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West Ham hit with triple injury blow on top of unwanted FA Cup replay after Bristol City draw

Jarrod Bowen goes down injured

West Ham United have been hit with a triple injury blow and an unwanted FA Cup replay during their supposed Premier League winter break after squandering a first-half lead against Bristol City.

Having needed just four minutes to create their goal, West Ham’s £51 million Brazilian forward Lucas Paqueta went down with a recurrence of the left knee injury that also ended his game against Arsenal at the end of last year.

Defender Konstantinos Mavropanos was then forced off while clutching the side of his body shortly before half-time, with a deeply frustrating afternoon then compounded when Bristol equalised and West Ham’s top scorer Jarrod Bowen suffered an ankle injury.

West Ham had already lost striker Michail Antonio to a knee injury sustained during training ahead of the game, leaving manager David Moyes with an anxious wait to discover the severity of all four injuries.

Moyes said that he had no idea when any of the quartet would return but defended the decision to select a full-strength team ahead of a deeply inconvenient replay in Bristol on the week beginning Jan 15 during what could have been a fortnight off.

Lucas Paqueta is helped off the pitch by West Ham's physio
Lucas Paqueta is helped off the pitch by West Ham's physio - Jonathan Brady/PA

The Scot, who is poised to confirm a new contract to stay at West Ham until 2026, had been criticised for resting players in last month’s 5-1 League Cup loss to Liverpool before strong festive form lifted the team into the Premier League’s top six.

“I had no intention of doing anything else,” said Moyes, when asked about picking such a strong starting team. “Injuries are part of football – I think losing Lucas was a big turning point in the game.

“I don’t think there’s a great clamour for replays at this stage of the FA Cup. I don’t think it’s something which is hugely appreciated but, if I was Bristol City, I would be thrilled.”

Moyes admitted that he was particularly “worried and disappointed” for the 26-year-old Paqueta but denied taking a risk in bringing him straight into the starting team for his first match since Dec 28.

“I don’t see that at all – he trained yesterday... all in the understanding that things were fine. Obviously something must be annoying him,” he said.

Moyes is currently unsure whether the injuries will alter West Ham’s transfer window plans but he very noticeably singled out striker Danny Ings for praise after West Ham improved following his 75th-minute introduction. Ings is a potential transfer target this month of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“Danny was probably the best player when he came on – his performance was brilliant,” said Moyes, who refused to be drawn on the 31-year-old’s chances of staying. “I think this time of year, it’s liable you will get injuries, we have seen so many times... boys come in from overseas and find it strange [with] so many games. Hopefully they are OK but I’ll have to wait and see.”

Danny Ings and Bristol City's Cameron Pring battle for the ball
Danny Ings (right) played well after coming on - Jonathan Brady/PA

It had all looked so easy earlier on when Paqueta immediately set West Ham on their way with an angled pass that brilliantly dissected the Bristol defence. Having then brought the ball under control with an equally deft touch, Bowen rounded Bristol goalkeeper Max O’Leary for his 14th goal of the season. West Ham then looked certain to quickly double their lead when Bowen delivered a precise cross for Pablo Fornals, whose goalbound shot was saved superbly by the excellent O’Leary. “A great chance – Pablo [Fornals] probably should have scored,” said Moyes.

Any expectation that West Ham would simply coast to victory was soon dispelled by the invention and willing running across the youthful team that had been selected by Bristol manager Liam Manning.

Attacking the goal in front of their raucous travelling fans during the second-half, Joe Williams exploited Angela Ogbonna’s suspect positioning to release Tommy Conway who held his nerve magnificently to finish past Lukasz Fabianksi. A Bristol City academy graduate, Conway has struggled somewhat for goals this season but Manning said that he and the coaching staff had never doubted the 21-year-old. “The quality was terrific,” he said. “At half-time, the main message was about conviction: how, when you get in those areas, you have to really commit to it. You must have that healthy level of arrogance and back yourself.

“We have put a benchmark down. Going a goal down can derail all the preparation but the response, the togetherness and the bravery were outstanding. We are not coming away thinking we stole it.”

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