|match review copied from www.dailymail.co.uk|
DAILY MAIL review
Cheltenham Town 0-2 West Ham: Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew strike to ease Slaven Bilic's side into Carabao Cup third round
Anything but a win would have had Slaven Bilic wondering whether a list of replacements really is being drawn up by West Ham's board. Thankfully for him, there were no hiccups here.
After back-to-back Premier League losses, West Ham wanted a first win of the season and it arrived at League Two Cheltenham Town.
It was delivered by Diafra Sakho, who scored on his first start since November 2016 following a lengthy injury lay-off, and a strike by Andre Ayew.
'We are dying for this kind of competition,' Bilic said afterwards. 'It helps our confidence. It wasn't easy but we didn't expect it to be easy.
'It's not a cliche but we are serious about this competition. We put out a strong team and we treated this game as a must-win.
'If you lose it affects your confidence in the dressing room, on the training ground... and in the press room.'
A special mention must also go to Declan Rice – the 18-year-old played at the heart of West Ham's 4-3-3 set-up and is showing signs of promise.
This televised Carabao Cup tie will serve as a morale booster for Bilic, even if it was against a team sitting 20th in England's fourth tier.
Though he left a few faces at home ahead of their game against Newcastle this weekend, West Ham's boss named a strong side with a bench that included Javier Hernandez. The £16million man was introduced for the final half-hour too.
There were two minutes of madness in the 29th and 30th when West Ham should have scored.
First, an Angelo Ogbonna header from a corner was cleared off the line by Kyle Storer. Then, Sakho seemed certain to score from six yards but his shot was smothered by Jon Flatt.
Ahead of half-time, though, West Ham got the opening goal when Mark Noble fed Sakho, who turned and shot into the far corner. The travelling supporters opted to sing: 'How s*** must you be? We're winning away.'
It was then 2-0 as a first-time pass from Sakho played in Ayew, whose slow shot trickled into the far corner amid poor goalkeeping from Flatt.
This was James Collins' 200th appearance for the London club and also his birthday as he turned 34. The so-called Ginger Pele seemed to be in the mood to mark it with a goal but he could not find the net from numerous chances.
Though there was no comeback from Cheltenham, there was one from Cheikhou Kouyate following his 'freak' knee injury. Brought on in the 64th minute, he made his first appearance of the season.
This was precisely what Bilic wanted. No danger, no drama. Now, he wants the same in the Premier League.
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS
Cheltenham Town (4-4-2): Flatt; Forster, Grimes, Boyle (Dawson 46mins), Cranston; Pell, Storer, Atangana, Winchester; Wright (Graham 64), Eisa (Holman 71)
Unused subs: Bower, Lovett, O'Shaughnessy, Thomas
West Ham United (4-3-3): Adrian; Byram, Collins, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Noble (Kouyate 73), Rice, Obiang; Fernandes, Sakho (Hernandez 64), Ayew
Unused subs: Cresswell, Fonte, Haksabanovic, Hart, Quina
Goals: Sakho 40, Ayew 43
Referee: Oliver Langford