Tuesday, 11 January 2011

West Ham 2 - 1 Birmingham

West Ham striker Carlton Cole stepped off the bench to earn the 10-man Hammers a potentially crucial first-leg advantage in their Carling Cup semi-final against Birmingham at Upton Park.
After the hosts had been pegged back to 1-1 and seen Victor Obinna sent off for a crazy kick out at Sebastian Larsson, Cole bagged the winner with only 10 minutes left - and it was a personal nightmare for Blues keeper Ben Foster, who let the striker's soft shot roll under his hand and trickle over the line.
That West Ham won and did so despite playing for over half an hour with less men might just keep manager Avram Grant in a job, despite reports that the Israeli is about to be sacked by the Premier League's bottom club.
Grant will be desperate to finish the job of getting West Ham to their first Wembley cup final in 30 years when they meet Birmingham in the second leg at St Andrews on 26 January; though arguably of more pressing concern is whether he will still be at the helm for Saturday's league encounter with Arsenal.

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