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Page last updated at 21:32 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 22:32 UK

Watford 1-0 West Ham

West Ham's Freddie Sears cannot hide his disappointment at his side's defeat by Watford
West Ham's Freddie Sears after the defeat by Watford

An own goal by Hayden Mullins consigned West Ham to an early Carling Cup exit at the hands of Watford.

The winner came when Hammers keeper Jan Lastuvka missed an Lee Williamson free-kick, which then struck Mullins and trickled over the goal-line.

Watford's Jay DeMerit was injured and hobbled off five minutes to go but the 10-man home side held on.

Luis Boa Morte and Mark Noble had West Ham's best chances but were denied by keeper Scott Loach.

The loss for the Upton Park side was the first under new manager Gianfranco Zola.

Their exit also came at the end of a day which started with the news an independent tribunal had ruled against West Ham over the Carlos Tevez affair.


Championship side Watford appeared to sense an opportunity to upset their Premier league rivals and started in lively fashion.

Ross Jenkins had a diving header that dropped wide of the post and Lionel Ainsworth also lobbed debutant Lastuvka, who backtracked to tip over.

But the visitors eased themselves into the game and Boa Morte's effort from the edge of the area was heading for the top corner before Loach saved.

David Di Michele's reverse pass then sent Noble through on the Watford goal but Loach parried to deny the Hammers midfielder.

Lastuvka was the busier keeper as Watford more than held their own before being rewarded with Mullins' own goal.

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola:
"I can't tell him (Lastuvka) anything because he made a fantastic save before he was very unlucky..

"I said to the players that it doesn't have to change our positive attitude to the work we're doing. It would be too easy to think everything would be bright

"I didn't even know about this (the tribunal ruling). I don't want to have any excuses like that."

Watford: Loach, Mariappa, Parkes, Bromby, DeMerit, Williamson (Bennett 71), Ainsworth, Bangura, Jenkins, Smith (Harley 70), Hoskins (Young 80).
Subs Not Used: Lee, Eustace, Avinel, Oshodi.

Booked: Jenkins.

Goals: Mullins 70 og.

West Ham: Lastuvka, Neill, Lopez, Upson, Etherington, Boa Morte (Parker 62), Noble, Mullins, Faubert, Di Michele (Reid 71), Sears.
Subs Not Used: Green, Ilunga, Behrami, Collison, Stanislas.

Att: 12,914

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

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see also
Carling Cup as it happened
23 Sep 08 |  League Cup

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