Blackburn 1-5 West Ham: Hammers cruise into FA Cup quarter-finals
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 22/02/16 9:26am
West Ham came from a goal down to thrash Blackburn 5-1 at Ewood Park and reach their first FA Cup quarter-final for five years.
The Championship side took the lead in Sunday's fifth-round tie through Ben Marshall in the first half but were 2-1 down by the break as Victor Moses equalised before Dimitri Payet scored the first of two goals when he curled in a fine free-kick.
Rovers' task became that bit harder as Chris Taylor was sent off for a second bookable offence early in the second period and the Hammers made their man advantage count soon after, as Emmanuel Emenike tapped in to score on his full debut for the club.
Even the sending off of Cheikhou Kouyate for a professional foul did nothing to halt West Ham's momentum as Emenike scored again, and Payet added his second with a fine solo strike in stoppage-time.
After a slow start, West Ham started to find their rhythm but they were given a shock in the 20th minute as Marshall fired Blackburn in front.
There looked to be little danger as a Blackburn corner was headed out to the right-back 25 yards out. However, in a flash, he brought the ball under control, cut inside Payet and fired the ball left-footed into the near corner past Darren Randolph.
The home fans' joy was short-lived, though, as Moses was allowed to pick up the ball in the centre circle and run unchallenged to the edge of the area before shooting past Jason Steele six minutes later.
Steele might have done better with a ball that sneaked under his hands but he could do little about West Ham's second. Taylor was shown a yellow card for pulling back Payet and the Frenchman added to his woes, curling his free-kick over the wall and into the top corner from 25 yards (36).
Slaven Bilic's side were in complete control for the remainder of the half but it was Blackburn who began the second period the stronger. However, moments after Craig Conway saw his goal-bound effort blocked inside the six-yard box, Rovers were down to 10 men.
Taylor clipped Moses as the winger looked to break and referee Jonathan Moss had little choice but to produce a second yellow and then the red card.
That allowed West Ham to regain the upper hand and within nine minutes of Taylor's sending off, they had added their third.
After Steele denied Michail Antonio one-on-one, the ball eventually came to Kouyate with just the goalkeeper to beat. However, the midfielder unselfishly squared it for Emenike (64) to convert from six yards.
At that stage, it seemed only a matter of how many for West Ham, but the hosts were given a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes remaining as Kouyate tripped Adam Henley as he burst into the box.
The referee deemed that a goalscoring opportunity had been denied and showed Kouyate a straight red card.
Ultimately though, it had little impact on the game as West Ham ran in a further two goals in the last five minutes.
First, Payet clipped a ball over the top for Emenike to run onto, the striker keeping his composure, throwing in a step-over before rounding Steele to score his second (85).
Payet then added gloss (90+2), receiving the ball on the halfway line, before beating his man with his first touch, cutting inside and beating another, then burying his shot inside the near post.
It was a fitting finale as West Ham marched into the last eight.