Classic Match: Volume Eighteen: Blackburn Rovers 1-5 West Ham United February 2016

West Ham Classic Match

In the 18th Volume of our Classic Match series, we delve deep into the archives once more to relive a West Ham United memorable encounter from down the years with you, this time around ahead of the weekend’s Emirates FA Cup Fifth-Round action, it’s a famous outing in Football’s oldest competition.

Cast your minds back to the late winter of 2016, “Seven Years” by Lukas Graham was at the very summit of the British Music Charts and Prime Minister David Cameron had just announced that the United Kingdom would hold a June Referendum on continued membership to the European Union.

Meanwhile, in the world of football, and, more specifically, the Premier League, West Ham United were enjoying their first season under Croatian manager Slaven Bilic and their final at the Boleyn Ground.

The Hammers were celebrating this by challenging for Champions League Football in the English top-flight and heading into an FA Cup Fifth-Round trip to Ewood Park, they sat seventh, dipping to a rare low.

Most recently, the club had drawn 2-2 away at the hands of Norwich City and to reach the last 16 of the competition, got the better of Liverpool in a Replay at Upton Park.

Meanwhile, their opposition that day in Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers, under the guidance of Paul Lambert, took up position at the wrong end of the table in England’s second tier.

However, they were feeling confident ahead of the tie, fresh from an impressive home win over Fulham in midweek and having defeated Oxford United away from home in the previous Round of the FA Cup.

The affair was to be played out on a chilly Sunday afternoon in Lancashire with live Television coverage being provided by BT Sport in the UK and a kick-off time of 2pm GMT.

An hour prior to that in Blackburn, the two starting Xls were announced and the danger men, the stars with the potential to have a huge impact on the match, could be clearly spotted in both.

For the hosts, the attacking duo of Craig Conway and Chris Brown were sure to prove a handful to the Irons’ defence, though they had their own weapons of attack in the man setting English football alight Dimitri Payet and speedy winger Victor Moses.

Against the backdrop of a noisy atmosphere, thanks in part to nearly 10,000 travelling members of the Claret & Blue Army, an affair that would have everything could begin.

The non-stop action started early and finished late, but the team to strike first weren’t the high-flying Premier League outfit but the struggling Championship one.

After the visitors had failed to clear a corner properly, the ball fell to Ben Marshall who struck a low sand precise effort that beat Darren Randolph in his bottom left-hand corner.

The home side now had the momentum and there was little doubting that Bilic’s boys needed to respond sooner rather than later, this, they would do through Moses.

He burst away from the Blackburn midfield and found space, firing a low effort underneath Jason Steele and into the back of the net, it would be one-way traffic from here on in.

Payet was the man to deal Lambert’s men their next blow and it would be a killer one too, having received a Pedro Obiang pass and won a free-kick on the edge of the area.

The France man stepped up and placed it in trademark style beyond Steele at the near post, giving the travelling East Londoners the lead at the blowing of Jon Moss’ half-time whistle.

They began the second period in very much the same vein, and when Chris Taylor was dismissed for a second bookable offence for a tactical foul, the former PL champions’ task got even harder.

Emmanuel Emenike, on loan from Turkey, was about to score his first West Ham goal, getting on the end of a Cheikhou Kouyate pass for a tap-in and then swiftly his second, on 85 minutes, rounding the keeper to convert into an empty net after a lobbed Payet pass.

But, sandwiched in between these two strikes, a moment of concern for the top-flight team, Kouyate had been shown a straight red card for denying Adam Henly a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Though there would be no nervy moments in the north of the country, Payet wrapping things up in stunning fashion in added-time with a purely magical run and finish.

The thrashing saw the side from east London ease into the quarter-finals, where they were eventually dumped out by Manchester United over two matches.

Whereas, Rovers went on to finish 15th in the Championship, avoiding the drop comfortably in the end, though manager Lambert did depart at the end of the campaign.

The Hammers’ hopes of making Europe were dashed that season, the Champions League at least as they slumped to an underwhelming seventh-place finish, having to settle for the Europa League instead.

About the Author

Luke Glanville
Lead Writer and Site Manager of MTJAC, Sub-Editor for the Falbros Media Group.