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By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Kassam Stadium
As League One Oxford United bundled from the Carabao Cup in humiliating fashion his side west Ham director Manuel Pellegrini took obligation.
The Hammers arrived in the Kassam Stadium on the back of an outstanding triumph over Manchester United to reach the peaks of fifth in the Premier League, but Karl Robinson’s side superbly outplayed and then over-powered their illustrious competitors, that ended a whole shambles.
Oxford, currently 12th in League One, were packed with confidence following a record-breaking 6-0 win at Lincoln City at the weekend and that is a famous and richly merited triumph.
«The whole team didn’t play well. Did we concede four goals, but we didn’t create a lot of chances,» Pellegrini said.
«We missed too many passes from the start and also the obligation is on me because I picked the players, and also second on the staff that didn’t compete.
«It’s simple to say that we played very badly, but Oxford did whatever they needed to win this match. They played with a lot of motivation, with appetite and we did not play well.»
Both sides fielded much-changed sides and the only surprise was West Ham before conceding after 55 minutes when Roberto was shot across by Oxford central defender Elliott Moore lived for so long.
Oxford, that missed clear chances in the first half by Cameron Brannagan and Anthony Forde, almost increased their lead promptly as Roberto saved brilliantly from Jamie Mackie.
However, there was no escape for West Ham as substitute Matty Taylor switched into Mark Sykes’ cross with 19 seconds .
Heal Tariqe Fosua hat-trick enthusiast at Lincoln City, raced clear from the halfway line to score with wonderful composure after 84 minutes to extinguish any hopes of a West Ham comeback.
The agony wasn’t over for West Ham boss Pellegrini and his abject side as Shandon Baptiste deservedly capped a man-of-the-match showing having a classy fourth.
Oxford host fellow League One side Sunderland, who won 1-0 at Sheffield United, at the fourth round at the week commencing 28 October.
«Looking at the scoreboard — 4-0 from West Ham and a very powerful West Ham — this will go down as one of the biggest results at the Kassam in the past several decades,» Oxford boss Robinson explained.
The EFL Cup represented a realistic prospect for West Ham to win a trophy, but Pellegrini lacked this jolt by making nine adjustments, leaving out danger men Sebastien Haller along with Felipe Anderson.
He reduced the price since the Hammers made a desperate display, much to the annoyance of the fans that packed a single corner of the three-sided stadium.
West Ham were slow off the speed and apparently complacent since they were hustled from their stride since the track-suited Pellegrini didn’t inspire his group.
He kept Haller back until they were down a goal but after which the momentum has been flowing in the direction of Oxford, that should have inflicted even heavier punishment since they ran riot towards the end.
Jack Wilshere wasted an opportunity to stake a claim because he was over-run from the power of Baptiste. Wilshere seemed a spent force in comparison.
It was reminiscent of West Ham’s reduction at League One AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup fourth round last year since they lacked heart and stomach for the fight, surrendering without implying for one moment they’d get back into this game after Oxford went ahead.
West Ham have shown indications of stability and improvement from the Premier League, and this was an altered line-up, however their performance was inexcusable and the plaudits should go to the underdogs.
«I believed it was a poor performance from everyone,» said Hammers captain Zabaleta.
«We all feel sorry about the operation tonight and sorry to the off fans who reached the game. It was a terrible night.»
This competition gave Oxford that the best day in their history if they beat QPR at Wembley in 1986 — and this can be a night that will also live in the memory of their jubilant fans.
West Ham made changes however, for context, Oxford manager Robinson also made six adjustments and his team dealt better with those alterations.
Oxford were in control from the first whistle, feeling immediately that West Ham weren’t in the ideal frame of mind to face a lower league competitor chose to inflict a jolt.
Robinson might have feared the first-half misses from Brannagan and Forde may infect them, but they won at a canter and it would not have been unfair had they appreciated an even greater victory margin.
Oxford have now scored 10 goals without reply in their previous two matches and this scoreline was a more than true reflection of this gulf between the two sides.
Baptiste was outstanding in midfield, the veteran Mackie had been a threat throughout and it’s enormous credit to Robinson and his players they never took a backward step once Moore place them ahead 10 minutes following the rest.
Oxford continued to become more bold and go in search of goals, along with the parties on and off the pitch in the final whistle were totally deserved.
This was a night of shame for West Ham, but it could be an insult and dedication to downgrade the quality of Oxford’s performance that attracted this outstanding victory.
«We had the belief in ourselves which we can get a result,» Robinson stated. «I’m over the moon for the fans and the players.
«It is all about the players, on the fans and also about the neighborhood of Oxfordshire and the huge thing for me now is that the men and women who came here for the first time in quite a while, they buy a ticket and come on Saturday [for the league game against Gillingham].»
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