BBC Sport football

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 21:41 GMT, Tuesday, 11 January 2011

West Ham   2 - 1   Birmingham

West Ham 2-1 Birmingham

West Ham 2-1 Birmingham

By Jonathan Stevenson at Upton Park

West Ham striker Carlton Cole stepped off the bench to earn the 10-man Hammers a potentially crucial first-leg advantage in their Carling Cup semi-final against Birmingham at Upton Park.

After the hosts had been pegged back to 1-1 and seen Victor Obinna sent off for a crazy kick out at Sebastian Larsson, Cole bagged the winner with only 10 minutes left - and it was a personal nightmare for Blues keeper Ben Foster, who let the striker's soft shot roll under his hand and trickle over the line.

That the east Londoners won - and did so despite playing for over half an hour with fewer men - might just keep manager Avram Grant in a job, despite reports that the Israeli is about to be sacked by the Premier League's bottom club.

Grant will be desperate to finish the job of getting West Ham to their first Wembley cup final in 30 years when they meet Birmingham in the second leg at St Andrew's on 26 January; although arguably of more pressing concern is whether he will still be at the helm for Saturday's Premier League encounter with Arsenal.

606: DEBATE

The atmosphere at Upton Park before kick-off reflected the palpable tension surrounding the club right now, with nerves as big a factor as excitement ahead of the Hammers' first League Cup semi-final for more than 20 years.

Grant's future has been the subject of rumour after rumour for much of the season and last week's horrific 5-0 thumping at Newcastle was the catalyst for another round of fevered speculation.

Former Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill and ex-Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce have been strongly linked with the Hammers hot seat, with the West Ham board reportedly due to meet on Wednesday to discuss Grant's future once more, perhaps annoyed almost as much by the Israeli's public rebuking of managing director Karren Brady for discussing transfer policy in her newspaper column as by results.

Grant may have considered that only a performance of the very highest quality could keep him in a job - and the way his players started the game gave the 55-year-old shelter from the storm that was brewing.

Grant admits speculation is a distraction

The hosts flew out of the traps and with Scott Parker and Mark Noble working beautifully together in tandem in the centre of their midfield they began to exert serious pressure on Foster's goal.

Freddie Sears volleyed wide after a corner was half-punched clear by Foster before a Larsson clearance hit Matthew Upson - playing at left-back - and forced Foster into a fine reaction save at his near post.

The noise from the crowd grew as the stature of their team did and soon after, when the east Londoners took the lead, they nearly took the roof off.

A Noble ball in from the right was not cleared, Jonathan Spector's volley flew across goal from the left and fell beautifully for Noble to thump a volley in at Foster's near post from a seemingly impossible angle.

Foster had been left unsighted by Scott Dann's positioning at his post but the goalkeeper was about to prove his worth to Birmingham by keeping them in the game with a series of stunning saves as West Ham produced wave after wave of attack in their bid to find a crucial second goal.

Liam Ridgewell scores the equaliser for Birmingham
Ridgewell brought Birmingham back into the match

Foster did superbly to parry away Spector's stinging 25-yard drive before showing wonderful reflexes to tip over a James Tomkins header.

Just after the half-hour mark the visiting keeper did even better to get down to his left and keep out Obinna's fiercely struck right-foot shot as Birmingham's defence continued to look suspect in front of him.

Despite enjoying more than their fair share of possession the visitors did not look like creating anything, with their lack of a killer ball painfully obvious as they harmlessly knocked the ball around outside the home side's box without ever looking like they would hurt them.

But Birmingham were clearly stung by some harsh words from manager Alex McLeish at the break and within 15 minutes of the restart the game had an entirely different complexion.

After Craig Gardner dragged a free-kick wide and Cameron Jerome's header was cleared off the line by Sears, the Blues got the goal their improvement warranted as Ridgewell beat Winston Reid to a corner and thumped in a header to send the travelling fans wild.

McLeish feels hard done by in defeat

When Obinna was sent off shortly afterwards for a ridiculous kick on Larsson it seemed as though West Ham's hopes of reaching Wembley, and in turn Grant's of keeping his job, lay in serious jeopardy.

But they survived some real pressure as David Murphy flashed a header inches wide of Rob Green's right-hand post and then struck the killer blow on the night - and, they hope, the tie - after introducing the fresh legs of Cole and Zavon Hines.

It was a lovely build-up that created the chance as Parker slid Spector in down the right and he crossed to where Cole wanted the ball playing, about 15 yards out.

Cole would have been disappointed not to get a proper contact but it proved enough as a wrong-footed Foster made a horrible mess of saving it.

That was harsh on the former Manchester United keeper after a performance that kept his team in the tie at times. However, Grant, so often starved of luck himself, will feel both he and his side were worthy of the good fortune. Only time will tell whether it will be enough.

