So last week my friend and I went to watch the FA Cup round replay between West Ham and Everton. It was a fantastically exciting game till the end, something you do not see very often on football pitch.
Many, like me, will agree; how many times we been waiting for a thrilling finale on sudden death penalties? Keeper vs keeper? Apart the amazing finale, this match had everything that a football’s fan would love to see.
Temperature was pretty low, but the magnificent frame of both supporters, singing and supporting their own team, made the evening much warmer.
Both teams started the first half studying each other tactics, with West Ham having more ball possession and more intensity.
Enner Valencia earlier and Andy Carroll later spurned a great chance to take the lead for the local team, when Joel Robles made a great save on Colombian striker and the post denied a goal for Carroll.
On 20 minutes, McGeady’s effort was blocked by a Hammers defender inside the penalty box.
Downing right-footed effort went close to the post but wide enough to keep Robles’s safe.
Time for a hot cup of tea when first half ends goalless.
The best has yet to come. Second half more emotional and more intense, when Enner Valencia opens, after 6 mins, the scoring with a well-placed finish into the bottom corner, after a terrific through ball from Andy Carroll.
When Everton went down to 10 men the match looked easy for the locals. McGeady was the one dismissed after bringing down Noble earning the second yellow.
Martinez tried to lift up his team bringing in Mirallas, which pays off the substitution with a superb free-kick from a tight angle beating hopeless Adrian.
Without spectacular opportunities regular time ends like the first leg. It’s 1-1, time for extra time.
West Ham tries to change gear and take the lead but it’s Lukaku’s close-range shoot, after a brilliant Mirallas’s assist, to send the 3000 Everton’s fans on the moon.
Match seems finished but from an attacking free kick for West Ham, Tomkins’ header is converted by substitute Cole and it’s 2-2. In the other side, 2 mins from final whistle,after a speedy counter attack, Lukaku devours an easy chance, sending a low shot too wide. Upton Park was breathless.
Last opportunity for Hammers when Cole copied his Belgian colleague, wasting his effort.
After that, the entire stadium patiently waited for penalties.
Great penalties from both teams, with a great save of Adrian on Naismith and Downing missing for Hammers. Then Everton’s keeper was forced to take the 10th penalty because Martinez’s men were a man down. Powerful shot was taken smashing the ball against the cross bar.
Then was Adrian’s turn, the charismatic keeper took place on the spot, throwing his gloves away, meaning to end the sudden death penalties. The Spaniard smashed the decisive penalty past his opposite number Robles, sending West Ham through to the FA Cup fourth round.
The rest is history. Great celebration by a corner flag where his team-mates and the Bobby Moore stand finally caught up with him.
After 2 games and more than 200 minutes, a sending-off and 20 penalties, Allardyce’s men will face Bristol City, second place in League One.