Newport County 0-2 West Ham: Jack Wilshere scores his first goal in over 600 DAYS and his first in a Hammers shirt as Manuel Pellegrini’s men brush aside The Ironsides
- West Ham were exceedingly grateful for his craft and composure on Tuesday
- It was Jack Wilshere that started and finished the decisive move in a frantic tie
- Newport County made a mockery of the 65-place gap between the two sides
Jack Wilshere was a fresh-faced 16-year-old the last time he scored in the League Cup, for Arsenal against Sheffield United back in September 2008.
An awful lot has happened – positive and negative – in the midfielder’s career in the intervening 10 years and 338 days but West Ham were exceedingly grateful for his craft and composure to negotiate this tricky assignment in the same competition.
It was Wilshere that started and finished the decisive move in a frantic cup tie that saw League Two Newport County make a mockery of the 65-place gap between the two sides.
Jack Wilshere of West Ham United celebrates his first goal for the club against Newport
Newport County: Townsend; McNamara, Howkins, O’Brien (c), Haynes; Dolan (Bennett 64), Willmott (Collins 81); Whitely (Maloney 64), Sheehan; Amond, Abrahams
Substitutes not used: King (GK); Leadbitter, Ekpiteta, Inniss
Manager: Michael Flynn
West Ham United: Roberto; Zabaleta (c), Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Sanchez, Wilshere (Coventry 82), Fornals; Antonio (Anderson 8), Ajeti
Substitutes not used: Fabianski (GK); Johnson, Ogbonna, Rice, Haller
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Scorers: Wilshere 43; Fornals 65
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)
Attendance: 6,382 (1,039 away)
They had a much-changed Hammers side sweating on a number of occasions before higher class just about prevailed at a raucous Rodney Parade with Wilshere also sparking the move that led to Pablo Fornals scoring their second.
Newport had claimed the FA Cup scalps of such luminaries as Leeds, Leicester and Middlesbrough here in recent seasons, so it was little wonder the excitable locals were singing in the stands an hour before kick-off.
And the League Two side certainly had a West Ham side featuring 10 changes from the weekend rattled in the opening exchanges.
West Ham’s cause wasn’t helped when Michail Antonio pulled up with a hamstring injury while chasing an early through ball, the fourth setback of this kind in the winger’s career.
Eventually the visitors settled down and Fornals struck the post after debutant Albian Ajeti, the £8million summer signing from Basle, pulled the ball back.
But there was a huge let-off shortly afterwards when Issa Diop surrendered possession and Tristan Abrahams galloped away down the right.
He crossed to an unmarked Padraig Amond six yards out and West Ham were fortunate the Newport striker fired straight at the feet of keeper Roberto.
When West Ham’s breakthrough arrived two minutes before half-time, there was a sense of relief over jubilation.
West Ham United’s Pablo Fornals celebrates scoring their second goal on Tuesday night
Wilshere was the architect, breaking through the middle and trying to thread a pass into Ajeti. Instead he picked out defender Kyle Howkins, who miscontrolled and gifted the ball back to Wilshere.
He swept a shot into the bottom corner to register his first goal for West Ham and the lead was almost doubled in stoppage time, only for Fornals to shoot straight at Nick Townsend in the Newport goal.
Still very much in the contest, Newport started the second-half on the front foot, with Abrahams inches away from turning home Willmott’s teasing low cross.
West Ham really could have done with a second to make absolutely sure and Ajeti steered a header wide from a Fornals cross.
Given his growing influence, it came as little surprise that Wilshere’s slide-rule pass to Felipe Anderson led to the second goal.
He squared and playmaker Fornals, who arrived for £24m from Villarreal in the summer, was left with the simplest of tap-ins.
Not that Newport intended to go down quietly – Roberto was forced into a fingertip save to deny Howkins and Josh Sheehan struck the woodwork late on after youngster Conor Coventry had been pickpocketed.
But West Ham had done enough to pass this tricky test.
Michail Antonio of West Ham is attended to by Richard Collinge head of Medical Services