It was total humiliation Saturday evening for West Ham United in the fourth Round of the FA Cup, as they fell to the hands of the competition’s upset magic at AFC Wimbledon by the score of 4-2.
Manuel Pellegrini witnessed by far the worst result of a managing tenure that had shown great promise the last two months, but was utterly disastrous at Kingsmeadow, as the Hammers suffered a crosstown defeat to a League One side in danger of being relegated.
The miserable evening started from the get-go, as Wimbledon were the better side the moment kickoff occurred. And Wally Downes’s men took the lead in the 34th minute, when Kwesi Appiah’s deflected shot went past Adrian. Then instantly seen minutes later, it would be two for the underdog home side, as Pedro Obiang was badly caught on the ball and stripped by Scott Wagstaff, who rushed on goal to calmly finish and make it shockingly 2-0.
And just when it was unfathomable for the Hammers to continue how egregious they were in the first half, if you had Wimbledon going 3-0 up, your finances have drastically improved. Literally within the first minute of the second 45, Wagstaff and Wimbledon would make it another, as the forward provided a superb finish (amidst more horrible West Ham defending) past Adrian.
With embarrassment fully sealed, Pellegrini’s side decided to finally show up in the 57th minute, when Lucas Perez at least prevented an appalling shutout by slamming his shot home. Though the Hammers would make it 3-2, as Felipe Anderson added to his highlight reel of excellence with a superb free kick in the 71st minute.
But West Ham failed to complete the comeback and would concede a disastrous sealing fourth goal, as more egregious defending led to 19-year-old Toby Sibbick headed home from point blink range in the 88th minute.
Many, many questions and no satisfactory answers will come of this nightmarish Cup result for the Hammers, when this talented team should have had a Cup run all the way to the quarterfinals or the Wembley semifinals. Instead, Pellegrini’s team require a necessary instant bounce back performance on Tuesday, when their only focus for the rest of the season is finishing in seventh place and maybe getting a Europa League berth.
It will be a big test though, as they face one of their rivals for that coveted 7th place spot at Wolverhampton Wanderers, on Tuesday.