Live text and stats

 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Carling Cup

Home Team Score Away Team Time
West Ham 2-1 Birmingham FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Noble 13
  • Cole 78
  • Ridgewell 56

West Ham

Substitutes

Birmingham

Substitutes

Ref: DowdAtt: 29,034
WEST HAM
BIRMINGHAM

Possession

  • West Ham 35%
  • Birmingham 65%

Attempts on target

  • West Ham 7
  • Birmingham 3

Attempts off target

  • West Ham 3
  • Birmingham 4

Corners

  • West Ham 7
  • Birmingham 9

Fouls

  • West Ham 6
  • Birmingham 5
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+3:22 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
  • 90:00+1:32 Foul by Roger Johnson (Birmingham) on Julien Faubert (West Ham). Free kick taken right-footed by Robert Green (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 89:49 Substitution West Ham substitution: Mark Noble replaced by Radoslav Kovac (tactical).
  • 89:25 Fantastic header by Nikola Zigic (Birmingham) from centre of penalty area (12 yards), missed right.
  • 88:40 Foul by Carlton Cole (West Ham) on Barry Ferguson (Birmingham). Free kick taken left-footed by Ben Foster (Birmingham) from own half, passed.
  • 86:05 Substitution Birmingham substitution: Sebastian Larsson replaced by Nikola Zigic (tactical).
  • 85:27 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 82:35 Substitution Birmingham substitution: Alexander Hleb replaced by Jean Beausejour (tactical).
  • 82:05 Defending throw-in by David Murphy (Birmingham).
  • 80:26 Defending throw-in by Mark Noble (West Ham).
  • 77:59 Assist (pass) by Jonathan Spector (West Ham) from right wing.
  • 77:59 GOAL - Carlton ColeWest Ham 2 - 1 Birmingham Goal by Carlton Cole (West Ham) right-footed (bottom-left of goal) from centre of penalty area (12 yards).West Ham 2-1 Birmingham.
  • 76:49 Attacking throw-in by David Murphy (Birmingham).
  • 76:28 Outswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Scott Parker (West Ham) to centre, resulting in open play.
  • 75:10 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) to centre, clearance by Matthew Upson (West Ham).
  • 73:02 Substitution West Ham substitution: Freddie Sears replaced by Zavon Hines (tactical).
  • 72:31 Substitution West Ham substitution: Frederic Piquionne replaced by Carlton Cole (tactical).
  • 69:10 Foul by Julien Faubert (West Ham) on David Murphy (Birmingham). Free kick crossed left-footed by David Murphy (Birmingham) from left wing, fantastic save (caught) by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 67:42 Stephen Carr (Birmingham) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Robert Green (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 64:20 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 63:26 Foul by James Tomkins (West Ham) on Craig Gardner (Birmingham). Free kick taken right-footed by Barry Ferguson (Birmingham) from left channel, resulting in open play.
  • 61:11 Frederic Piquionne (West Ham) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Ben Foster (Birmingham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • Correction - 58:30 Sent off Victor Obinna is shown a red card for violent conduct.
  • 58:30 Sent off Victor Obinna (West Ham) dismissed for violent conduct.
  • 55:51 Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) to centre, assist by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) from left by-line.
  • 55:51 GOAL - Liam RidgewellWest Ham 1 - 1 Birmingham Headed goal by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham) (top-right of goal) from centre of penalty area (12 yards).West Ham 1-1 Birmingham.
  • 54:40 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) to centre, header by Cameron Jerome (Birmingham) from centre of penalty area (12 yards), blocked by Freddie Sears (West Ham).
  • 53:05 Foul by Frederic Piquionne (West Ham) on Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham). Free kick crossed right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) from left wing, fantastic save (caught) by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 52:07 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 51:28 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) to centre, resulting in ball out of play.
  • 50:41 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) to centre, resulting in open play.
  • 48:52 Foul by Winston Reid (West Ham) on Craig Gardner (Birmingham). Free kick taken right-footed by Craig Gardner (Birmingham) from right channel (20 yards), missed left.
  • 48:20 Foul by Craig Gardner (Birmingham) on Jonathan Spector (West Ham). Free kick taken right-footed by Jonathan Spector (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 47:41 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 46:51 Attacking throw-in by David Murphy (Birmingham).
  • 46:33 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 45:40 Attacking throw-in by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham).
  • 45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
  • 45:01 Substitution Birmingham substitution: Scott Dann replaced by David Murphy (injury).
  • 45:00+1:22 The referee calls an end to the first half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+0:59 Defending throw-in by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham).
  • 45:00+0:01 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) to far post, resulting in open play.
  • 44:43 Attacking throw-in by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham).
  • 42:30 Handball by Frederic Piquionne (West Ham). Free kick taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) from right channel, header by Scott Dann (Birmingham) from left side of penalty area (12 yards), over the bar.
  • 41:11 Cross by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham), fantastic save (caught) by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 39:40 Foul by Cameron Jerome (Birmingham) on James Tomkins (West Ham). Free kick taken right-footed by Robert Green (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 39:12 Shot by Victor Obinna (West Ham) curled left-footed from left channel (12 yards), missed left.
