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West Ham 2 — 0 Birmingham
by Paul Donovan
at London Stadium
WEST HAM finally ran out comfortable winners of this FA cup third-round tie but not before some testing moments from the competitive Championship Birmingham side.
The home team were in front just two minutes into the game, when Marko Arnautovic headed home.
The in-form striker was not subsequently happy when substituted after 20 minutes. Manager Manuel Pellegrini later confirmed that Arnautovic had some back pain, so he wasn’t taking any chances.
It took until the 91st minute before West Ham added to their tally, with Andy Carroll rising to meet a cross from Michail Antonio. Carroll had earlier hit the bar, then over-run with the ball, after being put in by Felipe Anderson and beating the keeper.
Birmingham had their chances with Carroll clearing a Lukas Jutkiewicz header off the line.
Adrian was later at full stretch to turn aside a late Wes Harding effort.
There were good displays from West Ham’s emerging group of youngsters, led by Grady Diangana and debutant, Xande Silver.
West Ham boss Pellegrini complimented Carroll, Diangana and the other younger players on their performances.
On rumours that Carroll might leave in the transfer window, Pellegrini said: the player wants to stay.
“He’s happy here at the club and living in London,” said Pellegrini, who stressed that Carroll needed careful handling, given his injury record.
Birmingham manager Garry Monk praised his players’ efforts.
“We had chances but lacked that little bit of quality and cutting edge,” said Monk. “The effort put in by the players deserves huge credit.”
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