Hammers leave it late in thriller
Capital One Cup Third Round
Ricardo Vaz Te headed West Ham United into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, sealing a 3-2 win over Cardiff City on Tuesday evening with just two minutes left to play.
Sam Allardyce's men made a lightning-fast start, moving into a 2-0 lead with only eight minutes on the clock thanks to Ravel Morrison and Matt Jarvis.
But a fine strike out of nothing by Craig Noone on the stroke of half-time gave the visitors hope, and they had the Hammers rocking when Peter Odemwingie levelled things up 15 minutes from the end.
West Ham ensured their manager's 100th game in charge would end as a happy occassion though with Vaz Te's winner and they will now await Wednesday's draw with interest.
West Ham could not have asked for a better start, as they moved in front with just 20 seconds on the clock.
Morrison was the goalscorer, bursting into the box before skipping inside the last man and lashing into the roof of the net.
It was the young midfielder's third goal of the season and another illustration of his undoubted talent and the Hammers did not take their foot off the gas.
With eight minutes gone it was 2-0 and Morrison was involved again, getting the ball out to Modibo Maiga on the right, and he picked out Jarvis well to bundle the ball past a helpless Joe Lewis in the Cardiff goal.
The chances were flowing and Lewis had to make an excellent save to deny Ricardo Vaz Te on 15 minutes, getting down low to his right to push the ball away after right back Leo Chambers had got forward to play his part in the attack.
With 33 minutes on the clock West Ham should really have moved into a three-goal lead, but James Collins could not get the ball out of his feet inside the six yard box after James Tomkins rose well to nod Matt Taylor's free kick back across goal.
Cardiff had barely threatened, but right on half time they got themselves back into the contest when Noone picked up possession in the right channel, took a touch inside and blasted a left-footed shot from 20 yards into the top left hand corner.
The visitors began the second period strongly too, and after Adrian touched a stinging Jordon Mutch shot behind for a corner, he had to be alert again to block Nicky Maynard's acrobatic volley from the corner.
At the other end Lewis tipped Jack Collison's fiercely-struck volley over the crossbar, before preventing Jarvis from making the game safe by cutting out his cross-shot, but Cardiff were growing in strength, and the impressive Noone could not quite find the far corner after dancing his way into the Hammers box.
Fifteen minutes from the end they did find a way through for a second time, with Odemwingie tapping home after Mutch's darting run into the danger area dragged the Hammers defence out of position.
After an opening 40 minutes of such dominance, it came as a shock to the hosts to be brought back to level pegging, and they had to regroup and come again.
They did so in style, securing their place in the last 16 of the competition with a Vaz Te header two minutes from the end, the Hammers man crashing home from close range after Collison clipped a perfect cross up to the far stick.
West Ham United: Adrian; Chambers, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney (Rat 82); Morrison (Diame 59), Taylor, Collison; Vaz Te, Maiga (Petric 46), Jarvis
Subs: Henderson, Nolan, Ruddock, Moncur
Goals: Morrison 1, Jarvis 8, Vaz Te 88
Cardiff City: Lewis; Brayford (McNaughton 46), Hudson, Connolly, John; Mutch, Cowie; Odemwingie, Mason (Smith 56), Noone; Maynard (Gestede 90+1)
Subs: Moore, Lappin, Harris, Healey
Goals: Noone 45, Odemwingie 75
Referee: Roger East