  • 37:34 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 37:15 Shot by Freddie Sears (West Ham) curled right-footed from right channel (18 yards), over the bar.
  • 36:28 Attacking throw-in by Matthew Upson (West Ham).
  • 35:07 Foul by Keith Fahey (Birmingham) on Julien Faubert (West Ham). Free kick taken right-footed by Robert Green (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 34:12 Defending throw-in by Matthew Upson (West Ham).
  • 33:04 Goal kick taken long by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 32:34 Shot by Freddie Sears (West Ham) right-footed from centre of penalty area (12 yards), missed left.
  • 31:20 Attacking throw-in by Julien Faubert (West Ham).
  • 31:00 Defending throw-in by Julien Faubert (West Ham).
  • 30:15 Attacking throw-in by Matthew Upson (West Ham).
  • 30:01 Header by James Tomkins (West Ham) from centre of penalty area (12 yards), save (caught) by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 29:49 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Scott Parker (West Ham) to centre, fantastic save (caught) by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 29:15 Shot by Victor Obinna (West Ham) right-footed from right channel (20 yards), save (tipped round post) by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 27:51 Defending throw-in by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham).
  • 27:20 Defending throw-in by Matthew Upson (West Ham).
  • 27:09 Attacking throw-in by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham).
  • 26:14 Attacking throw-in by Stephen Carr (Birmingham).
  • 23:16 Attacking throw-in by Stephen Carr (Birmingham).
  • 23:00 Attacking throw-in by Matthew Upson (West Ham).
  • 22:30 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 21:28 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Scott Parker (West Ham) to centre, clearance by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham).
  • 21:25 Corner from left by-line taken short right-footed by Scott Parker (West Ham).
  • 21:14 Weak header by James Tomkins (West Ham) from left side of penalty area (12 yards), save (parried) by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 20:32 Shot by Jonathan Spector (West Ham) right-footed from right channel (18 yards), blocked by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 19:41 Goal kick taken long by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 18:54 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Scott Parker (West Ham) to centre, clearance by Roger Johnson (Birmingham).
  • 18:25 Attacking throw-in by Matthew Upson (West Ham).
  • 18:07 Cross by Stephen Carr (Birmingham), fantastic save (caught) by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 17:26 Defending throw-in by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham).
  • 16:16 Defending throw-in by Stephen Carr (Birmingham).
  • 15:08 Cameron Jerome (Birmingham) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Winston Reid (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 14:08 Defending throw-in by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham).
  • 13:20 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) to centre, clearance by Mark Noble (West Ham).
  • 12:12 Assist (cross) by Jonathan Spector (West Ham) from left side of penalty area.
  • 12:12 GOAL - Mark NobleWest Ham 1 - 0 Birmingham Goal by Mark Noble (West Ham) right-footed (top-right of goal) from right side of penalty area (12 yards).West Ham 1-0 Birmingham.
  • 11:45 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 11:22 Shot by Craig Gardner (Birmingham) left-footed from left channel (12 yards), comfortable save (caught) by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 10:59 Attacking throw-in by Stephen Carr (Birmingham).
  • 10:32 Foul by Scott Parker (West Ham) on Barry Ferguson (Birmingham). Free kick taken right-footed by Stephen Carr (Birmingham) from own half, passed.
  • 9:58 Attacking throw-in by Victor Obinna (West Ham).
  • 9:02 Defending throw-in by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham).
  • 8:46 Attacking throw-in by Julien Faubert (West Ham).
  • 8:11 Attacking throw-in by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham).
  • 6:32 Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Mark Noble (West Ham) to near post, resulting in open play.
  • 6:30 Shot by Matthew Upson (West Ham) left-footed from left side of penalty area (6 yards), save (parried) by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 5:36 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 5:12 Attacking throw-in by Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham).
  • 4:57 Goal kick taken long by Robert Green (West Ham).
  • 4:32 Shot by Keith Fahey (Birmingham) right-footed from right channel (12 yards), missed left.
  • 4:04 Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Scott Parker (West Ham) to near post, clearance by Ben Foster (Birmingham).
  • 2:22 Cameron Jerome (Birmingham) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Robert Green (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 2:04 Victor Obinna (West Ham) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Ben Foster (Birmingham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 1:50 Foul by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham) on Frederic Piquionne (West Ham). Free kick taken right-footed by Scott Parker (West Ham) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 1:21 Defending throw-in by Julien Faubert (West Ham).
  • 0:55 Attacking throw-in by Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham).
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



Print Sponsor


Carling Cup results

11 Jan 2011 23:59 UK


Latest video highlights
Tuesday 11 January

see also
Hammers boss Grant given reprieve
12 Jan 11 |  West Ham
Tuesday football as it happened
11 Jan 11 |  Football
Embattled Grant keeps Cup focus
10 Jan 11 |  West Ham
BBC to screen Carling Cup semis
03 Dec 10 |  League Cup
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football



BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.