Soccer

Billy McKinlay relieved West Ham avoided upset against Lincoln

First-team coach Billy McKinlay admits West Ham were made to battle by Lincoln (Mike Egerton/PA)
First-team coach Billy McKinlay admits West Ham were made to battle by Lincoln (Mike Egerton/PA)

West Ham assistant manager Billy McKinlay was pleased his much-changed side were able to come through a tough test at Lincoln in the Carabao Cup.

The Premier League Hammers, who made 10 changes from their defeat at Liverpool on Sunday, were pushed hard by the League One Imps but battled to a 1-0 win.

Only Tomas Soucek remained in the starting XI from the Anfield game and that proved vital as he scored the only goal in the 70th minute.

“I thought we deserved the win, it was a tough night but we got through,” McKinlay said.

“We caused our own problems a little bit and gave them encouragement. In the second half, it was a bit better and we had some good opportunities to create a bit more.

“But we’re delighted to get through.

“As the game goes on you’re always wary that one goal might be the one that wins the game, so we had to get it.

“All in all we are happy and glad to be in the next round.”

On making 10 changes, McKinlay added: “We have got a really strong squad, plenty of players are fighting for the shirt.

“At the moment the boys who are playing in the Premier League probably have possession of that but that can change very quickly.

“If you’re in the team and playing well you keep the shirt and that’s what we want to see.”

Lincoln, who beat Sheffield United in the previous round, were eyeing another upset and things might have been different had Reeco Hackett buried a free header just before half-time.

The Imps were not able to recreate a strong first-half performance but still bowed out with their heads held high.

Boss Mark Kennedy said: “I thought it was a really good game of football from both teams.

“It is fine margins in the end. I was really impressed with West Ham, I’m not going to say the best team lost but we definitely deserved something from the game.

“We knew we had to be at our maximum and hope they’re not.

“I thought everyone who stepped on to the pitch did themselves proud.

“I’m incredibly proud, the players should be very proud of themselves. I thought everyone did themselves justice.”