko’s calm finish after he raced on to Benrahma’s through ball later in the first half ended any hopes of an upset. Tomas Soucek twice had efforts saved by Balcombe in the second half, but Butler inadvertently extended West Ham’s lead when Mark Noble’s right-wing corner bounced off him into the net.

The visitors almost scored in the second half but Matt Smith’s strike hit the crossbar before Afolayan sealed the win as the Hammers reached the fifth round for the first time in five seasons.

“Very professional and strong. It’s another clean sheet and another win. We’re delighted that players who were given the opportunity to start have taken that – it’s what you hope for. There’s no way we would play a team we didn’t think were strong enough. Full marks to them in the way they approached the game. They have strengthened their claim for places. We have a squad of players who if we keep fit are strong enough to make changes. The FA Cup is a fantastic competition and it’s vitally important we try to do as well as we can.”

West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine

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