West Ham 2 Crewe 0: New boy Maiga's off the mark as he wins it for Hammers
20:57 GMT, 28 August 2012
Modibo Maiga scored his first goal for West Ham to seal their passage through the Capital One Cup second round.
Maiga, a 4.7million signing Sochaux, scored after 55 minutes to put the Hammers two goals up.
East London has been the centre of the sporting world over the past few weeks.
Not so here.
Happy Hammer: Modibo Maiga (second left) turns the ball past Crewe keeper Alan Martin
West Ham: Henderson, O'Brien, Spence, Diarra, Potts, O'Neil, Nolan, Taylor, Maynard, Maiga, Vaz Te. Subs not used: Spiegel, Demel, Fanimo, Driver, Moncur, McCallum, Hall.
Scorers: Maynard, Maiga.
Crewe: Alan Martin, Mellor, Davis, Ellis, Bunn, Murphy, Westwood, Moore, Robertson, Max Clayton, Leitch-Smith. Subs not used: Garratt, Dugdale, Turton, Guthrie, Ray, Daniels, Osman.
Referee: Fred Graham.
League One Crewe’s visit to Upton
Park had neither the glamour nor the excitement of the Olympic Stadium
under the lights, and that was illustrated by the abundance of spare
seats around the ground.
Sam Allardyce showed where the
Capital One Cup lies in his list of priorities this season by making
wholesale changes from the side who slumped to defeat by Swansea on
Crewe boss Steve Davis showed the competition more respect, making four changes to the side beaten 5-1 by Brentford.
Maynard carved out the first real
opportunity in the 10th minute, cleverly working himself a yard of space
on the edge of the box before curling a left-foot effort just wide.
But Crewe were not intimidated by their Barclays Premier League opponents.
Stephen Henderson was nearly left
red-faced in the 12th minute after what should have been a routine punch
ricocheted off Crewe right back Kelvin Mellor and, luckily for the
Hammers keeper, over the bar.
Highly rated West Ham defender Dan
Potts then made an excellent interception on the edge of his six-yard
box with Max Clayton waiting to pounce on Ajay Leitch-Smith’s dangerous
Maiga looked threatening on their
right, but the Mali forward was a rare bright spot for Allardyce’s side
in the opening stages as they struggled for intensity.
It did not take long for the Upton
Park faithful to make their feelings known as the moans and groans that
have become synonymous with Allardyce’s reign soon started bellowing
from the stands.
But Maynard eased the home supporters concerns in the 34th minute with a spectacular strike against the club he left in 2008.
Ricardo Vaz Te’s pacy run down the
right culminated with a cross that the Crewe rearguard made a hash of
clearing, leaving Maynard to fire an acrobatic volley past Alan Martin
to put the Hammers ahead.
Davis’s side would have rightly felt aggrieved at the scoreline as they competed well against their top-flight opponents.
But Maynard threatened to rub salt in
the visitors’ wounds moments later with an identical effort that was
blocked, unknowingly, by Crewe skipper Ashley Westwood.
Maynard’s opener seemed to help West Ham to emerge from their slow start as they tried to put the game to bed before half-time.
First Alou Diarra, making his first
start for the club, had a close-range header from Gary O’Neil’s
outswinging corner well saved by Martin in the 40th minute.
Then the France midfielder went
agonisingly close with another header, this time from Matt Taylor’s
corner, on the stroke of half-time.
But they were nearly left to rue
Diarra’s misses when Henderson saved superbly low to his right from Luke
Murphy’s 25-yard rasper.
However, Maiga quelled any growing
apprehension by notching the goal his threatening first-half display
deserved 10 minutes after the restart, prodding home from close range
after Kevin Nolan’s low, angled effort had been parried by Martin.
Maiga should have doubled his tally
for the night seven minutes later but somehow sent his effort from
substitute Mathias Fanimo’s cross over from four yards.
Fanimo himself forced Martin into a
save moments later with a well-struck angled effort which the keeper
could only turn round the post.
Twenty-five-year-old Maiga went close
again in the 70th minute, glancing a header from a deep O’Neil cross
just wide as the Hammers looked to put the League One side to the