Two-goal hero Ideye knocks out Hammers
WEST BROM 4
(Brown Ideye 20, 57, James Morrison 42, Saido Berahino 72)
WEST HAM 0
Valentine's Day delivered a glorious Cinderella story last night.
Brown Ideye gave up on the glass slippers and found his scoring boots.
A double against West Ham made it four goals in three games and confirmed West Brom's place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Ideye wrote another chapter in his fairy tale. He used to be a pumpkin. Now he's having a ball. His Disney tale could yet end at Wembley.
Less than two weeks ago, the Nigerian was a dead man walking. His West Brom career was over, his brief Premier League stint destined to end in humiliation.
On transfer deadline day, he was out. He was on his way to Qatari club Al-Gharafa. No one associated with the Baggies was sorry to see him go. Even fewer cared.
West Brom had an unwanted stain on their transfer record they couldn't scrub away fast enough.
The Baggies' £10-million ($20.9m) record signing had threatened to break the bank, but was never at risk of breaking the net under former manager Alan Irvine.
Ideye had one foot out the door until West Ham blocked Carlton Cole's move to the Baggies.
Unwittingly, the Hammers proved to be the architects of their own FA Cup downfall last night. When they refused to sell Cole to West Ham, Tony Pulis persevered with Ideye.
Pulis threw the unpopular striker a lifeline. The grateful 26-year-old held on tightly. He now refuses to let go. He's a workhorse, turned warrior; a centre-forward moulded on the Pulis template.
His work rate impressed the home crowd. His outrageous nutmeg embarrassed Kevin Nolan. And his goal set the Baggies on the road to victory.
West Ham's decimated defence disappeared entirely in the 20th minute, when a terrific ball from left to right presented little danger for the visitors.
But Aaron Cresswell misjudged the flight and deflected the ball against Craig Dawson.
The fullback found an unmarked Ideye lurking at the far post. He was not going to miss.
Ideye revelled in his renaissance and his confidence was contagious.
After cutting inside from the left, Craig Gardner's stupendous strike in the 38th minute flew from his boot, some 30 metres from goal, and battered the crossbar in the blink of an eye.
Adrian did well to stay in the same time zone.
The West Ham goalkeeper was less lucky moments later.
As James Morrison pinched the ball from Mark Noble's toes, the visiting defence impersonated Snow White's dwarfs, taking turns to play Bashful, Sleepy and Dopey.
Morrison skipped past a couple of lazy, tentative challenges before unleashing a vicious shot that swerved away from Adrian and found the far corner.
In the opposite goal, Ben Foster's time might have been more productively spent playing Farm Heroes. He came off at half-time with unblemished gloves.
West Ham were woeful.
In the second half, they were a disgrace.
On 57 minutes, Ideye added his second with a deflected header and the in-form Saido Berahino lashed home West Brom's fourth 15 minutes later, after another comedy of errors in West Ham's defence.
The hopeless Hammers even threw up a moment of madness between those two goals, when Morgan Amalfitano hacked down Chris Brunt just minutes after coming on as a substitute to earn a first yellow, then earned a straight red for shoving Brunt in the throat seconds later.
West Ham were forced to finish the second game in a row with 10 men.
But they deserved nothing from this one-sided contest and Sam Allardyce's cheap shot at Manchester United's Louis van Gaal now looks a hollow boast.
Big Sam donned the Emperor's New Clothes at the Hawthorns, revealing his rudimentary tactics against a hungrier, livelier side.
Only Adrian's palms stopped West Brom from doubling their score.
Pulis has not only resurrected Ideye. He has also roused Stephane Sessegnon and Claudio Yacob from their slumber. They owned midfield. They battered their clueless opposition.
At 4-0, they continued to chase a fifth goal, harassing and harrying for every ball. West Brom were as brilliant as their opponents were awful.
Their FA Cup fairy tale continues.
In the final minutes, Ideye left the field to a standing ovation. The Hawthorns rose as one to applaud their Cinderella Man.
LAST NIGHT'S OTHER RESULTS
- Blackburn 4 Stoke 1
- Derby 1 Reading 2