West Ham United vs Blackburn Rovers. Carabao Cup Round 3.
Match report and free highlights as Angelo Ogbonna's miss in the shootout proved costly; Ben Brereton Diaz scored an 88th-minute equaliser to take the game to penalties
Wednesday 9 November 2022 23:30, UK
West Ham crashed out of the Carabao Cup to Blackburn Rovers on penalties after a 2-2 draw as the pressure increased on manager David Moyes.
The Hammers had looked to have turned the game around after Jack Vale's early opener was cancelled out by Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio but Ben Brereton Diaz sent the game to penalties with an equaliser two minutes from time.
Then followed a shootout of exceptional nerve and quality from both teams with 19 consecutive penalties being scored until Angelo Ogbonna broke the run by smashing his effort against the crossbar. Jon Dahl Tomasson's Sky Bet Championship side progressed to the last 16 despite the manager resting his key men and changing his entire starting XI for the Carabao Cup encounter.
Sky Sports News understands there was no "immediate pressure" on manager Moyes following Sunday's home defeat against Crystal Palace with the Hammers languishing just two points above the relegation zone in the Premier League.
The feeling is Moyes has earned enough credit to take the club forward and turn things around but this defeat, crashing out of a competition they were equipped to challenge in, may just turn the pressure up on the manager.
Slow starts have been a common theme of late for West Ham with the Hammers failing to score in 10 of their 14 first halves in the Premier League. It was Blackburn that seized upon that strange sleepiness in the home side ranks and were in front inside six minutes.
Dilan Markanday had already spurned a glorious one-on-one situation with Alphonse Areola when inadvertently played through by Nayef Aguerd before Vale waltzed through a static defence to coolly slide home.
The goal woke West Ham up as Antonio was a constant threat running down both channels. It was his run down the right on 38 minutes that caused the Rovers' defence to wobble and Fornals lashed home from 15 yards when given space in the box. West Ham continued to be their worst enemy when yet again one of their own players - this time Conor Coventry - put Markanday through on goal but despite taking it around Areola this time his effort was deflected off the line by Ogbonna.
Moyes' team are always a huge threat from set pieces and Antonio almost added another goal to their tally but he somehow managed to bundle his effort from close range against the post following a left-wing corner on 57 minutes.
Antonio was the source of all West Ham's forthright play and it was no surprise that he was the man to grab what looked like the winner with 13 minutes to play. Jarrod Bowen - called for from the bench - knocked the ball into Antonio's path and he did the rest with a powerful finish into the bottom corner.
Banana skin avoided, it was assumed. But Blackburn hit West Ham with one final clinical attack with the clock running down and Brereton Diaz, off the bench himself, curled home a fantastic leveller in front of the away end to send it to penalties.
Both teams showed zero nerves in the shootout, strolling up 19 times and scoring 19 times until Ogbonna thrashed a wild effort against the crossbar to send the Championship side into the hat for the next round.
David Moyes' first-team coach Mark Warburton: "The manager is frustrated because he knows we're at home and the fans will leave disappointed. He feels that more than anyone. We had a decent team out tonight. We should have finished the game off earlier.
"The players are disappointed as well. They have let themselves and the fans down. We are frustrated because we started so poorly and we conceded an early goal.
"In the second half we should have won but we didn't capitalise on our chances and it ended up with the lottery of penalties. It was one of those shoot-outs - and unfortunately tonight it didn't go our way."
Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson: "It's credit to these guys to come to a great stadium and perform like this against a Premier League side who've won six games in Europe and finished seventh last year," he said.
"We made a lot of changes. It's all about the team so it's very big for competition. Jack got his first goal and Ben's, what a beauty.
"I lost penalty shoot-outs when I was playing - but it's a good experience for the young players, in a big stadium with that pressure. The fans can go back with a smile on their faces."
Sky Sports' Lewis Jones writes:
"Whether David Moyes deserves to be under pressure at West Ham is very debatable considering where he has taken the club in the past 18 months. A European semi-final, flirting with the top four - this all after the club were genuinely threatened with relegation. His management of the development of Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen has been a testament to his skills as an elite operator.
"Yet there is a feeling that perhaps Moyes has taken West Ham as far as he can. The tide is starting to turn that way. The last thing he needed after such a woeful performance in front of his own fans on Sunday against Crystal Palace was to be knocked out of a competition West Ham should be challenging in. And not only that, getting knocked out by a Sky Bet Championship side that didn't even play their first team. Blackburn Rovers made 11 changes to their side and still managed to reach the last 16.
That doesn't look good for Moyes. He would have challenged the fringe members of his squad to grab the shirt. To make a point that he should be starting them. Well, only Michail Antonio made a telling contribution in that regard with an all-action performance that surely puts him back as the main central striker ahead of Gianluca Scamacca, who is struggling to adapt to his new surroundings.
"That said, Moyes isn't blameless. He set his troops up in a 5-3-1-1 formation which lacked balance and any genuine attacking threat down the flanks. Playing Vladimir Coufal and Emerson as your attacking wide players against a Championship outfit seemed a bit unnecessary and very safe. West Ham have built an exciting squad on paper that should be performing better than the results are suggesting - is it the manager holding them back? That is something the hierarchy will have to ponder over the next few months."
West Ham's final game before the break for the World Cup is on Saturday when they host Leicester City in the Premier League; kick-off 3pm.
Blackburn have a huge fixture with Sky Bet Championship leaders Burnley on the horizon on Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 12.30pm.