Derby 0 West Ham 2: Bowen and Antonio strike to set up FA Cup fifth round clash at Man Utd for Moyes’ boys

DAVID MOYES must be relieved he didn’t decide to show Michail Antonio the door this month – despite the striker hinting he was heading for a January exit.

Moyes’ decision to invest £12million on Aston Villa’s Danny Ings appeared to call time on Antonio’s eight-year reign at the London Stadium.


Jarrod Bowen opened the scoring in the 10th minuteCredit: PA
Michail Antonio scored his first goal since November


Michail Antonio scored his first goal since NovemberCredit: Reuters

But with Everton, Wolves and Nottingham Forest all queuing up to offer the 32-year-old a final lucrative payday to bump up his retirement fund, Moyes put up the ‘Not for Sale sign.’

Against Derby Antonio proved his boss was right as he sealed the Hammers’ place in the fifth round to set up a glitzy trip to Old Trafford to play Manchester United in the next round.

With last season’s Player of the Year Jarrod Bowen also on the mark to get West Ham off to a flyer, it seemed Moyes had somehow turned back the clock to finally rediscover last season’s winning formula.

Asked if Antonio could still go in the window, Moyes replied: “Money talks in football everywhere but at the moment I would say no chance.

“There are prices for every player but at the moment I don’t think there’s any price we’re interested in taking for Mich.”

And Moyes hinted his other goalscorer Bowen was getting back to the sort of form that saw him only narrowly miss out on Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Qatar.

He said: “For Jarrod, confidence is a big word, he needs it.

“The way he took his goal tonight, he looked like a finisher.

“I’m hoping he’s closer to getting back to the form he showed to get into the England squad.”

It may have taken an injury on Ings’ debut to convince West Ham it wasn’t time to say cheerio to Antonio but that’s how fickle football fate can be.

And if you were Eddie Howe, you might just be a bit more nervous about facing a Hammers side this weekend with Bowen and Antonio riding the crest of a wave.

West Ham fans might have feared losing their popular striker but Derby fans went through worse last season when they thought they were about to lose their CLUB!

This FA Cup clash was the sort of occasion Rams fans feared they might lose forever as they lurched from crisis to catastrophe and stared oblivion in the face.

Derby’s financial meltdown led to debts of £60million and took them to the brink of extinction.


In fact this showpiece tie against the Premier League Hammers took place exactly one year after 2,000 Rams fans hit the streets and marched from the city centre to Pride Park in support of their club.

Thankfully their SOS was answered and, under Paul Warne, the resurgent Rams came into this tie with the confidence of a side who had already navigated three rounds and were unbeaten in 19 games.

Despite those impressive stats Moyes made six changes to the side which had beaten Everton and handed skipper Declan Rice a seat on the bench.

But it didn’t seem to hamper the Hammers who proceeded to carry out a thoroughly professional job to set themselves up for a much tougher task against United at Old Trafford in the next round.

They burst Derby’s unbeaten bubble with early goals in each half to maintain their recent recovery and ease the pressure on their gaffer.

Bowen was first up as he continued where he left off when he sank Everton with a double in his last Premier outing.

The 26-year-old missed out on Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man squad for Qatar when his goals dried up.

But Bowen scored for the first time in the league since October to trounce the Toffees and he was back on target last night as he opened the scoring after 10 minutes.

Tomas Soucek played a quick one-two with Antonio and as Bowen left the ball, the Czech nodded it into his path for Bowen to beat Joe Wildsmith with a cute flick of his left boot.

That deflated Derby who only had one flashing volley from James Collins to show for their efforts as their Premier opponents kept them at bay.

And West Ham put the tie beyond Warne’s men when Antonio caught them cold five minutes after the break.

Bowen was at the heart of it again.

His low cross from the right caught Craig Forsyth at full-stretch and the ball flipped off the defender into the air.

Antonio came storming in at the back post and headed beyond Wildsmith from close range.

Derby should have had a penalty when Ben Johnson crashed into Curtis Davies in the box but this was a comfortable win for West Ham.

West Ham were drawn to face United just before kick-off and Bowen said: “I found out on the bench when I asked Dec. It’s tough. But you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”

It will see Moyes return to the club he managed for 11 months.

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He said: “We’ve got players who can play on the big stage and there’s none bigger than Old Trafford.”

Derby chief Warne added: “I’m really proud. Before the match I showed them the video of the Derby fans marching to save the club and asked them to be the best version of themselves and they were.”

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