Football: Dean So Mean to Pilgrims; CARLING CUP THIRD ROUND ACTION AND ANALYSIS West Ham 1 Plymouth 0

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Byline: John CROSS

DEAN ASHTON broke Plymouth hearts last night as his injury-time winner secured West Ham's safe passage to the last 16 at Upton Park.

The Hammers striker volleyed home deep into added time to send the Pilgrims home after a brave performance against their Premiership rivals.

Ian Holloway's men put on a gritty display and could have even caused a Carling Cup upset as striker Barry Hayles had a 79th-minute effort cleared off the line by West Ham full-back Lucas Neill.

The Championship side enjoyed a terrific run in last season's FA Cup as they reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Watford.

That gave the 1,800 travelling fans hope of another cup adventure at Upton Park as top-flight big-spenders rested a few of their players like goalkeeper Robert Green and centre-half Matthew Upson.

Plymouth started well with their fans in good voice and, encouraged by West Ham's slow start, the visiting side looked the more enthusiastic of the two teams in the opening stages.

West Ham struggled to put any decent moves together and they had to wait until Danny Collins' 15th-minute header for their first effort on goal which was cleared off the line by Plymouth defender Peter Halmosi. …