West Ham 0-1 West Brom
Slaven Bilic enjoyed his West Ham return as Championship leaders West Brom dumped the Hammers out of the FA Cup.
Bilic – a former player and manager at West Ham – made plenty of changes to his starting side but they scored early on through Conor Townsend and, despite being reduced to ten men in the second period, held on gamely to send David Moyes’ outfit packing.
The Scot had named as strong a team as he had available to him, but West Ham were insipid throughout and can have no complaints at their exit.
The Hammers came into this contest having not lost a home FA Cup match against a team from outside the Premier League since January 1997, a 1-0 reverse against Wrexham.
West Brom meanwhile had failed to win any of their previous nine visits to West Ham dating back 15 years.
Albion started the game content to allow the hosts to dominate possession but they were the ones that hit the front after eight minutes.
Townsend, drafted in for a rare start at left-back, spanked a powerful drive from outside the box that flew past Darren Randolph into the net.
That was an early and unwelcome setback for Moyes, already denied the services of the injured quintet Felipe Anderson, Ryan Fredericks, Lukasz Fabianski, Robert Snodgrass and Arthur Masuaku.
The home team’s response failed to materialise, with Declan Rice registering their first shot on target in the 90th minute of the contest.
At the other end, Albion were always posing a threat and could have made the win safe. Charlie Austin twice went close and Kyle Edwards was also thwarted by Republic of Ireland shot-stopper Randolph.
Even when West Brom had defender Semi Ajayi sent off for his second booking with 18 minutes remaining, there was never any semblance of a siege being laid on the visitors goal.
Bilic, facing West Ham for the first time since they sacked him in November 2017, had made it clear before the game that promotion is the chief aim for the Baggies this season but they will be in the hat for the fifth round draw come Monday.