So lightning doesn't strike twice after all. Last season Barnsley were electric in the FA Cup, beating Liverpool and Chelsea on their way to the semi-finals, but today they suffered a power cut and the result was a West Ham win which will be remembered mainly for the return of Kieron Dyer.

After a 17-month absence with a knee injury the midfielder's appearance for the final 20 minutes was greeted by the home fans as warmly as any goal, and they almost had one of those to cheer as well when Dyer's late shot clipped the top of the bar. "It was good to get him back," said assistant manager Steve Clarke. "He showed some good touches but he also showed us he's nowhere near match fitness."

The game was won long before Dyer got involved, with a fog of predictability descending as soon as Herita Ilunga put the Premier League side ahead in the 10th minute. The full-back won a free-kick on the left, Mark Noble crossed and, with the defence preoccupied with Carlton Cole, Ilunga prodded home unmarked at the far post. Jack Collison and the impressive Craig Bellamy both missed good chances before West Ham doubled their lead. Noble did well to gather Cole's overhit pass, cut inside and, having been pulled back by Mounir El Haimour, converted the penalty confidently.

With their first-choice front two both out Barnsley's threat was largely limited to the central midfielder Diego León, who operated a one-man shoot-on-sight policy. It almost paid off, and the Spaniard hit both post and bar in the second half, the former after a good save from Robert Green.

In the 68th minute West Ham's best move of the match ended with Cole smartly converting Ilunga's cross, and Barnsley started looking for a silver lining. "The Cup was a distraction last season," said manager Simon Davey. "As our run gathered momentum our league form dipped. We're disappointed we're out of the cup, don't get me wrong, but at least now we can get on with the league."

The Guardian
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Ian Wilkinson

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