David Hautzig's Match Report

I hate to show off, but we have it mighty good here come FA Cup time. ESPN shows every single FA Cup match on their ESPN+ service. The time of the match was curious. Why would TV executives think this match above all others would do well in a Prime Time Saturday slot? I mean, AFC Wimbledon has only beaten one team in a league above them since re-entering The Football League in 2011. They are awful this season. What could possibly happen?

West Ham. That’s what.

I had to spend the first five minutes watching on my phone while making a late lunch for my son. I saw we won an early corner, and the hosts had an effort sky over the bar. When I finally made it down to my basement, Wimbledon had won a free kick just outside the West Ham eighteen yard box. Pinnock curled it towards goal, and Adrian punched it away. Moments later Wimbledon were back on the front foot with Thomas chasing down a ball in front of the West Ham goal. Maybe I’m being harsh, but seeing our beloved Spaniard fumble and look slightly lost gave me fresh appreciation of how comfortable we feel with Fabianski in between the posts.

West Ham launched an attack of their own in the 12th minute when Snodgrass sent a through ball for Hernandez to chase down. The sometimes brilliant, sometimes invisible striker sent a low shot that deflected off Watson before clanging off the post.

I know Ogbonna has done well while Balbuena has been injured, but I maintain he has more mistakes in him than Diop and Balbuena combined. His terrible miss trying to clear a low cross from Pinnock didn’t hurt us, but it could have. I certainly hope a central defender is on the summer shopping list.

Halfway through the opening half, you had to be impressed with Wally Downes team. They looked comfortable on the ball, pressed effectively, and kept a shape that kept us out of the match.

Wimbledon should have taken the lead in the 28th minute. Thomas sent a perfectly weighted pass behind the West Ham defense that Connolly chased down. His cross found Pinnock in the box, but his header was too soft and too straight. Adrian cradled it with ease, but nine times out of ten he would have been retrieving it from the back of his net.

Dear Pedro. Your strike last season at Spurs was astounding. A world class bit of football skill. You are unlikely to repeat it. So please. Pretty please. With sugar on top. Stop taking those wild, speculative shots like you did in the 32nd minute.

In the EFL Cup, Wimbledon got an early goal. It took them a lot longer today, but score the opener they did. After a long ball to Carroll was intercepted, Wordsworth used a little flick to send Appiah into space. His shot took a deflection, caught Adrian wrong footed, and landed in the bottom corner of the net.

AFC Wimbledon 1
West Ham 0

This is likely an overreaction on my part, but could we call that Italian club that wants him and tell them the deal is on? And while we are at it, can they take Ogbonna too? In the 41st minute, Obiang lost the ball in midfield. Wagstaff marched in on Adrian all alone, in no small part due to how out of position Ogbonna and Diop seemed to be, and calmly put it past Adrian.

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Halftime
AFC Wimbledon 2
West Ham 0

The second half began with Manuel Pellegrini making three changes. Anderson replaced Obiang, Perez replaced Carroll, and Fredericks replaced Diangana. And just like that, another goal.

Ahhhhhh, you thought I had you there, didn’t you? Changes would bring a better West Ham? Nope. We were still awful. Appiah sent a curling pass over what seemed like every West Ham player on the pitch and there was Wagstaff to finish it off with a clinical shot off the outside of his foot.

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AFC Wimbledon 3
West Ham 0

The Hapless Hammers got a goal back in the 57th minute after a few minutes of reasonably decent pressure. Snodgrass fed Fredericks down the right, and the finally fit right back tried to find Antonio running into the box. The ball deflected out to Perez who fired it low into the far corner.

AFC Wimbledon 3
West Ham 1

Perez had a chance to cut the lead to one a few moments later when he tried to flick a cross with the outside of his left foot directly in front of Ramsdale. He probably should have struck it with his right foot. The ball went over the bar.

West Ham got their second goal in the 71st minute when Snodgrass won a free kick 25 yards from goal when Nightingale hacked him down. Anderson stepped up to take the free kick, and curled it over the wall….and a ducking Diop….past Ramsdale.

AFC Wimbledon 3
West Ham 2

West Ham pressed and looked to complete a remarkable comeback. Antonio made a few of his textbook bull in a china shop runs, Anderson had passes that were on different wavelengths than his intended recipients. But Ramsdale had nothing to do, and if the keeper had nothing to do than the equalizer was far from inevitable.

Wimbledon won a corner in the 86th minute, and Nightingale put a thumping header that Adrian did very well to save. But a few seconds later, it was nap time again for Ogbonna, Masuaku and Company. Wordsworth was left unmarked in the box, and had all the time in the world to send a looping pass to the far post for 19 year old Toby Sibbick to head past Adrian.

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Final Score
AFC Wimbledon 4
West Ham 2

West Ham asked a few questions in added time, and Antonio should have scored, but so what? We got a draw that any Premier League team would have loved to get, and what did we do with the chance? How many teams are left in the competition that we would truly want to avoid?

Nigel Kahn called me after the match and was pretty clear. “In my lifetime, as far as Cup upsets go for us, this one is up there”. It’s not an exaggeration or an over statement that today was an embarrassment. We lost to the last place side in League One. They were losing games. Yet they scored four goals against us. We were inept at the back. Not much better at the front.

I hate ESPN.